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Meet Troy Page. Troy is one of the newest members of our consulting team. He served as a member of the creative team at Fellowship Church where he helped Pastor Ed Young plan creative messages. Currently, Troy serves as the Worship Arts Pastor at West Ridge Church.

This week I asked Troy to share some tips for preaching shorter sermons. The reality is there are few people who can preach longer than 30 minutes without losing their audience. A good philosophy is to leave them wanting more, not wanting to get out.

  1. Cut Your Introduction – Don’t spend so much time trying to set things up. Get in and get out by avoiding too much detail and long stories. A good idea is to shoot for a 3 minute introduction.
  2. Minimize Lists – Long lists of examples can add length, especially if you comment on each one. Try combining similar points and using these examples in a sentence rather than a list.
  3. Stick to the Point – Define what the main thing is you want people to walk away with and stick to this thought. Cut information that is not relevant to this idea. Remember, you can always use it later!
  4. Plan the Landing – Know how you want to land the plane and don’t ramble at the end of your message. Focus on one main challenge/thought, develop a power statement, or perhaps refer back to your introduction by stating how the problem can be solved.
  5. Try a One Point Message – Most people will not remember 3 points and all the detail you may want to give. Try picking one big truth you want to teach and give the audience clear cut examples of how they can go home and do it on Monday morning.
  6. Practice Your Message – Take time to preach your message out loud. Not only will you be able to time it, but you will also uncover parts that are confusing, too long, or just boring.
  7. Plan With a Team – Share your thoughts and outline with others. This will help you discover things that don’t make sense, lack impact/interest, or are irrelevant to your main thought.
  8. Don’t Get Emotionally Attached – Sometimes we fall in love with an idea or illustration and have a hard time cutting it. Be willing to slice and dice in order to keep your audience engaged.
  9. Control Your Creativity – Don’t waste time with illustrations, props, videos and other creative elements that distract the audience rather than enhance your message. If using them, make sure they are memorable and drive the main point, not a sub point of a sub point.
  10. Critique Your Message – Take time between services to evaluate your message with a team and then watch it on Monday. Regular critique will help you pick up on things that add length to your sermons.

Creatively planning and executing teaching series and worship experiences can be extremely challenging. Our team is very excited to now offer a brand new service that will help your church develop a strategy for Series and Service Planning. Contact us if you would like to learn more.

photo credit: marcp-dmoz via compfight.com

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

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