In this episode of Productive Pastor I am going to walk through a year-round sermon preparation calendar. So many folks ask me how they can find the time to get ahead in their preaching, and this is the best way I can think of. The first few parts of it are more production oriented and the last half is very specific about sermon preparation.
- 7 Must-Do Items for a Church Growth Calendar.
Don’t roll your eyes over the title. Think of it as a church engagement calendar. I stumbled across this post earlier in the week and have slowly been reading and letting it sink in. There is tons of great information and ideas here.
- How I work 40 hrs in 16.7 (The Simple Technique That Gave Me My Life Back).
I referenced this in an earlier episode, but didn’t have access to a shareable link. Well here it is. If you want to have better control over your time…this is the way.
Creating a Sermon Preparation Calendar
Many times I hear from people about their desire to have more time to plan and prepare ahead in regards to preaching. This episode I want to share with you a way you can create a whole year vision for preaching, stay on top of things AND still have time for the rest of ministry.
Remember, the things we feel we don’t have time for are often the things we don’t have the time to NOT do.
Once a year take a few days to think about the next year of preaching. Get away for a few days by yourself or with anyone else who teaches at your church. Bring along whatever you think will be helpful. I usually bring my journals from the year, my bible (duh), a few interesting books that have impressed me and a single volume commentary. Also, bring any demographic resources you might have, survey data AND a record of the last couple of years of preaching.
This will help you prayerfully discern the direction your preaching could take for the next year. Often, as soon as this is done it works great to have a brain-storming session with the larger Sunday morning ministry team.
Think of the ideas you have had a couple of weeks out from a Sunday that could have been easily accomplished if you would have had the time. We have all had them…and they usually end in regret because the only thing stopping us is time.
One of the benefits of planning in advance is being aware of what is coming up. If you plan out…you will find these moments of inspiration strike when you DO have the time.
The quarterly meeting is where you can talk about the environment, the schedule for preaching series and the details that allow all of your teams to be working on Sunday. As far as the preaching goes…it helps you begin to develop trajectory, the specific passages and the intended response.
At the monthly level preparation starts to get a little more personal. I take 1 day a month to do this. I focus on the sermons I am preaching for the current month and I prepare ahead for the next month by creating evernote folders and printing out sermon worksheets for each Sunday.
The art of being aware of what you are preaching will help you so much.
The best thing to schedule each week during your preparation time is a few hours to devote to the future. That will help you get just enough traction to jump into things quickly. I then schedule my preparation time each day and devote it to a specific task.
When I create my evernote files, I add the passage I am preaching to the top of each note. Every day during my devotional time I read the current week’s passage and the next weeks passage.
The best way to always have the time to be working ahead in sermon preparation is to build in time to be aware of what’s coming up. Your church, your teams and yourself will appreciate the effort.
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