I know that you have your sermon series planned out well in advance. How do you determine the book or topic of your series? What are some practical things to think about when trying to decide what to preach or teach on in the coming months or year?
Thank you for caring about preaching God’s Word and giving me an opportunity to help you think through how to do that. The Bible commands us to “preach the word,” but it does not give us a singular method for doing so.
Therefore, we lean on things like prayer, wisdom and counsel to determine what will be the best way for us to “preach the word.”
So, I will share with you what I do and some of the logic behind it, fully knowing it may not be best for your context, but I hope it’s helpful nonetheless.
Where to begin.
I start by sketching out the books and topical series I am really excited about and believe to be most timely for our people. Unlike a lot of Bible teachers, I do not see the pulpit as merely a classroom lectern. My goal is not merely to teach, but to lead the church through the pulpit. I want to consider what work God has for us next, and how to lead that effort by preaching God’s Word.
After I get a few ideas, I then take a day of silence and solitude to repent of sin, pray, read Scripture, sketch out plans and try to develop a plan for the upcoming 18–24 months.
Once my plan starts to solidify, I submit it to the Mars Hill Church executive elders for consideration. They make suggestions and help me ensure that I am under authority and getting godly counsel for the preaching schedule.
I find that the more organized I am, the better prepared my team will be to work with me. Right now, for example, I know the pulpit schedule (who is preaching what and when) for the next 18 months—and so does my team.
At Mars Hill Church, we organize our teaching around “campaigns.” A campaign is more than a sermon series; it involves linking your entire church or ministry up to your pulpit and pushing one big idea through every aspect of your church or ministry.
The pulpit is not the only piece.
Practically, this means making the pulpit a central piece, but not the only piece. It means doing some hard work to plan out how to tie your sermons into your small groups, your counseling, your events, your design, your online strategy and more. Mars Hill and I give away a lot of these resources and sell some others, if you’re looking for examples.