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How long should a sermon be?

The Pew Research Center study in 2019 revealed that sermons typically last 37 minutes.

As I read the graphic, I realized what is underway now is not when churches were exploding.

Today, when I visit CABA churches, there are typically 25 minutes of praise music, maybe 30 seconds devoted to prayer, and 40+ minutes preaching. Invitations are five minutes or non-existent.

During the Jesus Movement in the mid-70s, one Sunday our pastor gave the invitation first and several came forward and got saved. Most Sundays, he would speak 20 minutes and we’d easily have a 20-minute invitation. At that time, church members were far more involved in the service with testimonies, mission reports, prayer needs, and specials by the choir, youth ensembles, or soloists.

Is it because our discipling in churches is so weak that pastors feel that they have to do it? We used to spend every Sunday night in Church Training studying doctrine, Baptist distinctives, the biblical basis of missions, etc.

The Annual Church Profile (ACP) included online viewing last year. Note the jump in the AM Worship attendance. It shoved the trend line slightly upward over the past 10 years. However, it is important to state that our churches have about 9,00 to 10,000 in worship, but they are not keeping up with population increases in the Cincinnati Area.

So, how long should a sermon be? I welcome your input.

Mark Snowden serves as director of missional leadership for CABA

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