The preaching ministry of a pastor is important – far too important to simply plan on the fly. That is one reason why I am a huge proponent of planning my preaching calendar well in advance. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider it as well.
1- It takes the stress out of trying to decide what to preach each week.
The biggest stress I had when I first became a pastor was trying to decide what to preach each week. Since I had no real plan, I had no framework to help guide that decision-making process.
By planning my sermons a year in advance, I never have to wonder what I will preach. My preparation may take me in a little different direction than I anticipated, but I have a starting point, and that makes all the difference.
2- It helps you provide the church with a balanced spiritual diet.
One of the dangers of not planning your preaching in advance is that you unknowingly preach only one genre, one or two main doctrines, or only from one Testament. While those messages may be great, the church needs to hear from both the Old and New Testament on a regular basis. They need to be challenged from different genres of Scripture.
Planning your preaching in advance allows this to happen.
3- It forces you to think about the entire church’s yearly activities as they relate to your preaching.
If you attempt to plan your preaching in advance without planning your church’s activities calendar in advance, you will be continually frustrated. If you don’t know what events and activities your church is planning, it is very difficult to plan your preaching to coordinate with those events.
4- It helps your preaching ministry to remain proactive instead of reactive.
As a general rule, it is always better to be proactive rather than reactive. I believe this is true in preaching as well. Proactive preaching means you have a spiritual end goal in mind and each week you preach a message that moves your church toward that goal. It is deliberate and intentional. It is your road map that takes you toward your intended destination.
5- Since you know what you will be preaching in the weeks and months to come, you can be on the lookout for illustrations, stories, and resources that can help you drive home the truth of God’s Word.
The best sermons are the ones that have time to simmer – they are not usually thought up one day and delivered the next. They are thought about, prayed over, discussed, studied for, researched, planned, and then thought about some more. Planning your preaching well in advance allows time for the upcoming messages to ripen into the spiritual food your people need.
One Common Objection
Some people have objected to this concept by saying that such planning eliminates the possibility of the Holy Spirit guiding the pastor in his preaching ministry.
But this is not at all the case. The mistake they make is assuming that the Holy Spirit can only guide the preacher in the week leading up to when a sermon is preached. I happen to believe that God can use the Holy Spirit to guide the preacher in the planning process, even if that process takes place a year in advance.
Do I ever deviate from what has been planned? Occasionally, but it is rare. I am continually amazed at how well messages that have been planned months in advance are used by the Holy Spirit to address needs or events that I had no idea would exist.
Give it a shot. I think you will see the many benefits that will come as a result.