Ninety Seconds

Last week I had the pleasure of talking with the manager of the local radio station. Trinity, Slayton, has been broadcasting devotional messages for several years. The manager and I talked about the guidelines for these short broadcasts.

The most stringent guideline is to keep the broadcasts around ninety seconds. That works out to be a bit less than 300 words. OK, a posting on Twitter is limited to about the same, so it looks like we can at least begin to develop a theme within that constraint.

Dr. Donald Deffner, of blessed memory, suggested that every sermon, indeed everything we write, should have a theme of 15 words or less. Unless you can state your theme in such a short sentence, you are not ready to write.

In this respect, the 15 word theme is a lot like Paul’s statement, “We preach Christ crucified.” There is not enough time from now until our Lord comes again with the angels and the sound of trumpets to fully explore everything about this statement. Just the word “We” demands that we come to an understanding about the church, the office of the ministry, the purpose of our faith in Christ Jesus, and a host of other topics all related to the group of people who proclaim Christ crucified.

Add to that the question of who Christ is (the incarnate Son of God), why He was crucified (to redeem us from sin, death, and the power of the devil), and how that is offered to each person (through God’s rich grace as a gift, something we don’t earn), and how it is applied to each one who believes in Jesus (God’s Word and the sacraments administered according to Christ’s institution).

Yet ninety seconds is enough to to proclaim that our heavenly Father sent His Son into the world to pay the price of our sin. It is enough time to say that we are saved by God’s grace, His undeserved love, for the sake of Christ Jesus.

Let’s face it, ninety seconds is three times the length of the “elevator speech” that we learned to have ready as we studied marketing. Maybe, however, the ninety seconds will help people realize there is much more to the story.