Athens, GA — Pastor Kevin Sails hasn’t always been known as a short preacher, but he’s finally found his groove. “In my first church, I used to get a lot of flack about my name,” Sails said. “After the service, people would always say, ‘You had a lot of wind in your sails today, Pastor.’ It hurt, but it made me better.”
Today at River Valley Church (RVC), Pastor Sails’ perseverance paid off as he broke the American record by preaching 5 consecutive weeks in 30 minutes or less. Sails celebrated the potential record by calling Domino’s Pizza at the beginning of the sermon, and finishing just before the delivery boy dropped off the pizzas within their 30 minute delivery guarantee window.
There were a few scary moments when the record was in jeopardy. “At the end of that first joke, the congregation laughed for 5 seconds longer than I thought they would,” commented Sails. “Then when they started to get excited and clapped towards the end, I had to stop them. Otherwise it would have ruined the record.” The official time of the record breaking sermon was officially recorded at 29 minutes and 18 seconds.
“It wasn’t something that we planned,” noted volunteer worship leader Wendy Michaels. “We noticed it was happening on week 3, and then last week, when he only preached for 18 minutes, we knew this was achievable.” Michaels continued, “I was shocked when he preached less than 20 minutes. I had to add an extra song to the service, which never happens! Fortunately we play everything in the key of G around here, so we were able to pull it off.”
In a press release issued to verify the record, Gary Schwammlein, the President of the Willow Creek Association clarified, “While Pastor Sails’ record is to be celebrated, it should be noted that this is a class A church record, which refers to churches of 250 or under in average worship attendance and only preaching at one service. Pastors at our class D churches that have at least 2,000 people per weekend and a minimum of 3 services have to preach under 30 minutes at all of the services in order to qualify. It really doesn’t even compare.”
Not everybody is happy with the record though. Randy Jones, a long time member at RVC, and who is approaching 80, noted, “I used to be able to get my full nap in before the sermon was over. Now my wife has to wake me up before I even get to REM sleep. The last month I’ve left church tired and had to take a second nap in the afternoon. Something’s gotta change.”