the shape of leadership

Three Reasons to Create a Sermon Calendar

Use the summer months to plan ahead

Influence Magazine on June 21, 2018

We all know that planning ahead is a good idea. But how often do we really do it? Summer may be the perfect time to get a jump-start on some very important planning. One area you should tackle is planning your sermon calendar.

Plotting out a schedule of topics and preaching texts may not be your idea of a great time, but it can reap several great benefits. Here are just three you should consider as you think through the coming calendar:

1. It Keeps You Focused

A sermon calendar ensures you talk about what you want to talk about. What’s on your heart? What’s important to the people in your church? What is attractive to your community? And what is vital to casting your vision?

Without careful planning, you may just be guessing. But once you sit down and make a week-by-week list, you’ll start to see these things more clearly.

A sermon calendar will give you a bird’s-eye view of the coming year. You can trace beforehand how you want to evangelize, disciple, and challenge those in your church and community. It gives you a game plan to put into place instead of always running behind.

Make a list of important topics, doctrines and passages you want to cover in the coming year. Now, as you fill in your calendar, strike them off the list. You’ll be sure to preach about the things you want to talk about when you plan ahead in this way.

A sermon calendar will give you a bird’s-eye view of the coming year.

2. It Allows for Creativity

A sermon calendar gives your team time to be creative. If you’ve ever sat down in a Monday meeting and said, “I wish we’d had time to do a creative element yesterday,” you need more margin in your schedule.

When you’re planning week to week or even day to day, your team has no time to prepare for those extras that may help you better connect with your audience.

A well-planned sermon calendar gets the whole team involved. When staff members and volunteers have more time to think through the sermon topic, they can plan out the entire service with those key ideas in mind.

What songs will resonate best with the main idea? Is there a video or other illustration that helps the sermon? How can we tie in small group or family ministry with these ideas? A sermon calendar helps you get answers well ahead of time.

3. It Reduces Stress

As a pastor, you have plenty on your plate. Not having to worry about what you will speak on each week can help you get to the most pressing matters. You’ll still have to prepare, but once you know in advance the text and topic, you’re almost halfway there.

Think of how much more relaxed you would be if you had a basic sermon outline for next week, next month or even three months from now. Putting in the hard work of plotting it in advance takes off the pressure. Now you get to sit with the text, pray about your message deeply, and allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate it to you.

Planning a yearlong sermon calendar isn’t always fun. And you can probably think of other ways you’d rather spend your time. But mapping out a strategy now can actually give you more time later to do what’s urgent or necessary. Why not start today?


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