Okay, this is what started this thought process… the subject of short attention spans and if sermons should be broken up.
My two cents- for what they are worth… To set the background, I originally came from a church where the sermons were 12.3 minutes long. Then I come over to Westside where the sermons are something like 29.8 minutes long.
Now the comparison: The 12.3 minutes sermon – (and throw out the lead pastor equation), I walked away each Sunday feeling pretty good, remembering a lot of the message, thinking about my faith, thinking about God, wanting to know more.
The 29.8 minute sermon – (again throw out the lead pastor equation), I walk away each Sunday feeling pretty good, remember a lot of the message, thinking about my faith, thinking about God, wanting to know more. In addition, I feel challenged, compelled, and alive. When I look at my watch, thinking a couple of minutes have passed, 20 have.
Think about it this way – if you go to a party and it is a dud – 5 minutes is too much. If you to a party and it is THE place to be – you are wishing you had 5 more minutes.
So, what does that mean to me? If the message is dead on – the audience will respond. Time will fly by. It is the party you want to be at. If you are having a blast “at the party” – you are laughing at the message, crying at the message, struggling with the message, holding your hands up in response to the message. If all that is true, in my mind, if you go to a “station break” it is hard to get that back.
Is that a good thing? I don’t know. It could be. I understand the need for sound bites. They even make sense in various settings – especially on the internet. But there is something to be said about the “noise” in our life – the need to be connected to everything and only getting a portion of the story, and from there basing our actions and beliefs on that piece of the story.
Another guy I follow talked about something similar yesterday. It is rather long in terms of a blog, but read it and you will see what he is getting at. In particular he said, “I think in our culture of today’s sound bite mentality we no longer have the ability to absorb and understand the whole story. We don’t have the time, nor do we care, we just come to some conclusion, right or wrong, and move on. This is the same with friends, co-workers, acquaintances, or just those passing by on the street. We are so busy that we only have time to take a snap shot of the things that pass through our life and then forget about it and move on.”
I hope we still have the ability to absorb the whole story. I hope you can stay still long enough. I understand the need for sound bites. But I cannot help but wonder what that says about our ability to stop and listen to God? To tune out the noise in our life and to tune into Him?
I don’t know… but this is my ramble for the day.