White Christian pastors know that they have to keep the sermon short and sweet, due to the one hour time limit imposed on the entire church service. After praise and worship, announcements, greeting, and the offering, the pastor has about 15 minutes, tops.
Before the actual sermon begins, the pastor will start with a joke or personal story to break the ice and then read a few Bible verses. The scripture reading is usually followed by a map of Israel on PowerPoint, to show the exact location of the tree that snagged Absalom’s hair or the cave where David was hiding while Saul relieved himself. The remaining nine minutes leaves just enough time to deliver a sermon consisting of three points.
A three point sermon sounds simple enough, but to the consternation of homiletics professors, many pastors will include multiple points within a single point. This is also very frustrating to the church’s committed note-takers. They are listening carefully for the three points so that they can jot them down on the bulletin before pitching it into the garbage on the way out.
Rick Warren rose to prominence by pioneering a new form of sermon with more than three points. Sermons like “The Seven S’s of Stewardship” and “Eight E’s of Evangelism” blew away the status quo. White Christians flocked to Saddleback Church where they could get three or even four times as many points per sermon as their previous church.
Most are satisfied with the three point sermon, with the exception of white Christian children. To better prepare themselves for the obligatory “what was the sermon about” question from their parents at the dinner table, they would probably prefer a one point sermon.