TED

What if your sermon was like a TED talk?

Interesting question posed over at Churchm.ag:

As my wife and I dug into several TED videos, it hit me: “Why aren’t sermons like this?”

I think it has more to do with the format than anything else, so I took a look at TED’s rules for speakers and here’s some food for thought:

  • No talk can exceed 18 minutes in length.
  • Speakers must tell a story or argue for an idea. They may not use the TED stage to sell products, promote themselves or businesses. Every talk’s content must be original and give credit where appropriate. Speakers cannot plagiarize or impersonate other persons, living or dead.
  • Speakers must be able to confirm the claims presented in every talk…

Exactly.

I like how Andy Stanley states it:  Truth needs to have handles.

Ted talks have handles.

Most sermons do not.

And I’ve found from my work with the NINES, that great messages don’t need to be 50 minutes long.

They can actually be nine minutes.  Or five.

We work with the time we’re given.

And we can, most of the time, make that time work.

Most speakers really SHOULDN’T have 40 or 50 minutes.

Some shouldn’t have 18.

What if you tried to shave 10 minutes off your sermon this week?

What would that accomplish?

Could you make your message BETTER?  Could you cut some of the fluff?

Would you truth be able to have MORE handles rather than less?

Thoughts?

Todd

 

5 Comments

  • Jonathan May 21, 2013 Reply

    Hardest thing a pastor can do., develop shorter more to the point messages. I am working on that very thing, and to say it is difficult would be an understatement. I do see the value in getting to the point in a more direct, story telling way, after I add a hook at the beginning place a time of story telling in the middle and bring it to a close with an appeal to motivate the audience. Almost forgot, need to have at least one good scripture in just the right place. See why it so difficult. I think, I will go read another book on sermon prep. Sorry, maybe a little to sarcastic, but it is a difficult endeavor to accomplish 3-4 times a week. I have learned to begin in prayer and still learning the rest.

  • …and the TED talks tagline is “Ideas worth spreading.” A good sermon is that, isn’t it?

    This reminds me, Mark Twain said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” I do believe it is a craft and suspect many pastors feel they don’t have enough time to write their sermon, each week.

  • Malcolm August 6, 2013 Reply

    I am currently praying through the beginnings of a church plant and I am looking at what my strengths are and are not. While preaching is not a huge gifting of mine, I am trying to find ways to increase my strengths and to minimize weaknesses. I believe this very idea is one that could do this.

    I am thinking about doing more of a TED

  • Malcolm August 6, 2013 Reply

    For some reason my entire comment didnt make it… here it is again.

    I am currently praying through the beginnings of a church plant and I am looking at what my strengths are and are not. While preaching is not a huge gifting of mine, I am trying to find ways to increase my strengths and to minimize weaknesses. I believe this very idea is one that could do this.

    I am thinking about doing more of a TED talk than a full sermon but leads people to going to small groups that week to discuss the idea of what we are talking about. This way it focuses more on the aspect of community and learning in that area while unpacking more of what we talked about in worship.

    I think there are some obvious days when we have longer talks on higher visitor days like Easter, Christmas, etc. But still leading them to unpack this more in community that week.

    I would be interested in your thoughts…

  • Sam March 17, 2015 Reply

    I really enjoy a 10 min TED talk but I also really enjoy a good 50 min message. The problem with many preachers is not the length of the message but the fact that you are getting a really bad TED talk. The problem the church makes far too often is importing what works from culture and trying to cram it into our churches. We do this and thing we are being relevant. The reality is the Word of God has always been and is the most relevant thing in our arsenal as pastors. It identifies our deepest desires and longings and explains how they find their fulfillment in Christ. Nothing is more relevant than that. Where I agree with you is on delivery and preparation Pastors need to prepare and treat the word with honor and reverence. Where I would disagree is in the area of content. Preaching lacks the power that it should have not because we don’t have a neat story or cool idea but because we impose our thoughts on the bible in such a way that we search the bible for verses to match our ideas rather than remain faithful to the text and allow it to transform us first. We are not idea generators or even truth discovers we are servants who are conveyers of our the heart, thoughts and intentions of our master. We are not owners we are stewards. Studying scripture from that frame work would be more powerfully relevant that any 18 min talk we could muster.

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