Ever felt this way? It’s Friday or Saturday, and you need a message for Sunday. As communicators, the biggest challenge we face is creating relevant and creative messages 52 weeks a year. And sometimes the inspiration or preparation is lacking.
How amazing would it feel to get ahead— to know what you were going to preach in 2 weeks, 6 weeks, or 6 months?
What if you were able to be strategic about what you communicated and when you communicated it?
What if you took Sundays off at the right times, and preached your best sermons on your biggest weekends?
PLANNING A CALENDAR STARTS WITH PRAYER.
Proverbs 16:3 (ESV) 3 Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 19:21 (ESV) 21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
PLAN 4-6 DAYS OF SOLITUDE - 2 TIMES ANNUALLY (suggested)
1. PREACH A THEMATIC CALENDAR
Plan the topics you want to preach at the most strategic times. Don’t overthink it. January = Fresh starts, February/March = Relationships, April = Gospel, etc. Themes don’t have to be based on holidays; maybe you want to launch a church initiative, using a calendar would allow you to be strategic about the content you present before and after the initiative. A preaching calendar helps you think “seasons” instead of weeks.
2. PLAN FOR REST
Mark the weekends with the most potential impact. Second, mark the weeks you will not preach. There are several factors to why you should plan on taking a few Sundays off: Vacation/low attendance, the conclusion of a series, vacation with your family, just to name a few. By using a preaching calendar you know before the year starts what Sundays you will have off. My personal goal is to preach 42 out of 52 weeks a year. I will still be in attendance most of those days or preach at another church, but I can be strategic about when and why by looking at the year as a whole instead of week to week.
3. SHARE THE PLATFORM
If you know when and what you’re preaching, and why you’re preaching it, it’s much easier for you to decide the most strategic times to platform other communicators on your team. For example, by using a calendar and knowing all the holidays (major and minor) in advance, you know specific Sundays you won’t be speaking. With that knowledge, you can inform your team members months in advance, and they can know what sermons are being preached before and after them. They appreciate having extra time to prepare.
4. COLLECT RESEARCH AND STORIES
Since you know the general topics you will be preaching over the upcoming months, your antenna can be up for any articles, videos, or stories that relate to your sermon. Use Apps like Evernote and keep a folder on your computer called “stories/Illustrations, ” At anytime you can find anything that could be helpful since you saved it to that folder with tags. You can also be strategic in your book reading and underline anything that could potentially be helpful.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO HELP YOU MAKE A PLAN:
1. USE BROAD STROKES
You don’t have to know specifics about your sermons right now, but you can know topics or themes you want to address. Don’t get caught up in the details, zoom out.
2. BE STRATEGIC / CALENDAR RHYTHMS
Your church has a rhythm to it, every church does. Go back and look at your stats, and you’ll probably find certain months where attendance is up, and certain months when attendance is down. Plan around holiday weekends. Plan multiple weeks off during summer months (or whatever times your attendance is historically low). (I take most of my time off from preaching during the summer)
3. THINK THEMES / SEASONS
Certain times of the year have certain natural themes. Capitalize on them. Talk about relationships in February, Family/Generosity in November, Season of Change in January, etc. It’s not an exact science, but there are a few seasons where topics resonate more than other seasons.
4. GET CREATIVE ( YOUR TEAM WILL LOVE YOU )
Planning far enough out gives you the chance to involve others in the process, and gives you time to get the creative juices flowing. Find videos, write scripts, and plan any special songs along with your series. Your team will thank you for the advanced heads up. Also, as you read the paper or the Internet save articles or research that might be helpful because you know you’re preaching about that topic soon.
SAMPLE: Reverb’s Annual Preaching Calendar 2018
Spiritual Disciplines - Theme
#Gains - 6 week’s Series In Philippians Note Sun, Jan 7, 2018 - Sun, Feb 11, 2018
#Gains Vision Day 2018 - Final Philippians Sermon Sun, Feb 11, 2018
Expansion, Evangelism, Community - Theme
Occupy All Streets - 6 Week’s Series Note Sun, Feb 18, 2018 - Sun, Mar 25,
Good Friday 7P Fri, Mar 30, 2018
Easter Experience - Sat, Mar 31, 2018 - Sun, Apr 1, 2018
Marriage & Relationships - Theme
Real Marriage Series - 6 week’s Note Sun, Apr 8, 2018 - Sun, May 13, 2018
Pulse - Indy Sermons based on the Pulse of the Church Sun, May 20, 2018 - Sun, Jun 3, 2018
Holiness - Theme
KillJoys - The 7 Deadly Sins Note Sun, Jun 10, 2018 - Sun, Jul 22, 2018
Why We Exist or I Love My Church - Vision Series Note Sun, Jul 29, 2018 - Sun, Aug 12, 2018
At The Movies - 5 weeks - FALL KICK OFF Sun, Aug 19, 2018 - Sun, Sep 16, 2018
Jesus Plus Nothing - 6 Weeks Note Sun, Sep 23, 2018 - Sun, Oct 28, 2018
Generosity & Holiday Theme
This Is What We Do - 4 Weeks Note Sun, Nov 4, 2018 - Sun, Nov 25, 2018
Christmas Sermon Series Sun, Dec 2, 2018 - Sun, Dec 23, 2018
Christmas Experiences Sun, Dec 23, 2018 - Mon, Dec 24, 2018