These past few weeks I’ve been giving my volunteer ministers a shot at presenting the message. When they asked me how long the message should go I give them the time frame of 10-15 minutes. But I tell them while that’s the framework it shouldn’t dictate the content.
I’m not sure what your thoughts on length are, but in the end I believe it comes down to how you engage and clearly communicate to the crowd. I know people will argue back and forth on the best length for a message but in reality if you can’t answer these three questions, then your message is just noise:
- “What do I want them to know?”- If your audience could walk away remembering one thing what would it be? That one thing should be a nugget of truth that they can chew on and pray about so it begins to influence their thinking. Too often we lay in multiple points which in the end cancel each other out. What you want to do is find one thing to say it and then say it in different ways, in other words make it stick and drive it home.
- “What do I want them to do?”- Now that they have that piece of truth show them how they should live it out. For a long time we were filling teens heads with information but never telling them how to apply it to their lives. But don’t give them too many action steps or again it’s become too complex, people want clear and simple.
- “How am I going to get them there?”- Now that you’ve told them what they need to know and how to live it out, here’s where you need to set them up for success. Here you can get a little gimmicky (like wrist band reminders), but it’s important to give them a tool that will not only remind them but help them go deeper (i.e. small groups, ministry)
When you can answer these three questions, you can build a focused and inspirational message. Students will leave focused on the vision with an idea of which path to follow. You should never speak just to be heard, you should speak because you want to make something happen.
How do you construct a clear and engaging message?