I’m currently reading “Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry” by William Willimon, and came across the following quote:
“At a meeting of pastors, a noted church observer was asked, ‘What about the length of sermons?’ The observer responded, ‘From what I observe, sermons are getting both longer and shorter. It’s the tasteful eighteen-minute sermon that seems to be disappearing. In postmodernity, the middle disappears. I think the main factor is the median age of your congregation.’ Then he added an observation that surprised us. ‘And the younger your congregation, the longer the sermon.’ What? We though the under-thirty, MTV crowd had an attention span reduced to the length of time between television commercials.
He went on to say that those under thirty are unformed, uninformed, and malformed in the Christian faith, and many of them know it. They therefore long for formation, regeneration, so sermons to them will need to take more time to tell the story, to name the name, to go over the basics of the faith.” (216)
I’m not convinced that the older generation is any more formed than the younger in the Christian faith, but I do believe longer sermons are essential in an age when the catechetical sermon may be the most important form of sermon to preach. What do you think of the quote and its implications?