Thursday, May 22, 2008

And Solomon said, "Amen!"

"The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone" (Ecclesiastes 6.11)?

Referred to in a general sense as "the Preacher," the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon has some sage preaching advice.

Keep it short.

There's power in a smaller economy of words.

Back during my two summer internship with Dale Mannon in West Virginia, our running debate had to do with sermon length. At that time, I argued for no more than 25 minutes. Dale believed a sermon didn't get good until the 30 minute mark.

So you can imagine my surprise when I began to notice, courtesy of Greenlawn's podcasts, that my mentor was consistently preaching no more than 25 minutes these days.

"What happened?" I asked in an email. "Better editing," he replied.

Maybe we've made preaching so much the centerpiece of worship -- to the detriment of time at the table, among others -- that shorter sermons might result in expanded emphasis elsewhere. In acts of worship that deserve greater attention, i.e. the public reading of Scripture, the collective chorus of praise sung to God, and certainly, the corporate communion that calls our minds and memories to the life-giving blood of the Lamb.

So, taking a cue from my mentor, I'm going to attempt to do a better job editing.

More precision.

Less words.

Greater impact.

And Solomon said, "Amen!"