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The days of preaching someone else’s sermons on the down-low is gone. (Not that any of you all would ever do that). But the level of scrutiny and accountability for your sermon has never been higher. The internet has changed EVERYTHING. And if you take a significant part of your sermon from a source other than yourself… the chances are high… very high actually, that someone will find out.  And if you haven’t given proper annotation somewhere in your sermon or proper credit, it will undermine your integrity. I remember hearing a sermon online that sounded really (really) familiar.  It turned out the sermon I had heard the previous week  was a word-for-word (seriously, word for word) delivery of this very famous pastor’s sermon. Not cool. keep reading

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Something I’ve learned:  People will always remember something that’s better than they expected, funnier than they expected or more enjoyable than they expected. In general the unexpected gets remembered.  We were talking about sexual purity in our youth environment.  We felt that generally students expect it to be overly serious, dramatic, and lifeless.  We wanted to shake it up and when they cam have them be surprised.  The results were: they were more attentive listeners than they ever had been and they remembered so far 2 years later the night.  Every time they say something like “I remember when you did that never music video thing… that’s right you talked about sexual purity I still remember how God’s plan for us is…”  It seems silly sometimes but every time we do something like this we get a huge return on application and retention in both adult and student environments.  To give you an idea this what did that night for sexual purity: Sometimes with creative pieces we try to put too much meaning into them.  Fun and humor can really open up a passage for the speaker to come up and impact lives.  

I grew up in a church that had a pastor that was enamored with Dr. Jack Hyles.  This caused problems for me in college.  Somehow, I just couldn’t see beyond sermons like this: If you want to have some fun, you can read some of the fine oratory over at  They have links to the “Jesus Had Short Hair” sermon. It’s classic. (Thank you, God, for saving me from this brand of Christianity). Todd

What do you think of this quote:  “Sermon length is not measured in minutes; it is measured in minutes-beyond-interest, in the amount of time the minister continues to preach after he has lost the interest of his hearers.” That’s from a book entitled “Why Johnny Can’t Preach” (by T. David Gordon).  JD Greear shares this quote on his blog recently. Gordon continues:

Some preaching is so bad that the best we can say about some preachers is that they themselves realize it, and are merciful in the length of their sermons (ouch!). By contrast, I’ve heard ministers whose sermons I was disappointed to have come to an end. These entire sermons had been so well delivered–so thoughtful, so faithful to the text without being pedantic… so well-organized as to appear seamless, so challenging and nourishing to my soul–that I just didn’t want the experience to end.”

What do YOU think?  How do you measure the length of your sermons? My 2 cents:  Very few preachers have the communication skills to go over 30 minutes.  Very few.  Unless you’re Andy Stanley, is it really necessary to take 50 minutes to bring home your point?  (I realize this may open a can of worms, but seriously, most sermons would be 100x better if you wacked them in half.  And the thing is… you don’t have to cut that much content… just choose it more wisely.  Am I wrong?) Love to hear your comments… Todd