A new perspective is always helpful. That’s why I find it interesting and inspiring to visit other churches to see what they’re doing (or not doing) with their services.
My wife and I visited Harvest Bible Church in Davenport, Iowa recently. I thought I would write up our thoughts about the service and what we liked, and just one area that I think they could improve in.
My father, pastor and author Mark Anderson always uses this method to help me learn to be a better speaker — he encourages me, and then gives me just one point to improve for next time. I have really appreciated his restraint as I’m sure he could give me a list, but he never does — he only gives me one item to improve on each time.
- Harvest Bible Church, Davenport, Iowa
- Large church
- Multiple services (we went to the 11am Sunday service)
What we liked
- They have an 11am service — yay! Maybe just because we were on vacation, but I love a late morning service.
- Their website was clear, inviting, and well-designed.
- They started on time with zero announcements — right at 11am, the band started playing the first worship song. Love it! (They had announcements running on the slideshow before the services started, and then spent about 3-4 minutes on announcements at the very end of the service.)
- The worship was excellent: heartfelt and very well done musically.
- Stage design was nice, if maybe a bit cliché.
- They had coffee available before the service, and you could take it into the auditorium.
- The sermon series was about a current justice-related topic — we were happy to see this and saw it as a very good sign that the church wanted to address current cultural questions.
- Shorten the sermon!
The sermon was over 50 minutes long. Many of us humans are really not wired for long lecture-style teaching and that is just too long to try to keep us engaged. In my opinion, 30 minutes is a maximum length for a lecture-style sermon. In reality, I think a pastor has to be a phenomenal speaker to keep an average person learning for more than about 20 minutes.
As it’s been said, “Our minds can only comprehend as much as our seats can endure.”
I know there are a lot of different opinions on this, and there are a lot of churches who regularly have sermons that are 50 minutes long or more. But for me, even as a motivated, engaged listener, that is simply too long to engage with a lecture-style teaching.
Just my two cents.
Thanks for having us, Harvest Bible Church!