There are four letters and a punctuation mark that every wordsmith needs to know: TL;DR.
Preachers and bloggers are my focus, but these days, everyone who communicates needs to understand “too long; didn’t read.”
This is the age of the tweet, the text, the status update.
Patterns of attention are changing. Smart communicators adapt, and draw a crowd. Curmudgeons complain to shrinking audiences.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a sermon—something I rarely do.
My seminary training and preaching experience have created a sermon-length set-point in my mind. I write and write until it feels like I’ve got about 15-20 minutes of talking time.
But this time, both preparation and delivery felt too long. Arduous. Wearisome.
And a liberating thought emerged from that discomfort: what if it doesn’t have to be this way?
What if it shouldn’t be this way?
What if there’s a better way?
What if a “sermon” was no longer than five minutes? What if each worship service had three sermons, each delivered by a different preacher—and not necessarily the congregation’s minister? What if we freed our imagination from rigid forms of training and experience? What if we designed every element of a worship service with changing attention spans in mind?
Photo by James Bowe, used under a Creative Commons attribution license