Over the last few months, I’ve watched a lot of Ted talks. What draws me the most is the direct (usually singular) purpose that the idea is trying to convey. From Derek Sivers’ talk on how to start a movement to Sir Ken Robinson’s insights on education, from Marco Tempest’s techno-magic to Jane McGonigal on gamification and tackling life’s biggest regrets (oh why not, let’s also throw in Jane Fonda’s Life’s Third Act, which I think also has impact on the future of youth ministry), Ted talks have a way to get across an innovative idea in a concise manner (well, some are not as concise, but most are).

I’ve noticed lately that my sermons are getting shorter (averaging about 20 min). In fact, the last one I gave on Sunday was 15 min. Yet I don’t think anyone has said (at least not directly to me) that it was incomplete or that I was too short (i.e. I didn’t fulfill their time expectations). Rather, they walk away with a specific concept, challenge or inspiration (I believe are from God) and are allowing that to sink deeper into them.

Maybe it’s just me, but there are times when I find some sermons are just too long. They try to pack so much in there (almost like an overwhelming gluttonous buffet of spiritual truth). Few preachers are able to do that well. But many who try just go on too long and the main thrust of the message is diluted. Some people may think that I’m not being a “proper preacher” because I’m giving too little. From what I’ve learned about preaching, better to give one singular idea well (and the audience actually receives it) than three points that the congregation may or may not be able to recall in the end. Maybe this is more of who I am, but I would rather give them something distinct, concise that allows them to really chew on it and work through it instead of a plethora of truth that many believers really don’t know what to do with (and essentially become stagnant or paralyzed with all that truth).

I guess, in that way, my sermons are seemingly more like a “Ted talk” (though I doubt I’ll ever be on a Ted talk).

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