I had my last summer Sunday off over the weekend so I went to a different church.
The vicar – Brian McConkey only preached for ten minutes. He was deep, thought provoking, simple and profound. He preached from Luke 17 about the Ten Lepers being healed by Jesus. Ten were healed, only one returned to give thanks. Maybe, Brian said, nine were healed, but only one – the Samaritan, the odd one out was made whole. We don’t just need healing. We need to be made whole and to be truly thankful to God for the wholeness of salvation he gives us in Christ!
And it only took ten minutes. I have heard it said that a ten minute sermon produces ten minute Christians! That’s usually an excuse to go on and on and take forty minutes to say what you could say in twenty.
I’ve just read an excellent book on preaching. 360 Degree Preaching by Michael Quicke. My model and method is very similar to his – a stream of development of a sermon from start to finish in which we are all, preacher and listener alike, in the flow of the communication of the Holy Spirit. It got me all excited about the privilege and power of preaching again.
But I am stuck. I’d like to preach shorter, I am not sure how.
A minister once got up to preach and apologized for the nicks on his face. He said, “I was thinking about preaching and cut myself shaving,” A crumpled note in the offering box offered this advice, “Next time, why don’t you think about shaving and cut your preaching!”
But, I’m a preacher! Why use twenty words when two hundred will do?