Can you have more than one desired response per church sermon? That question comes up often when I’m teaching.
Usually it’s asked by someone who preaches in a verse-by-verse fashion, who wonders what to do with passages such as at the end of certain epistles that call for any number of different responses.
I confess that my concern rests more with the listener than the preacher. A church sermon that asks for several different and often unrelated responses is certainly more difficult to follow and absorb than a message with a single response. Especially this is true now that people’s attention spans are decidedly shorter than they used to be. As a result, Sunday sermon time in most churches has been reduced from an hour-plus to 20 or 30 minutes. So for the sake of maximum communication I would recommend trying to stick with one desired response per sermon.
I’m also assuming that additional time is needed to instruct people regarding the “how-to” of each desired response, a element of Sunday sermons I will write about in the near future.
It’s true that some preachers are skilled enough to keep the attention of a congregation through a passage calling for several different responses. Be aware that they are the exception rather than the rule. I don’t believe I have the necessary skills to fit in that category, and my assumption is that very few of my readers do either.