I have just been looking at May's edition of Christianity Today. Its briefing page spotlights: Pastors' Fight and Flight and gives a list of predictors of future church conflict. The two main predictors are predictable: recent church fights and shrinking congregations.
But then they give a list of warning signs. Look at number 1.
1. Your sermons last between 11 and 20 minutes. Churches with that homiletic length were about twice as likely as others to have a conflict leading to a leader leaving. Also, conflict leading to a church meeting is less likely with longer sermons.
As someone who has always been more concerned about quality than quantity I should like to know what lies behind this statistic? That longer sermons show greater teaching depth so that congregations are more mature? That longer sermons show preachers have taken greater care and demonstrate more pastoral awareness? That longer sermons show more seriousness about being community? Just what do these longer sermons have that is so different that they halve the possibility of conflict? Surely it's not just length!
I really am puzzled. Any insights are welcome!