#056: How Long Should My Sermon Be? [PODCAST]

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  • #056: How Long Should My Sermon Be? [PODCAST]
  • Welcome to The On Preaching Podcast, the podcast dedicated to helping you to preach faithfully, clearly, and better. 

    In this episode, I want to offer several answers to the question of how long your sermons should be. Congregations’ views on sermon length have changed. Should yours?

    There was a time when, if I was asked how long my congregation’s worship services lasted, I answered, “Until they are over.” If asked how long I preached, I answered, “Until I’m finished.” Those were bad answers twenty years ago. They are even worse answers now.

    Time is your members’ most important commodity. It is way more important than money. It is important that we feed our sheep well and respect the time we have together in corporate worship. What does this mean for the length of hour sermons?

    [Tweet “A sermon does not have to be eternal to be immortal. “]

    Here are seven principles to consider as you answer the question, “How long should my sermon be?”

    1. Your sermon should be long enough to actually say something important.
    2. Your sermon should be long enough to be a meaningful element of the worship service.
    3. Your sermon should be long enough to treat the text fairly.
    4. Your sermon should be as long as you are able to preach effectively.
    5. Your sermon should be as long as your ability to maintain the congregation’s interest.
    6. Your sermon should Be as long as the time you have been allotted.
    7. Your sermon should be shorter than you think it should be.


    • How long are your sermons?
    • What principles shape how long you preach?
    • What can you change about your sermon length to make your preaching more effective? 

    “It doesn’t matter how long you preach, it should feel like twenty minutes.” – John R.W. Stott

    Recommended Resources

    The Cutting It Straight Expository Preaching Conference will take place September 18-20, 2018 at the Shiloh Church in Jacksonville, Florida. This conference is dedicated to training, promoting, and modeling biblical preaching and teaching. There will be trains for preaching, Christian education, Pastors’ Wives, Women’s Ministries, and Worship and Arts. On Friday, September 21, there will be a live CD recording by the Shiloh Church Choir and Sovereign Grace Music. Register today! 


    If you have an idea for a podcast episode, a question to ask, or any feedback from what you have heard or read in this episode, leave a message in the comments section.

    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.