On Long Meetings
Please do not imprison me in a long meeting because you failed to take the time to prepare for a good short one. Peter Drucker says that the best leaders spend more time preparing for the meeting than they do in the meeting itself. There is seldom a reason for meetings to drone on and on. A weekly staff meeting doesn’t need to go past 60 minutes. If you include training, you might stretch this to 90 minutes. Meeting for longer than this on a regular basis shows that you are unprepared. You are also likely frustrating your team. A monthly elder meeting does not need to last longer than a couple of hours if every elder is well prepared in advance. If you regularly go past three hours in a monthly elder meeting, consider what kind of advance preparation you and other elders can do to make the best use of time.
On Long Sermons
Please do not require me to listen to a long sermon because you neglected to take the time to prepare for one that is clear, precise, and excellent. The best communicators spend enough time in preparation that their sermons are true to the text, interesting, clear, relevant, and precise. Some feel like preaching a 75-minute sermon makes them more legit, or biblical. My high school student and the neighbor that finally agreed to come to a worship service with me would beg to differ. Why not preach a carefully crafted, precise, and clear 35-minute sermon? You can do so, be faithful to the text, and apply the gospel. “I wish the pastor would preach longer sermons,” said nobody, ever. If you can’t narrow down your sermon to a manageable time frame, can you at least give us a ten-minute break to decide whether or not we will stick around for part 2?