MINISTRY AND WORDS
One of the greatest political speeches ever given in this country was only 270 words and two-minutes long. This was Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The featured speaker that day was Edward Everett a famed orator, he spoke for about two hours. NO one remembers his speech, but Lincoln’s will long live in the hearts of Americans.
A lot of words can be more of a hindrance than a help. Prov 10:19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise. NKJV
The Ten Commandments contain 297 words, Psalms 23 has 118 words, and the Lord’s Prayer only 56 words. The Department of Agriculture needed 15,629 words to discuss the pricing of cabbage. We do not want to let our message get lost in unnecessary verbiage.
I was raised in church, and I have been around preaching for the last 67 years. The sermons that stick out in my mind as very meaningful were not always very long. In fact, in my own ministry the sermons that seem to have the most effect upon my audience have been about 30 minutes long. By the way, very few of them are that short. So why are the sermons so looooooong? Especially, in the light of what Brother Branham taught us from years of experience that he found a sermon of 30 to 40 minutes was more effective!
Perhaps there are many reasons we preach so long, I will list a few that comes to mind.
- Because Brother Branham preached long sermons.
He said it was his fault. This was because of his practice of holding the people so long, he explained, “Because I had a message to bring.” To understanding why, we must recognize the Seventh Angel (Rev 10:7), and that he alone possessed the authority, as the Messenger to the Laodicean Church age, to bring a message to the age. This authority we believe was given to one man, who was qualified to receive the Word for this age and give it out, to those who could receive it and are called to preach it. We followed his example, but failed to do what he told us, after he explained to us the reason for his long services.
- A message preacher will preach long sermons; because he feels as if he has a little extra special calling and he really needs to be heard.
It is true that some are more gifted than others, but those gifts are limited. Yes, some can be more of a blessing than others, because of their ability to yield to the gift that resides within them. However, there is still only one Prophet Messenger to this age. In our own local churches we are all on equal footing. Yes, we all preach to long, but should we do it all the time?
- Because we have so much good information.
The Message is exhaustive, but we are not purveyors of merely good information, but of life.
- Because a preacher doesn’t prepare.
It probable takes more time to prepare, working diligently; to shorten a sermon than to include everything you want to say, knowing you will not have time to say it all anyway. Also, I might add, a preacher that does not properly prepare, never really gets started in his sermon, and then finds no place to stop!
- A preacher preaches to long, if he preaches all his notes and not all his heart.
The mind will speak words, but so will the heart! It is the heart where Deity abides in the speaker!
- A preacher of this message will preach to long, because, believers are hungry and they want to be fed.
In most message churches families will drive a long way to get to church, Wednesday nights and Sundays. Believers will sacrifice to be there, and the biggest driving force, is a hunger for the Word. They do not come to hear a sermonette by a preacherette. So is it the believers fault? I don’t think so, remember, there will always be three kinds of Believers in every service. Brevity is a virtue!
Pastor Bill Ivy – Living Word Tabernacle, Gibson Missouri – firstname.lastname@example.org