So today is the day we get started planning your preaching for the next calendar year. For today, I’ll lay out some initial basics and we’ll fill in some specifics later in the week. For now, what you need is a yearly calendar that you can plan with. What you choose to use is your preference. For me, I use a spreadsheet on Google Docs that I layout with my Sundays on the far left column. From there, I have columns for a series title, message title, scripture reference, special notes, and church emphasis in that order from left to right on the spreadsheet. You could use a ruled notebook, desk calendar, or whatever else works for you.
Next, I consult a regular calendar for special days. When is Easter? Mark it down. When does the school year-end in the summer and begin again in the fall? What about things like daylight savings time and a return to standard time if your region is so affected? Do you have any special plans like denominational conventions, growth seminars, or other professional development that will have you out-of-town on any days when you have worship? All of this needs to be included in your sermon calendar. This is what I use my “special notes” section for.
Once you have these types of days outlined in your sermon calendar, you will notice that your planning is already taking shape. To help me visualize the year, I highlight the various days in colors that coordinate with my planning. Any system will work if you like. It is up to you.
A final note on this section, take time to include major holidays like Labor Day or Memorial Day on your calendar and note these weekends. Chances are these will be weekends where your attendance is lowered and it might make for a good time to book a special speaker in advance. I also include extended breaks in the school calendar like spring break so I can plan ahead for the various sermon series I want to preach. Nothing says bad planning like promoting a big growth series that runs right into a major holiday or extended break.
You also want to include any special church holidays that might be specific to your church in this step. I don’t have this issue at my church since we are a new plant but you might be in a church where certain times of the year might signal a significant remembrance of some sort. You have to be aware of these and plan ahead.
Okay, step one is done! Now we can move ahead to the next step which is lining up what types of preaching your will be doing and at what times of the year you will schedule it.
To be continued…on Wednesday!