Creating the Experience
While sermon writing is often done in solitude, preaching on the other hand is meant to be a very public experience involving an audience of individuals that hopefully want to hear what the speaker has to say. Effective preaching occurs when a preacher or speaker successfully connects with their audience, taking a universal notion or slice of the human story that, by attaching meaning, promotes a connection that may ultimately produce growth and learning. The successful speaker connects with their audience on a deep feeling level causing the speaker to momentarily enter into the private world of the audience. An effective preacher endeavors to master the skills necessary to connect with their audience, including the mental and spiritual disposition necessary to transport both the preacher and the audience to experience a desired outcome. In some faith traditions that outcome is a state of emotional rapture that is transcendent. Still others catch their gems of learning via the neocortex.
While early Unitarian ministers preached lengthy sermons, most contemporary Unitarian Universalist sermons are between 15 to 20 minutes in length. The sermon is no longer considered the focus of worship but one of the essential elements that creates a memorable and fulfilling experience. Some of these sermons are extracted from the worship service. Some of them are presented in the context of the full worship service. In that case it is up to the viewers to decide whether to fast-forward or immerse themselves in the fuller experience.
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