How long is long enough when it comes to a sermon? That rather depends on who is doing the preaching. In many evangelical churches, the average sermon runs to 25 minutes. I reckon the average Church of England vicar pitches for 12-15 minutes. But what about a sermon lasting 8 minutes?
That's the proposed maximum duration of a homily during worship recommended by Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, the Vatican's secretary general of the Synod of Bishops. In a new book, he argues that homilies should be short because most churchgoers have a short attention span. He also suggests that preachers should work from an outline, and avoid reading their sermons from full scripts, to encourage better eye-contact.
The sermon, when respected as a communicative form, can still be a very powerful means to reach large numbers of people. When the preacher is good, 8 minutes will seem too short. When the preacher is bad, 8 minutes may feel like an eternity. I'd like to put together a list of 10 homiletical commandments: the do's and don'ts of preaching today. Leave a suggestion below. Here's a "sermon" to inspire your list (and be warned: this includes some strong language).
Picture: The pulpit used by the Protestant Reformer John Calvin in St Pierre Cathedral, Geneva.