Chapter 159

Planning for a Richer, Deeper Sermon Series

Series preaching calls for planning


How do I develop a preaching plan for a three- to twelve-month series within a Bible Book?

Paul Fredericks
Foothills Bible Church
Cave Creek, Arizona


Dear Paul:

Only with advanced planning can you preach a wide assortment of biblical material. It's hard to imagine someone tackling the Book of Jeremiah starting on a Saturday night.

Most pastors who plan their pulpit work get away by themselves for at least a week. First, they ask themselves and others, "What would we like to accomplish through preaching and teaching in the months ahead?" On the basis of the answer, they think about different Books of the Bible that might speak to those goals.

Most pastors who plan their pulpit work get away by themselves for at least a week.

On the study retreat, take your Bible and a few good commentaries on the selected Book (or Books) of the Bible. Read the biblical text several times (usually in different translations) and if possible in the original languages as well. Look for the major divisions and sub-divisions of the biblical material and determine the preaching passages and what each passage is about. It helps to give each passage a general title that summarizes its subject. Commentaries can help you nail down the broad and narrow subjects in a Book as well as help you discover what each passage is about and how it develops. You want to understand the biblical writer's flow of thought, his audience, and his purpose in writing.

Then take several sheets of paper and mark out the Sundays for the months ahead. Then put down the dates, and note any special days that are on or around each date (Labor Day, Father's Day, Mother's Day, Advent, and so on). Then plot your sermon calendar. A long series can be broken up with special days.

Even though you are preaching a series, each sermon must stand alone. (It is a rare congregation these days that shows up with the same people each Sunday. A pastor can't assume that everyone has heard the previous sermons or even that those who have will remember what was said.) It may help to give the series a title that promises what each sermon in the series will be about.

If you make out a folder for each Sunday on your calendar, you can take any material that you come across in the weeks ahead that seems pertinent and put it in the folder. If you have done enough homework so that you are familiar with the Book you plan to expound, material pops up at you that you might not have noticed. When you get down to preparing each sermon, you will often have illustrations and articles that will help you teach and apply the passages.

Planning your pulpit work gives you "simmer time" that makes your sermons richer and deeper.

Haddon Robinson

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