Jump directly to the Content

A Case for Shorter Sermons

Preachers: longer doesn't mean better.

The most celebrated speech in American history was less than three minutes. Lincoln's address at Gettysburg was only 269 words, but it captured the history, pain, and aspirations of the nation with soaring eloquence and inspiring imagery.

Many forget that Lincoln's speech was not the keynote at the ceremony that day. The featured speaker was Edward Everett, a celebrity orator. His address at Gettysburg was 13,607 words, over two hours long—not unheard of for a gifted speaker in the nineteenth century. After the event Everett wrote to the President saying, "I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes."

Beautiful brevity

As a preacher I have to remind myself that brevity can be as effective as it is beautiful. I don't believe every sermon should be as brief as the Gettysburg Address, but most of mine would benefit from a nip and a tuck. Lincoln's famous speech makes ...

Tags:
Posted:
December
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Amway Evangelism
Amway Evangelism
From the Magazine
When the Best Bible-Reading Tool Made Bible-Reading Worse
When the Best Bible-Reading Tool Made Bible-Reading Worse
The unintended consequences of concordances offers a warning to Christians today.
Editor's Pick
To Be a Pastor Is to Know Betrayal
To Be a Pastor Is to Know Betrayal
Apprenticing Jesus in a cruciform call.
close