Wit & wisdom from Milton Jones

Whenever I teach students of preaching about the need to read their congregations, one of the experts to whom I turn is Milton Jones. A stand-up comedian might not be the most obvious source of wisdom for homileticians, but he has a lot to teach the preacher. A few years ago it was my privilege to watch Milton perform at the College of Preachers conference in Swanwick, Derbyshire. He performed an hour’s comedy set to one hundred or so preachers, and then deconstructed his performance in a forty minute interview. One of the things he talked about was the ‘ten seconds of grace’ which his zany hairstyle gives to him. He said that whilst people are staring at his whacky hair when he first walks on stage, it gives him ten seconds to read his audience- a reading upon which he will then base his election of gags for the perfoprmance.

Last month his new little book Ten Second Sermons was published by DLT. It is full of incisive wit and painfully accurate observation. I recommend it to any preacher, or indeed to anyone who communicates for a living. These little gems are the epitome of pith, and well worth the book’s cover price. As someone with a concern for communication, and for words in particular, I have selected this one as a sample:

If you get tangled up in Christian words you risk becoming one of those parts of the vine who lose their saltiness and therefore cannot finish the race.

See what I mean? I heartily recommend this little book to you.

Image: Amazon.com