One of the most valuable tools a pastor can develop is a preaching plan. In an article for Pastors.com, Brandon Cox explains why he finds it helpful to plan a year ahead:
“I’ve spent the last month or so mapping out the next year of preaching. That doesn’t mean I’m preparing a year’s worth of sermons in detail or that I won’t make changes along the way. Sometimes a congregation experiences unexpected transitions or cultural events, and sometimes God just makes it clear that what was planned isn’t the best message for the moment. So I’m flexible, but I want to think ahead. I believe annual sermon planning is vital for several reasons."
To Balance What the Congregation Is Being Fed
When I map out a year of sermons I try to be intentional about balancing certain factors, such as:
• I want to teach from both testaments and every major genre of literature—narrative history, prophecy, poetry and wisdom, the gospels, and the epistles.
• I want to touch on all of the major areas of systematic theology—bibliology (the Bible), soteriology (salvation), pneumatology (the Holy Spirit), anthropology (mankind), ecclesiology (the church), etc.
• I want to talk about all five purposes of the church, and of life—worship, evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, and ministry.
• I want to plan series designed to reach seekers, ground new believers, and take seasoned saints deeper into the beauty of the gospel…
To Give Our Team a Change to Get Creative Together
Nothing replaces preaching as the primary vehicle for the delivery of God’s truth, but preaching can certainly be enhanced and supplemented with various other kinds of elements such as videos, illustrations, object lessons, intentional song selection, poetic readings, and more.
My preaching calendar is visible to my teaching team and to our worship leaders so we can think ahead. It’s also visible to other ministry leaders for another reason…
To Keep Our Congregation Focused on Each Theme Intensely and Collectively
Our community pastor, Danny Kirk, who often teaches parts of our series on Sundays, writes small group studies in advance that our group hosts can use in their meetings to dive deeper into the content of the message from Sunday. Our student leader adapts that curriculum for junior and senior high students, and our kids director designs her curriculum for kids’ worship to flow with my sermons, as well.
Because kids, teenagers, adults and small groups are all on the same page, families get to talk about their shared spiritual growth together.
To Give a Dozen Opportunities for Members to Invite People
Almost every series lasts one month. The first Sunday of each month, then, becomes a bit of a kick-off point where we get to say something like, “Come and join us for a new teaching series about…” This gives us 12 opportunities to publicize something new, to launch new groups with a new curriculum, and to be creative with graphics and environmental elements. (Read the full article.)