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Right-sizing

Determining the optimum length of sermon series and preaching units.

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Steven Mathewson

July 16, 2012  12:47pm

Steve, I meant to say "especially gifted." No, the rest of us are not bad at all! But in my opinion, very few preachers can engage a congregation for 2-3 years in the same book without seeing their listeners' interest wane. I think there's a bigger problem, though. A pastor who takes 3 years to get through Romans or 1 Samuel may not be helping his people think through the flow of the Bible's storyline and its theology. D. A. Carson talked about this several years ago at a Desiring God conference. This is a generality, but the "micro" approach (2-3 years in the same book) seems to fit pastors who like systematic theology and want to slow down to a handful of verses each Sunday to mine the theological topics. A "macro" approach (larger passages, 2-3 books in a year)fits those who want their people to see the big picture and follow the contours of the passages in a book of Scripture. Maybe the wisest approach is to do both "macro" and "micro." I'm thankful that you preach through books!

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STEVE ZIMMER

July 10, 2012  5:41pm

"gifted" pastors like John Piper... most pastors need the variety that is built into Scripture itself? That is precisely why I preach through books for more than a year or two because you find such great variety in each book especially the gospels. It is because folks these days are so biblically illiterate that we need to spend longer on passages. Are the rest of us really that bad? :)

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Brian Larson

July 02, 2012  12:32pm

Stephen, Touche! :)

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Richard Cameron

July 02, 2012  11:18am

First class article. Very helpful and has given me much to think about. I particularly liked the section on reading the scriptures in public. This is often done very poorly and is a timely reminder.

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Stephen Nordbye

July 02, 2012  11:14am

I might get to reading the article because of its practicality. However 13 pages! Too long?! Certainly some irony considering the topic.

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