Easter Sermons Are Easy
By Martin Spriggs:Bio on April 13, 2009
Ran across an interesting article about the average attention span of someone listening to a lecture (or sermon as the case may be). It’s called Kill lecture boredom through science from the Speaker Confessions blog. The results are based on a very small study of monitoring heart rates of students. While the results are not concrete enough to publish is a scholarly journal, I think we all might agree with them. He comes to two conclusions: 1) 20 to 30 minutes is the sweet spot amount of time for lectures, and 2) if you go longer, do something different every 20 minutes to regain people’s attention.
While most sermons hit that “sweet spot”, some would argue that the sermon is at the heart of a 60 minute period of time (the service) through which we are trying to hold the attention of the congregation. Throw in the fact that we hold services on a Sunday (read weekend) morning, many are sitting on uncomfortable pews, the under 5 year old crowd offers pretty stiff competition, etc. and you find a challenge worthy of the best public speakers.
All of us are fresh off Easter services, and I for one find it very easy to “tune in” to Easter sermons. Adrenaline is high. Hymns have a peppy contrast to those we’ve been singing over the last 6 weeks of Lent. Churches are full. Yet there are other times of the church year that I have to admit my heart rate drops pretty low by the end of a sermon.
Here are the tips the article offers. Some could be applied to the sermon. 1) Ask a question and look for a show of hands, 2) Give them a challenging problem to solve, 3) Show a short film, 4) Move to a new spot on the stage. Essentially, anything to help reset their attention cycles.
Obviously some of these same principles apply to Bible class and even when you are writing content for your website. If they are “tuned out” your breath is wasted. Maybe you have some good ideas to share?
GJ - Did you get a buzz out of those ideas?
WELS Imprint has a few dozen posts. I have 2,600 - without a salary, benefits, or training at Willow Creek. Or Trinity Deerfield. Or Fuller Seminary.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Another Reason To Cut the Technology Budget":
And Martin Spriggs graduated at the top of his class.... At WELS the quality goes in before the product goes out. Do you believe it?