Nothing is worse than sitting through a long-winded sermon. It's agony. It's labor. I prefer my sermons (that I'm sitting through) to be short and concise. If the sermon breaks the 20min. marker then consider me tuned out. I get twitchy at 15min, but at 20....chances are my attention has left the building.
Get to the point!
I am a tweeter [If you don't know what that is then at this moment just go ahead and click to another site. Thanks for stopping by], and I am not the only one. There are currently 500 million Twitter users. I could go on and on with statistics on the very large numbers of people on social media. I'm sure you get that already. If you don't, just do a web search on "social media by the numbers" or something like that. You'll find all kinds of stuff. The numbers are huge. So preachers, my encouragement to you is to take advantage of this. I don't know any preacher who thinks their words aren't worth a darn listening to. Do you (Preachers) think that the whole world needs to hear your message? Make it tweetable. Let your congregants share what you said.
Along with this encourage people to share what they hear. This means also, that you mustn't be offended when people have their heads down. We might have reached a point in our history together when we actually get encouraged if people's heads are down :)
People share pictures of their food, pictures of their pets (stop it already), pictures of their babies and pictures of all kinds of things. People like to share and showcase their lives, so why shouldn't they feel encouraged to share bits and pieces of a sermon message?
Is church too sacred for cell phones? Do you think phone cell phones will cause people to get distracted? Newsflash! People are already distracted. You just can't see it so clearly. Encouraging people to share and tweet your sermon can actually help increase engagement with the sermon.
Have you ever been to church where they actually passed out paper and pencils to help people follow along with the sermon? A lot that I saw were printed out sheets with blank spots that you could fill in as the sermon progressed. I haven't been to a church that has done this in a while, but I am sure that they are out there somewhere. The idea was for people to take notes to remember what they heard more. It was a way for people to engage. Except, I would just doodle all over it and use it passing notes. I was that guy.
Save a Twee and Tweet.
So pastors, clergy and preacher alike...
- Stop being long-winded. If you can't get to your point in the first 15 min, give up. Take a public speaking class like Toastmasters or something and figure it out.
- Encourage sharing. (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Vimeo, Youtube, Tumblr, Flickr, etc.) Encourage folks to use their phones. The youth will especially love it.
- Don't be discouraged if heads are down. It will take a little time getting used to but trust that people might be sharing some sermon talking points.
- Suggest a sermon or church hashtag, #, to track if anyone is actually tweeting. It could open a door for a whole new way of engagement.
- Actually practice writing down talking points that you want to say that are actually 140 characters or less.
- Have fun with it.
I think going in this direction is a win/win for everybody. On one side it'll polish up the message and make it more concise. On the other side, it'll be more engaging and easier to follow.
Let the sharing begin!
P.S Your thoughts, comments and feedback are appreciated.