A Peek Inside Sermon Planning
One of the great challenges of pastoral ministry is the answer to this question: what should I preach next? It’s not quite as simple as you might think. I try to bathe the process in prayer, asking the Lord what our congregation needs to hear from His Spirit through His Word.
I prefer to preach expositional sermons which means, you pick a book of the Bible and preach your way through it, pretty much one verse at a time. My longest series was 130 weeks in the gospel of Mark.
But you want to balance that approach with occasional topical preaching such as we did with our series on work last year. This year’s journey through “The Story” has been unique in that the entire church, all ages, was reading and grappling with the same passages.
Believe it or not, this weekend will mark the end of the Old Testament section of The Story; the book of Nehemiah. We will take a brief break for a short Lenten series on “Generous Disciples.” Then following Easter, we will resume the New Testament portion of the Story. That will conclude mid-June.
But what’s next? Here’s a peek at what we will doing in the coming year. On Father’s Day, we will kick off a summer series on “The Questions that Bug Me.” We are going to solicit questions that you would like to ask a pastor, offer a chance to engage with those questions in an online forum, and then vote for your favorites. We will preach on the top 13 questions. It will be very interactive and very exciting.
Starting in the fall, we will begin a year-long emphasis on prayer. I am convinced that we will not be the disciple-making church God is calling us to be until we really view prayer as the first, and not the last resort. I confess, I tend to rely first on planning, organization and strategic communication when it comes to my ministry… and too often, add prayer as frosting on the cake I’ve already baked.
But the Lord is convicting me that we, our entire church, need to turn to prayer first, truly convinced that it is the most important work we can do. So, in September we will kick off a preaching series titled, “Prayer… as if it really matters.”
Anyhow, that’s a peek inside our process. It might be tweaked a bit before you see the final product, but that’s the direction we are heading. Thought you might like to know.
P.S. Speaking of prayer, the Elders and Deacons are going to gather for the next three Wednesday nights at 7:00 for Lenten Prayer meeting in the Memorial Chapel. Please, will you join us.