If you have been following our series on sermon calendar planning, you’ve lined out your year, added special days, identified any specific calendar items for your church and family and are now ready to start looking at the sermons you will preach in the coming year.
After I get through with my basic layout (step one) I begin to look at the calendar from the standpoint of attracting new families to church. The obvious times of Easter and Christmas stand out but for our church, Christmas really isn’t a time for new growth. Where I pastor, many families travel out of state for the holiday while some have families visit them. The transient nature of the congregation at this time doesn’t lend itself to growth but rather, reflection so I note this and plan sermons during Advent that are focused in that direction. Easter is another matter. Many families invite friends at this time so it makes sense for me to lay out a nice series that speaks to newcomers that will attend. Kicking off a series on Easter Sunday gives newcomers a “hook” to return to your church. They want to hear more of what you are speaking about. The resurrection is a fantastic kickoff but there are so many ways to tie it in with a series. We’ve had different series each year but all had the resurrection as their kickoff.
As for the series themselves, I find between 4-6 weeks are best for them. Longer series can be broken up if necessary or you can tie together stand alone messages into a loosely woven theme that stands alone each week but has a tie in overall. Summer time is a great time for this type of series. Knowing that many folks will be traveling at this time makes a loosely tied in series a natural between summer kickoff and back to school.
So what types of series should you include? As I stated, this type of advanced planning gives you a great opportunity to plan your preaching in areas that you wouldn’t naturally go. Do you want to preach through a book? Fantastic! Plan out the messages within the book and break it up by themes. Then, you can either go through the messages straight or break them up if they are longer into two or even three series. I once preached through the book of Romans this way.
It doesn’t matter if you are more of an expository preacher or one who is more issues focused (you really should do both and give your folks a variety). This type of planning works.
Once you have some ideas lined out for the various sermon series you want to preach, put them on your calendar. At this point, you do not have to have specific messages prepared. Remember, this is a template to help you plan ahead. Just put the series on your calendar and take note of the Sundays you have left.
Next time, I will share some final thoughts and resources with you to help you on this journey. It’s definitely an ever changing work that I’ve made changes to over the years. Don’t feel like it has to be perfect to work for you. Just do it and make the changes you desire later.
…Til next time!