Could You Preach an 18 Minute Sermon?

In my lifetime, I’ve preached somewhere around 2,500 sermons. I’ve probably listened to that many more. That’s a lot of talking.

Recently, I’ve become a fan of TED talks – 18 minute presentations on science, culture, technology and many other topics. I’ve watched some amazing presentations, and have stretched my knowledge on some new topics.

I love how great presenters can jump right into a topic, connect with the audience, and present one big idea. Makes me wonder why more sermons aren’t structured this way.

I don’t believe ALL sermons should be shorter, but in general, if you can’t make a point in 18 minutes, doubling down on the time isn’t going to help. What would happen if you limited your sermon to 18 minutes sometime soon?

  • You’d have to cut out all the opening banter with the congregation or announcements.
  • You would tighten up the message content.
  • You’d cut out the story you added just because it’s semi-interesting.
  • You would actually prepare more, because it’s easier to fill time than it is to say something compelling.

Quite honestly, you’d probably have a stronger message if you had to do it in 18 minutes. So why not give it a try?