Preach As If You Know The End From The Beginning

Last week I wrote about the issue of concentration and sermon length.  Haddon Robinson taught me that when it comes to sermon length the real issue is not minutes, but perception.

A good sermon is going somewhere and the listeners know it.  Apparently, there was a study of some 2500 people with the question, “How long should a sermon be?”  Preachers would answer in minutes, but listeners would answer along the lines of, “As long as it takes to get to the end.”  By this measure, a sermon that is too long is one that takes too long to get to the end.

Haddon Robinson may not be a perfect preacher, but he is a good model of this principle – when he’s through with the message he finishes.  While I often fall into the trap of several false landings, he seems to nail that ending, and often does it a couple of sentences before the listeners expect it.

A good sermon does not have several stopping places, it has an end.  A good preacher knows the end and goes straight there.

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