In my last preaching class I had to create a one-year preaching calendar.
This project was massive to say the least. We had to supply graphics, 52 Sunday morning sermons, 52 Sunday evening services, and 52 Wednesday evening devotionals. Each sermon would outline the key passages, main points, themes, and spiritual direction of the church.
Some of the students loved creating and organizing their content. Others thought it was a waste of time.
Preaching calendars are an incredible tool that pastors should utilize to map the ministry’s spiritual direction, cast vision to your team, and enable pockets of creativity in your busy day. You are able to pair small group materials with your teaching content, regardless if you are
I know that there is an argument that the Holy Spirit may prompt you to speak on another topic or cover an issue that has come up in your community. Obviously preaching calendars have some flexibility.
If your preaching calendar doesn’t have the flexibility to respond to the Holy Spirit you might be more concerned with what you have to say, not what God has to say through you.
Don’t be that guy who ignored the Holy Spirit, whether that is nine months before a sermon or nine hours before you preach.
My sermon preparation has shifted over the past ten years into a system that works for me.
I learned early on that a pastor’s day is full of distractions and unplanned meetings. I also learned that teaching 52 lessons per year for the next 40 years is a holy endeavor that requires more than a flippant “what should I talk about this week?” approach.
“That is great, but I don’t have time to create a preaching calendar. It is too much work.”
Creating a preaching calendar isn’t a difficult as you may think. Remember, this isn’t a class assignment, you can create a calendar that has as much, or as little, information that your team needs.
I prepare my preaching calendar in three simple steps. These steps enable me to organize my content, address the spiritual needs of my ministry, lead my team to reinforce the passages I use, build momentum before and after camps, and allows me to be prepared, no matter how busy my schedule may become.
I tend to have a detailed preaching calendar that is six to nine months long with a general calendar (like “preaching through Mark”) for nine to twelve months out.
You can’t be a spiritual leader if you fail to prepare your spirit. While this is an ongoing discipline of prayer, I set aside one morning (8:00am-noon) to pray for our church, community, leaders, and seek what Jesus has for us.
The point of this time is to submit yourself to Jesus’ authority and leadership, not come up with five sermon series ideas.
Throughout the year I am banking topic ideas and passages into an Evernote document and bookmarking passages as “Future Sermon” in my Bible App.
Don’t underestimate the power of capturing your ideas. You need an app, notebook, or stone tablet to capture these ideas when they pop into your head.
Remember when your students were talking about the troubles that experience when sharing the Gospel with their friends? Capture that struggle in a note so that you will are able to address that in the near future.
Ideas will come from your devotional time, the local news, conferences, or while you are eating pizza with a small group. Capture them so that you can add them into your teaching.
A few weeks after I schedule my morning of prayer I will schedule a morning of study. This morning is about organizing content. This is a content development session that fleshes out some of the ideas I have been banking. I lay everything out on a table, use note cards for each passage/topic, and start to map where we are heading spiritually over the next 6-9 months.
I don’t write my sermons during this time – I simply develop the sermon series name, the sermon title, lock-in the main passage, and craft the rough draft of the main point. I don’t want to become bogged down with the specifics of crafting a catchy main point and lose focus on the big picture.
Once I have a map of the passages and series I pull up our church and local school calendars and place those series on the calendar.
Once it is on my calendar I consider my preaching calendar set. From there we start to develop graphics, worship sets, and the specifics for weekly worship.
That is it.
I don’t write sermons months in advance, but I do have a topic, passage, and main point ready.
Each week I know what I’m speaking on, the direction we are heading, and the information I need to pass on to my team. Simple as that!
Do you utilize a preaching calendar? What process works for you? How far ahead do you plan?
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