If you’re like me, the hardest part of sermon preparation is the blank page. What do I talk about this Sunday? What passage should I teach through?
I quickly found that planning out my messages with a yearly preaching calendar not only eliminated this headache, but also allowed me to communicate the Bible more effectively on a week to week basis. I was better prepared, less stressed, and more confident preaching.
Here are four reasons why:
1. Planning Helps Me to Be More Open to the Holy Spirit’s Leading
Some people believe planning limits the Holy Spirit’s leading. In my life, I’ve found this to be quite the opposite. When I take time to plan out my messages well in advance, I feel less rushed and more open to God’s guidance in my life. I take time to pray, think, and read His Word. If you don’t plan your messages until a few days out, it’s easy to get so consumed with the pressure of sermon construction that we allow the stress to drown out God’s voice. We believe the Holy Spirit can work at any moment—including days or hours before a message—but He can also work weeks and months in advance too.
2. Planning Helps Me to Be More Intentional in My Preaching
When I wait until the last minute to prepare my messages, I tend to preach on the same topics and passages over and over again. This isn’t always a bad thing—some topics need to be reiterated many times throughout the year. This can become a weakness when I pass by issues and passages that I’m either unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. Planning a sermon series calendar helps me see the big picture.
3. Planning Helps Me to Communicate Better
When I know what I’m going to preach about months in advance, I can start collecting illustrations, reading books on the topic, and thoroughly studying through relevant passages. By the time I end up preaching the message, I’m more informed and better prepared.
4. Planning Helps Me to Leverage the Calendar Year
There are certain seasons of church growth. Times when absent members return and new people join. Times of transition. Holidays. Planning out my messages in advance allows me to leverage these seasons for maximum impact. For example, I might do an evangelistic series in September because I know more guests will be visiting during this time. While during the summer, I might focus more on discipleship and ministry.
I love helping pastors plan better sermons, that’s why we’ve put together a free online sermon planning event with Pastor Mark Batterson on October 7. Get access to the event by registering for free here.