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TWEAKING SERMON PLANS

November 8, 2009 1 comment

For several years now I have been scheduling my sermon topics a year at a time. I’ve found there to be several benefits of this practice, which I have discussed in a previous post. What I’ve also learned is that sometimes the plan looks better on paper than it plays out from Sunday to Sunday. Over the years, lessons have been learned and adjustments have been made in order to avoid the potential downsides to sermon planning.

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Here are a few lessons we’ve learned about sermon planning:

  1. Sometimes something needs to be addressed that’s much more relevant to the audience than the topic that was planned months before. When this situation presents itself, the only reasonable thing to do is to break from the schedule and speak to people’s situations.
  2. I’m a fan of sermon series. However, one year my sermon plan included several series running concurrently. For most of that year we were preaching a series of sermons on Sunday morning and a different series on Sunday night. We found that to be too confusing, and since then have decided to preach only one series at a time.
  3. Our Bible Reading Plan this year has caused me to wonder if a good approach to planning sermons might be to reserve Sunday nights for text-based studies. I’m thinking that when our Bible Reading Plan is complete at the end of next year, I might plan in 2011 to preach on relevant topics on Sunday mornings and dive into various texts on Sunday nights.
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HI. I’M DANIEL, AND I’M OCD.

October 9, 2009 2 comments

Sometime in the last quarter of each year, I take a week or so to schedule the upcoming year’s sermon topics. For an organization freak like myself, this time is probably way more enjoyable than it should be. I like to think that in addition to the pure enjoyment I receive from it, planning a year’s worth of sermon topics ahead of time pays off in other more important ways. Here’s a few reasons why I believe a planning week each year is well worth the investment of time and energy.

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  1. It pays in BALANCE. A sermon schedule helps to ensure that I preach lessons on a broader range of topics and texts. Without a plan, I feel that there would be bigger gaps and less focus in my preaching.
  2. It pays in EFFICIENCY. I don’t have to waste Monday and Tuesday trying to figure out what I’m going to talk about on Sunday. I can use that time in actual study and reflection, since I already know what I’m going to talk about.
  3. It pays in MINIMIZING STRESS. There’s nothing worse than getting done preaching on a Sunday night and having no clue what you’re going to talk about in 7 days (except, of course, having no clue the night before you’re scheduled to speak). It’s a good feeling to get done on Sunday night and be able to relax, knowing that you have at the very least a clear idea for next Sunday’s sermon(s).

Well, these are a few of the reasons why I am a fan of sermon planning weeks and would recommend that other preachers give it a try. You may not enjoy the planing week itself as much as I do, but you might in the end share my appreciation of its benefits.

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