Is your congregation awake?
I’m indebted to Riazat Butt, Religious Affairs correspondent of the Guardian, for identifying a potential new market for our Speakeasy Programme – the clergy (see The Guardian newspaper Sat 13th March 2010)! It seems that church congregations are no different from the buying public in having short attention spans, and the Vatican is concerned.
Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops has advised priests and deacons to limit homilies to 8 minutes or less, “the average amount of time for a listener to concentrate.” His advice in the book entitled Word of God mirrors the tips given to business people by presentation skills coaches – keep it short, relevant and engage your audience. The Archbishop highlights the problems of reading from a script, reducing eye contact with the congregation and breaking the connection between speaker and audience.
However, in their defence I would say that some of the best speakers I’ve seen have an evangelical style – after all, you’d find it hard to top this performance from Dr King.