It was my first church. I was a new pastor just getting started when on a Sunday morning an older gentleman came up to me. He said, "Pastor, I know you are new, so I wanted to tell you that I only come to church because my wife makes me. I don't like church, but in fairness to you I will give you 20 minutes to preach, then I'm going to sleep and I snore." Sure enough, he did! And the worse part- his wife made them sit on the front row!
Quickly I had to make some decisions. Try to preach through the snoring, or give a 20 minute sermon. I realized that I didn't have to preach everything in one week, they would be back next week. So this old gentleman helped me with a pastoral discipline I couldn't have gotten anywhere else...I learned to preach a sermon in 20 minutes. There were days that it was a race between he and I, but I made the adjustments, and learned a lot.
So, what's the point? I am preaching next Sunday at another church for a young pastor I have been mentoring. He calls me the "bishop of Flower Mound." We met this week to discuss the general topics, and then I asked, "how long do I have to speak?" He replied, "20 minutes." And I just smiled.....thanks to an old gentleman years ago who didn't want to be in church I can do a 20 minute sermon.