Just before the worship service started one Sunday, the guest preacher asked me (the pastor) how many minutes I usually preached. I told him I usually go 12 to 15 minutes. His reply stuck with me to this day: “Well, I’ve got 20-25 minutes, so they better be ready to listen that long!”
I had never really thought about it that way. As far back as I can remember, I’ve prepared sermons, and speeches, in terms of wanting to keep the people’s interest. If they aren’t paying attention, I might as well be gargling.
Do we really expect people to listen just because we are preaching, or because we are standing in a pulpit, or because we’ve begun with a few verses of scripture?