Years ago I heard someone ask John Maxwell, “How long should I preach?” Maxwell responded with, “How good are you?” There is probably some truth to the old adage, “there’s no such thing as a bad short sermon” (although I think I have heard a few, and probably have preached some). I once heard Bob Russell share his sermon length formula with a group of preachers. He said: Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10. Now subtract 2 (since most preachers overestimate their ability). And multiply by five minutes. So if a guy estimates that he is an “8”, he drops it down to a “6” and multiplies by five minutes – that equals a 30 minute sermon.
We are told that people have short attention spans these days, so we should preach short(er) messages (my sermons average about 25 minutes). Yet I listen to preaching podcasts of some of the fastest growing churches in America – guys like Andy Stanley, Mark Driscoll, and Perry Noble, and they regularly preach for nearly an hour – sometimes even longer than that (well, mostly Driscoll). These lengthy sermons don’t seem to be hindering the growth of their churches. What’s the deal?
What say you? What is the perfect sermon length?