Preachers, Know When to Quit!

Written by Mark Farnham

On September 22, 2010

There are few things more disheartening as a congregant than hearing a forty minute preacher preach for fifty minutes, a thirty minute preacher preach for forty minutes, or a twenty minute preacher preach for thirty minutes.  Somehow, that last ten minutes can weaken and even destroy the impact of all that has been said in the sermon to that point.  There is no virtue in length for the sake of it.  I think I’ve heard two preachers in my entire life who could preach for an hour; and most preachers I know would be much better if they shaved at least five or ten minutes off their typical length.  Get up there, say what you’ve got to say as clearly as you can, and then sit down again.  That’s all that’s necessary.   As Luther says elsewhere in Table Talk (2643a), `I hate a long sermon, because the desire on the part of the congregation to listen is destroyed by them, and the preachers hurt themselves.’   And, as usual, Luther got it right.

Carl Trueman, “Luther on the Marks of a Good Preacher, II”

You May Also Like…

The Value of Systematic Theology to Pastors

Pastors are busy. I know; I was one. They hardly have time to prepare their sermons every week while at the same time visiting, counseling, planning, fixing, etc. Ask most pastors what good theology books they've read recently and you'll be greeted by blank stares....

The Mystery of the Essence of God Contemplated

Reference to God’s incomprehensible essence also warns us against imagining what God is like, which would lead us inexorably down the road to idolatry. Recognizing God’s infinite and spiritual essence keeps us from thinking that God can be represented in imagery. Paul...

Your Character Is Just As Important to Your Apologetics As Your Logic

Christians who develop an interest in apologetics often begin to believe that the most important things to learn are logic, rational arguments, and evidential proofs. They can become very focused on making sure their logic is airtight, while completely ignoring the...

3 Comments

  1. Craig Hurst

    This is true but i have found that those who can preach well for 60 min make you feel like they have only preached for 30 -40 min.

    Reply
  2. Terry

    unfortunately many sitting in the pew have minds that wander and thoughts gravitating to what’s for dinner rather than what does God have for me — thus — (wow, is he ever gonna’ get finished) — a day set aside for God should be just that — but what do i know

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What I Read Online – 09/23/2010 (a.m.) | Emeth Aletheia - [...] Preachers, Know When to Quit! | in partibus infidelium (in the land of infidels) <span class="“> – Annotated [...]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.