Here is something to consider before you rehash and mash up the pastor’s sermon today. It’s not easy speaking to the same audience, week after week, finding new angles, trying to be faithful to the texts and knowing that many already know what’s in the text…
Here are the results of the poll by three-hour increments:
1 to 3 hours — 1%
4 to 6 hours — 9%
7 to 9 hours — 15%
10 to 12 hours — 22%
13 to 15 hours — 24%
16 to 18 hours — 23%
19 to 21 hours — 2%
22 to 24 hours — 0%
25 to 27 hours — 1%
28 to 30 hours — 2%
31 to 33 hours — 1%
The results were fascinating to me. Here are some key points I found in the study:
- Most pastors responded with a range of hours. I took the midpoint of each range for my data.
- 70% of pastors’ sermon preparation time is the narrow range of 10 to 18 hours per sermon.
- Keep in mind that these numbers represent sermon preparation time for just one sermon. Many pastors spend 30 or more hours in preparing messages each week.
- The median time for sermon preparation in this study is 13 hours. That means that half of the respondents gave a number under 13 hours; the other half gave a number greater than 13 hours.
- Most of the respondents who gave a response under 12 hours indicated they were bivocational pastors.
- If the sermon was part of a series, the pastors indicated they spent even more upfront time to develop the theme and preliminary issues for the sermons to be preached.
- Many of the pastors are frustrated that they don’t have more time for sermon preparation.
- A number of the pastors indicated that finding consistent and uninterrupted sermon preparation time was difficult.
Most pastors have workweeks much longer than we realize because of the invisible nature of sermon preparation. As for me, the results of this poll have caused me to pray even more fervently for my pastor. His work is long. His work is never-ending. But the work he does is vitally important.