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Mark Driscoll’s Preaching Secrets: Series, Length and Strategic Planning

“Come & See” Versus “Go & Die.”

“Come & See” series are intended to bring people in to the church. These are series that hit a felt need or controversy, or have a major evangelistic thrust. Real Marriage, for example, was the biggest Come & See series I’ve ever done. Lots and lots of new people came to the church, and tons of people became Christians.

“Go & Die” series are intended to mature the people in the church. These are series with a big call to repentance, life change and aligning your life with Jesus’ mission through the church. The Seven is an example of a Go & Die series. Another example would be Jesus Loves His Church, which I did after the huge attendance increase of Real Marriage, as we had thousands of new people who needed to know what a church was and why we do things like preaching, baptism, Communion, small groups and giving, and why we have leaders like elders and deacons.

“Come & See” series bring people in. “Go & Die” series mature people.

A church that only does Come & See series sacrifices size for depth. A church that only does Go & Die series sacrifices depth for size.

As a general rule, I prefer to have the big Come & See “major” campaign start in January or February, last two to three months, and then spend the rest of the year doing Go & Die “minor” campaigns. Basically, we catch the fish early in the year and clean them the rest of the year.

Series length.

Some friends of mine who are gifted preachers prefer shorter series for the sake of newness and momentum. Without disparaging that approach, I opt for longer series and longer sermons (an hour plus is normal for me).

I find that people have an appetite for whatever you feed them. If they get books of the Bible, longer series and longer sermons as their steady diet, they grow accustomed to it and develop an appetite for those things.

I do some topical series, but I really like to teach through books of the Bible, which means the length of a series depends on the length of the book. So I have no standard length for my series, but I try to find books of the Bible that fit into the annual seasonal rhythms.

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Pastor Mark Driscoll is the Preaching and Speaking pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. He is one of the world’s most downloaded and quoted pastors. His audience—fans and critics alike—spans the theological and cultural left and right. Follow his updates at twitter.com/pastorMark.