How do you lengthen people’s attention span?

As a part of my How to Preach series I’m focussing today on attention spans.

Rick Warren has posted some interesting thoughts on how to extend the attention span of your congregation during a sermon.

And we know how easily people are distracted today.

attention span

Here’s his 6 ideas with my commentary in bold italics:

Testimonies: When someone hears me say it, they may dismiss me as the paid spokesman. But when they hear it through a testimony, it’s from a satisfied customer. So true.

Skits or dramas: If your church has a drama group, this would be a great way to break up your sermons. Only if they can act!

Interviews: You can use interviews three different ways. They can be live, by video, or by telephone. Interviews are a brilliant way to get an individual’s story to your audience. This also prevents a boring, inexperienced speaking capturing a mike!

Film clips: Using movies is a great way to speak the language of your listeners. However I always look pathetic after people have seen Brad Pitt on the screen!

Songs: At Saddleback we call this the point and play service. It’s a regular part of our Christmas and Easter services.  It breaks the service into smaller segments and we’ve found it maintains high interest. This works really well for special services.

Tag-team preaching: Sometimes just having a different voice shakes things up. And great for training developing preachers.

What have you done to increase the attention span of your congregation?

  • DM

    Sorry, I lost interest half way through…


    – DM

  • John

    Very droll!!

  • shazjones

    Tag Team is very effective – that’s why most television and radio shows – even the news (which doesn’t have to be “entertaining”) have at least two different voices. The sound of a new voice constantly wrenches back your attention and keeps you much more focused than you would otherwise be. I’ve noticed that Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland are doing a lot more interview / chat-style conversation portions in their shows now rather than just mono-preaching.

  • John

    Good insight Sharon. Thanks