The sermon is part of church you really can’t get away from. And frankly, most sermons bore me. The simple style of a sermon and how it’s presented can say a lot about church.
In the Baptist church I grew up in, and many I’ve visited since, the sermon is the centerpiece of the Sunday service, and it’s given a full 40 minutes. Now maybe I’m just a TV-addicted, fast food, microwave, insta-person, but I have a really hard time paying attention to a 40 minute sermon. As hard as I try, I lose interest in the middle and my mind goes somewhere else.
My current church has sermons of 20 minutes or less, and sometimes I think they aim for 10-15 minutes. This is a much better time frame when it comes to actually paying attention and getting something out of the message, for me anyway. It’s probably a lot harder to really go in-depth, but what’s the point of going in-depth if I don’t have the patience to follow?
But no matter the length of the sermon, what really interests me is that we have a sermon. The speech is practically a historical footnote today, relegated to politicians and pastors. Back in the days before TV, movies, and radio, I imagine speeches were all the rave. Not so much today.
Sometimes I wonder why the church clings to such an old-school device. The Bible doesn’t exactly give guidelines that every Sunday service must include a biblically based message. Yet I think people would flip out if we tried to remove the sermon from today’s church services. What about a play? Or a video? Do we even have to have some sort of exhortation or challenge? Hmm.