Like a good plane ride

Norman just added a comment to the post “Focus on the basics” – I read a good quote “A good sermon is like a good plane ride. It must have a smooth take-off and a smooth landing…”

Calvin Miller recently taught the analogy of preaching being like a plane ride at the International Congress on Preaching. He spoke of how passengers have three expectations – to take off, to go somewhere and to land. For take-off and landing he spoke of the critical first three and last three minutes. For going somewhere he spoke of the importance of the flight plan. While going somewhere it is important to consider the length of the flight is not too long, making sure the intellectual weather is not too heavy, and that the in-flight entertainment is not boring. He even got into the physics of flight – the right combination of the downward weight of content with the forward thrust of passion. I wonder how much farther this analogy could be pushed?

One thought on “Like a good plane ride

  1. I was there for Calvin Miller’s seminar, too. And, without trying to brag too much, the analogy between an air flight and a sermon had occurred to me already.

    An introduction, for example, should grab the listener just as no-one can mistake the moment when the plane starts to accelerate for take-off – as opposed to just taxiing along the runway. The purpose of the take-off is to get the plane into the air in the shortest possible time – and time is precious, so our sermon introductions should be similarly focussed and purposeful.

    I’m sure we could come up with other useful analogies, too. I remember very clearly one sermon I heard many years ago, when it was as if the plane was very clearly coming in to land, but then… whoosh!!… off it took again. It might well have been a decent sermon, up to that moment, but at that point the preacher lost it all. Instead of us remembering what he had taught, we all went home wondering why we had to go around again (for another 20 minutes!) until finally landing. We were just impatient to get out. The whole service had been wrecked by that mistake.

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