Church Sermon Texts with Numerous Responses

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.

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