The Work of the Word: Long Sermons as Normal

I just returned from vacation this week. My family and I were in Alaska with other family members who make their home in the northern beauty of Juneau. We fished, hiked and saw many beautiful sites along the way. I was met with an interesting conversation upon my return, however. I heard, yet again, that my sermons are too long. Welcome home, talk less. While I would love to rant on this topic, I am doing my best, by God’s grace, to examine a biblical paradigm for preaching. This means several things:

1. The Biblical pattern and thus the primary aim of the preacher is to proclaim the truth of the Bible in the hearing of God’s people.

2. The text of Scripture necessitates devotion, study, careful examination, diligent exegesis and passionate delivery.

3. The examination and delivery of messages is dictated by the text itself and the faithful treatment of such, not by any other controlling factor (i.e. comfort of the audience, time constraints, service order, need for entertainment, pattern of radio and or television preachers, etc.)

4. The ministry of the word is critical to the life and health of a church. God didn’t tell his under-shepherds to give the sheep a snack. He told us to feed them.

5. Out of a sincere desire to be faithful to the Scriptures and to the assignment of pastor-teacher, I will continue to preach long sermons as I promised I would do when I came.

I will do my best to treat this topic with charity and grace while at the same time addressing the need for a commitment to aggressive listening to the preached word by the people of God.




2 thoughts on “The Work of the Word: Long Sermons as Normal

  1. Mr. Jessen!

    There exists no shortage of research regarding shortened attention spans with respect to exposure to advertising, online surfing vs. reading a book, etc.

    Don’t hear what I’m not saying: it’s of course not outside the realm of possibility that some sermons could be more concise.

    But to turn it back on whoever tells you your sermons are too long, isn’t it equally (if not more) likely that their attention spans are too short? Have they examined that possibility as thoroughly as they’ve examined your sermon length?

    Are you supposed to be more like a thermostat, or a thermometer? Of course we know this answer. =)

    Preach on brother. We all need more Bible throughout our week, not less.

  2. Amen! and Amen! I trust that this post is well received by those who want to hear and obey the Word of God.
    Welcome home…

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