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4 Advantages of Advanced Planning for Sermons

advanced planning

When I served as an executive and teaching pastor in Miami, I learned the benefit of planning sermons and teaching series months ahead. I don’t mean the entire sermon completely prepared, but a specific direction for a teaching series and a general direction for each sermon within the series. The advanced planning not only helped me when I was teaching or preaching, but also helped other facets of the church.

When I served at LifeWay, I was close to research studies like this one and learned that the joke about preachers and “their Saturday night specials” (preacher lingo for sermons prepared at the last minute) is more myth than reality. According to the research, the vast majority of pastors prepare more in advance than the night before, but more than half of pastors are “less than a month out” in sermon planning.

Some find advanced planning their sermons far out impractical. Others fear it won’t allow them to address needs that arise in their churches or moments that surface in the culture because the advanced planning will unnecessarily hold them to a direction. I get the argument but because God exists above and outside of time, He can lead us months in advance just as He can lead us in a single moment.

I plan sermon series and the general direction of sermons within a series several months in advance, and here are four advantages:

4 Advantages of Advanced Planning for Sermons

1. There is more time to pray over the text and topic.

A preacher does not need to be a believer in advanced message prep to be deeply devoted to prayer. I am confident there are many who pray more deeply than I do who are not as far out in their sermon prep as I am. I have much growing to do. What I have learned is that having message direction mapped out in advance gives me more time to pray over the passage and more time to pray about the sermon.