Long Term Sermon Planning

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Tom Bryant, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
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    I am not trying to negate the leading of the Spirit on a moment's notice. But just wondering how other pastors plan out their preaching year.

    1. How far in advance do you plan out sermon topics? 3 months? 6 months

    2. When you plan on preaching thru a book, do you just put Jan 20 - ch. 1, Jan 27 - ch 2 or do you try to put something more substantial down?

    3. Do you take a specific time to retreat to pray and plan?

    4. If you go week to week, why did you choose this?

    I don't want to get side tracked into a discussion of whether the Holy Spirit leads by the month or the Sunday or even by the sermon. I am assuming (a bad practice, I know) that we are all praying about and for our sermons.
     
  2. SBCPreacher

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    I preach mainly through books. I'm in Matthew right now, as we do a little bit at a time - 5-10 verses or so, enough to cover a complete thought. We'll spend about 100+ weeks in Matthew before it's all said and done. I know definitely about 4-5 weeks ahead (outlined out) what I'm preaching for Mornings, evenings and Wednesdays.

    I have done some topical series, but I don't start one without knowing what I'm going to do and for how long.

    I don't do a planning retreat (although that sounds nice!). I just take a few hours each week (for a few weeks) and outline the book I'm planning to teach.

    I've tried going week to week without preaching through a book, and it just doesn't seem to work well for me. I need more structure that that.
     
  3. PastorSBC1303

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    For me it depends on what else is going on in my life and ministry. I am normally thinking atleast 3-6 months ahead. I have done a year long plan, but I ended up going away from it after a few months.

    When I determine that I am going to preach through a book I will sit down and divide up the book into preaching sections. Then I will just do a very rough outline of each of those preaching sections so that when I come to it in the series I am not starting from scratch.

    For example, a few years ago I outlined Romans 5-8 for a series of messages. I am just now preaching that series. When I came to the notes I had done a few years ago, here is what I had:

    Romans 5:1-5--Results of Justification

    1. Peace with God v. 1

    2. A standing in Grace v. 2

    3. Encouragement in trials v. 3-5

    So that gave me something to start with for my sermon this week.

    When I do my planning I do not normally put a date down of when it will be preached because so many things change and then it throws off the whole preaching calendar.

    No, I haven't although I think it would be a great thing to do.
     
  4. TCGreek

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    1. This coming Lord's Day I'm starting a series on Acts 2:41-41: 7 Marks of a Healthy Church--so that's 7 Sundays.

    2. Then, for each of the 7 Marks, I'm going to devote a month--so that's 7 more months--which should take me to the end of the year.

    3. But usually I go from month to month series.
     
  5. Dr. L.T. Ketchum

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    Three Biblical Visions Necessary to Biblical Faith

    Plan your preaching each year around providing three faith visions

    “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18a).​

    Definition: “Vision,” from the Hebrew word chazown (khaw-zone’), refers to a prophetic vision revealing God’s will, attributes or character; a divine communication. God’s purpose in giving a “vision” is never for one individual to possess, but for that individual to communicate and disseminate on the widest scope of his influence.

    God is no longer giving new prophetic visions, but every Christian has 66 books full of them to learn of and grasp onto.


    Many professing Christians are converted to a philosophy called “Christianity,” (whatever that means to them) and they believe in a “God” they have learned through bits and pieces of misinformation. They do not know the God of the Bible as a reality (practically and definitively). Until a Christian comes to know that God is REAL and actively involved in our lives, that Christian will never serve God or impact this world for the cause of Christ.

    Before anyone will love the Lord with all his heart, soul and might, that individual needs a “vision” of God (understanding of God’s revelation of Himself) in three areas. He needs to know Who and what God is (Doxological Vision). He needs to know that God has a predetermined plan for the earth revealed through prophecy (Eschatological Vision) and he must know that this world is already doomed to destruction and that God is working to rescue EVERY lost soul from their ultimate destiny of eternal separation from Him in an everlasting Hell (Soteriological Vision).

    He must know that God has provided a way of escape for EVERYONE through the Cross-work of Christ. He must know that the obedient Redeemed are God’s chosen method (“go ye,” evangelism) of informing the lost of Who and What He is, of the destiny of this world and of His love and mercy in His invitation to “whosoever will.”

    http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/Pages/Faith.htm
     
  6. go2church

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    Used various methods in the past and for the most part they have worked just fine. This year I am going to preach from the lectionary in the morning worship service, finish Galatians on Sunday evening and we are working through 1 and 2 Kings on Wednesday.

    I think a plan is essential as the old saying goes; plan the work, work the plan and have found it easier to adjust a plan that is already in place when the Spirit leads in a different direction. As a good Baptist I reserve the right to change my mind, but I have been amazed how time and time again "my plan" ends up hitting all the right spots at just the right time.

    This week I taught from Matthew 2 concerning the magi visiting Jesus. Never would I have done so after Christmas, magi belong in December, or so I thought. But the lectionary highlights Epiphany 12 days after Christmas, so I taught about the magi. It just hit the right spots yesterday, people where engaged and listening, it was great. In a strange way it has re-energized by study time.
     
  7. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
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    I have seen the same thing happen when I plan far in advance.

    I am planning an in town planning retreat. There's a great state park close by. I get there early in the morning when they are opening up to outsiders, find a deserted area, open up a carry along table, and spend time with the Lord and in planning. This goes on for 2 1/2 days and I come home in the evening. If something comes up in church I am close enough to deal with it. But getting away from the phone, the computer and drop in visits from people has helped me immensely.
     
  8. j_barner2000

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    Currently, I am preaching through Ephesians. I am preaching through the prison epistles. First I outline the book into general themes (into chapter breaks, roughly). Then I break those down to more specific themes. From those I go into direct themes I can preach weekly. I do something some folk firgure is strange, but they like it. I hit the main theme o the book, then each break. I took the idea from a college text "Becoming a Master Student." You look at the big picture and zoom in on the features after that. Works well for any learning style.

    I do not set dates, but neither do I typically break to do special sermons either. (CHRISTmas, Easter, etc....)

    I began with a topical series on Bible Doctrine. Don't particularly like topical series. I am much more comfortable with a moer verse by verse exegesis
     
  9. annsni

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    Not a pastor but I can say that our pastor also loves to do books - right now we're in Romans and it should take a total of about 3 years or so to get through it (we've been in it for 15 months and we're at chapter 8), but then he does throw in other messages too when needed. This week was on spiritual hygiene for the new year and next week will be his 40th anniversary at this church (exact date too!) so he's got some surprises (so he says).

    He HAS written up a plan for what's going to be preached and by who but he's more often than not blown that out of the water about 1/2 way through the schedule. LOL! I love that about him. It's not an irresponsible thing but one where the Spirit leads him in a different direction for whatever reason and he goes with Him. :)
     
  10. TomVols

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    I do a combination. I try to have a broad sense for a year but at least 6 months. I takes some vision time every year to try to do some yearly planning, but find that what I need is some time to tweak that once a quarter at least. I do book-by-book a lot and am always in some sort of series. Yet I also utilize the lectionary especially during Easter and Christmas. Even if I'm in a "topical series" I'm always expository.

    I have done book by book planning where I sketch out the outline and texts in advance. Most of the time, I just block out the time I need and if I find I need to spend more time on a passage (or less) then I do that. The Spirit indeed must not be quenched here. I've had sermons that turned into three week series. That's what Lloyd-Jones called the romance of preaching. Most of the time I just do a rough guesstimate of how much time I need for a book and for each portion with at CIT perhaps.

    I try not to make a big hullaballo on the series, whether book-by-book or thematic. You can fall into the trap of promising more than you deliver. Plus, if you announce ahead that you're going to take six months to go through Matthew, you may turn some people off. I'd rather just march through Matthew and see what God does.

    I echo what was said about how a sermon/series that was planned eeons in advance turns out to be just what God ordered. That's happened more than I can count. Never shy away from planning. God did it - so must His servants.
     
  11. bobbyd

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    1. How far in advance do you plan out sermon topics? 3 months? 6 months
    MY ANSWER: It depends. To start the new year off i usually preach something related to goals, vision, purpose, etc and then pinpoint when Easter is. My goals is usually to plan something 3-4 weeks long leading up to Easter Sunday, and then i look at the calender for the remaining weeks and let the Lord lead me in those weeks in terms of series i preach.
    If i preach verse by verse through a book i will usually do that on Sunday Nights, on Sunday mornings i tend to favor 3-6 week series.

    2. When you plan on preaching thru a book, do you just put Jan 20 - ch. 1, Jan 27 - ch 2 or do you try to put something more substantial down?
    MY ANSWER: Itry to be more substantial, put down a date, specific passage/verses and hopefully have a title or theme on paper.

    3. Do you take a specific time to retreat to pray and plan?
    MY ANSWER: I try to set at least a day aside to plan and pray, i'll get my calender, my open Bible and a notebook. I need to start planning an actual retreat at least twice a year though.

    4. If you go week to week, why did you choose this?
    MY ANSWER: Rarely if ever, in fact, i haven't done that in a long time...except for maybe Wednesday nights, i tend to be more flexible.
     

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