TMI = Too much information.
I think it should be a real medical diagnosis for some pastors I’ve met over the years. Here’s how to tell if you’re a TMI pastor:
1. Do you chuck so much content into a sermon that it really should be three sermons? People will only remember so much. I like how Rick Warren says he wrote the Purpose Driven Life. He tried to use as few words as possible. He took paragraphs and made them sentences. He took 10 words and made them into five. Wordsmith your sermons. Many sermons could be half the length and be spot on (and not really lose a thing in the translation).
2. Another diagnosis for pastors could be PWLTHTT. This stands for ‘pastors who like to hear themselves talk’. Here, the problem isn’t too much content at all, it’s not an issue of content… it’s a matter of filling time and enjoying the sound of your own voice. Maybe you sermons are long, not because you have way too much content, but because you like the sound of your own voice. This is a question that only you can answer. If you think you’re the best thing since sliced bread, then I think a diagnosis of PWLTHTT is in order. Stop that.
3. The last diagnosis that I think many speakers and pastors could have is the RCR disease. This stands for Repeat, Circle around, Repeat. This is when you, as the speaker state your point, then rather than give great illustrations of your point, you just re-state your point using different words. Give some solid illustrations that give some meat to your point rather than just repeating it.
OK… so maybe this is a list of my pet peeves as I get to listen to a ton of different speakers (most of them really, really great speakers). But everyone once in a while, I’ll hear a TMI, PWLTHTT or RCR conflicted pastor.
Do a self-diagnosis for these conditions. Ask for some input from those you trust.
But as I like to say… don’t ask the question if you don’t want to hear the answer!