I have been a United Methodist clergywoman for 29 years. Therefore, I can report my observations:
There is no creature on earth more in love with the sound of their own voice than a preacher.
There are hundreds of sermons in my personal preaching history over the last 30 years. I swear (on an open Bible), I have never given a sermon longer than 20 minutes.
All my life (I am now retired) I have heard three sermons under 35 minutes. In my whole life.
This brings the following questions to my mind:
Doesn’t the preacher even see the people in the congregation? Can the pastor not catch the clues they send back? Like wow, I am with you! Or the glassy gazes, the distracted glances — Time to get to the point and wind it up, preacher. You lost me.
Doesn’t the preacher even consider giving a concise enough talk that one concept or word might be remembered for five minutes after church?
Do preachers have any compassion for these people listening? Often we come to church beat up by life. Can’t the preacher give even a tiny bit of good news to bring home? Some preachers pride themselves in preaching “the gospel” – which means “good news”. The way I see it, the good news gets strangled by the church clichés spoken in unnatural ecclesiastical language. It means nothing to a normal person.
Now that I am a retired clergywoman, and marginally gainfully employed as a church musician, I am amazed and befuddled when I see people attend church services. Why do they keep coming?