A preaching calendar leads to more focused preparation, more confidence in your sermons, and a balanced diet of spiritual exhortation.
One of the best ways to build an annual preaching calendar is to take one or two days and focus on the task.
With a little bit of preparation and some intentional focus, you can prayerfully build a solid plan that can guide your preaching and ministry for a full year.
- Imagine having a well-balanced plan in place for the next 6, 9, or even 12 months.
- Imagine knowing where youre going with your preaching.
- Imagine being able to think through messages months ahead of time.
The key? A preaching calendar retreat
For a couple of days.
Or a couple of weekly meetings.
WALK AWAY WITH A COMPLETED PLAN!
Heres how you do it
- Pray, read, and survey.
Before you schedule anything, you should pray. Preaching is a spiritual thing, and you need to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Plan some personal time to read Gods Word and ask, God, what do you want me to say to your church?
Secondly, survey your congregation. Ask real people what topics THEY want you to cover. Its important to have this perspective before you start the planning process.
- Summarize and write down your teaching priorities.
Dont invite a preaching planning team to come in blind without any direction. Take the results of your survey, your personal prayer time with God, and write down your teaching priorities for the year.
Your list might look something like this
- One series on Biblical finances or money management
- One series on marriage, relationships, and sex (tied to our marriage retreat or mens retreat).
- One two studies on a book of the Bible.
- A sermon for our 15-year anniversary celebration (could be part of a series or a stand-alone celebration).
- One series on end times (this was the #1 request of the survey).
- At least 4 key sermons where we clearly present the Gospel. Also, we encourage the congregation to invite friends and loved ones (Easter, plus at least 3 other days).
- At least one message on volunteering/serving.
- At least one message on inviting people to church.
- At least two messages that emphasize giving.
- Schedule a meeting.
Once youve prayed, asked your people, and written your priorities, now its time to schedule a time to actually DO your annual planning. There are a few ways to do this, so choose something that fits your schedule and culture.
We recommend at least one full day, but a 1½ days away from the office is even better. Youll discuss, debate, and brainstorm, and the result will be a completed plan.
You could choose 1-2 days in August or September, and focus your planning on the next calendar year. You could choose a time in the summer and plan the next school year.
The important thing is to pick a time.
Plan it far enough in advance so people can attend. Invite a mixture of staff and lay people in the church.
INVITE THE RIGHT PEOPLE
This is important, and its the number one place mistakes are made. When you think about who should be in this meeting, here are some things to consider.
- You need men and women. This isnt a meeting of the mens ministry. Most churches have more women than men in the congregation, so make sure your planning meeting reflects this.
- You can utilize volunteers. You have creative and wise people in your congregation. Many of them would be honored to participate in an event like this.
- You could intentionally invite unchurched people (or people who are not insiders).
- You need creative, positive people who can add to the conversation.
- Decide who will lead the meeting.
If youre the senior pastor, it will certainly be beneficial for you to participate. It might not, however, be best for you to lead the meeting. If you can bring in someone who is a great meeting facilitator, it will help you get more out of your time together.
During your series planning retreat, talk through your ideas and dive into some potential topics. If you zero in on a series on marriage and family, talk about the specific subjects you could address. You dont have to write the messages, but you can brainstorm the general direction
Everything is on the table. You can talk content, creativity, Scripture, and set design. Let people run with their ideas.
When you leave your series planning retreat, you will walk out with an annual teaching calendar for the next year.
Yes, it will be tweaked, adjusted, or changed based on circumstances and the leading of the Holy Spirit, but you will have a starting plan.
- Create the preaching calendar.
Now its time to finalize the process and assign calendar dates. As decisions are made, make it visual. Pin note cards to a bulletin board or write on a white board so everyone can see it. Also, have someone type it up and put the information into a master list and send it to you.
Do this BEFORE you start filling in series information. This will keep you from preaching on topics that are completely irrelevant to certain holidays (like Mothers Day).
Also, consider the seasons of the year. January is a great time to talk about personal finances or Biblical stewardship. The early fall, when kids go back to school, its a good time to talk about the vision of the church and why you do what you do.
The Rocket Company has partnered with seasoned, experienced, and passionate pastors to create a revolutionary, step-by-step preaching system designed to take the stress out of creating powerful sermons each week.
Its called Preaching Rocket. Heres what one pastor said
Ive been preaching since 1968. Preaching Rocket is the single greatest tool I have ever used to get better.
Preaching Rocket gives you the practical tools to boost your preaching that you never got in school. One of the modules focuses on how to create a strategic annual preaching calendar.