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I recently spoke in Atlanta at the Whiteboard Session. This is an interesting conference because each speaker has only 15 minutes to speak. I’m a pastor. I’m not used to 15 minutes. In fact, each Sunday I speak for 30 minutes, and most conferences I speak at, I get 45 minutes or even an hour.

It was been fun and challenging to prepare this talk. I’m even wondering if I could do more 15-minute messages on Sunday morning now.

In my preparation, I found this great article that included the ten commandments for Ted Talks.

1. Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out Thy Usual Shtick

2. Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before

3. Thou Shalt Reveal Thy Curiosity and Thy Passion

4. Thou Shalt Tell a Story

5. Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Sake of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy

6. Thou Shalt Not Flaunt Thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of Thy Failure as Well as Thy Success.

7. Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither Thy Company, Thy Goods, Thy Writings, nor Thy Desparate Need for Funding; Lest Thou Be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.

8. Thou Shalt Remember All the While: Laughter Is Good.

9. Thou Shalt Not Read Thy Speech.

10. Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee

I thought these were great tips regardless of whether you preach, teach a Sunday school class, or lead meetings.

So I’ve got two questions today:

1. What other tips would you give those of us who preach/teach on a regular basis?

2. Should sermons in general be shorter or longer?



Pete Wilson is the founding pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN and author of a new book entitled Plan B, his thoughts about what to do when life doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. He is a frequent blogger on his popular ministry blog, WithoutWax.tv. Pete is married and has three sons.

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Todd Pope

commented on May 21, 2012

I have found great value in creating a short, memorable phrase that captures the sermon in a sentence. Certainly, not original with me. Andy Stanley is the master. I preached a missions' message this weekend. My tagline was "Go doesn't mean stay!" In our day and age of social media, my short, memorable phrase gets tweeted and put on Facebook and reaches thousands of people through that avenue.

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