In his book Making a Good Church Great (Regal), Steve Sjogren warns about letting worship music run too long: “We were, at one time, a ‘high worship’ church. That is, we would sing worship choruses for up to 45 minutes. However, the long worship time made our church ‘seeker hostile.’ Our attitude was, ‘If those new people can’t handle the presence of God in large doses, well, that’s their problem!’ The long worship worked fine for us, but for those who hadn’t developed a taste for worship, it was far too long.

“As more and more newcomers found their way into our midst, I began to feel that we were overdoing our worship time–that perhaps we had created an insiders-only club. So I began to do some research. I stood off to the side of church sanctuaries across America and observed how long the worship endurance of congregations was.

“I found the same result in almost every congregation, regardless of denominational background, tradition or stated values. People are capable of being engaged in worship for a maximum of about 22 minutes. After 22 minutes, most worshipers’ attention span drops significantly. Needless to say, we made a shift to a 22-minute worship set, though it caused some consternation for a time among people who love to worship. Now participation in worship is on a significantly higher level than it was before we shortened worship.” (Click here to learn more about Making a Good Church Great.)

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