I love a good sermon series. When my pastor begins a new series, it’s almost like the feeling of a new year. A fresh start. A chance to look at a topic freshly, or to go through a book or passage in a methodical way that allows us to dig in a bit. And similar to a word that we may pick to designate what our new year will look like, a good sermon series will have a similar theme that runs throughout the series in order to reinforce the main idea.
Every pastor has their own methods for crafting a weekly sermon: prayer time, study time, reading time, organization time, and a time to put on some final touches. But what about a method for crafting a series? Whether you have a system in place or not, I want to encourage you with one thing to avoid when planning a sermon series.
That one thing to avoid is... Planning Alone.
Absolutely. 100%. I agree. You are the pastor. You are the one whom God has entrusted with shepherding people’s hearts and souls. With that, God has also entrusted you with the responsibility of teaching and preaching the Word of God to your congregation. That is a noble and weighty undertaking, one to be supported and encouraged. So if you are gifted with certain talents such as studying, synthesizing, and preaching, what are some gifts that others could be entrusted with as well?
- Overseeing the details
And yes, those are things that you could be skilled in as well, but you have been entrusted with preaching God’s Word. That is a task God has called YOU to do. These other talents could be handled by others whom God has gifted. So let me encourage you, let go of some control, and give it away. Years ago, my pastor encouraged me when he began entrusting me with more and more responsibility. Amazed at what he wanted me to do I asked him why he wanted me to do certain things and not him. He replied, “I have had countless opportunities to succeed, and to fail and grow. If I don’t give those opportunities of success, failure and growth to others, how will they ever grow?” Through that one conversation, I too, have had a great number of opportunities to succeed, fail, and grow in my own walk and ministry. The people you surround yourself will be grateful for the opportunity you give them.
As for creating a team to help in this process, I have seen a number of examples including churches I have been a part of and churches I have researched online. Creative Team. Preaching Team. Creative Design Team. All of these signify some type of collaboration effort that allows people to come together to dream and brainstorm ways to communicate central truths from a series to a congregation.
One idea is to create a Preaching Team. If your church has more than one pastor, then there you go. Your Preaching Team has been created. Plan a regular weekly meeting to discuss a series, the direction, the common uniting theme that will run throughout the series, common graphics that will be used to help solidify a point, etc. If you are the only Pastor on staff, then connect with Pastor’s from other churches and try and meet once a month to run ideas by. I mean why not? We are all in this together right? Let’s do this together!
Another idea is to create a Creative Design Team. Find those in your congregation that have been gifted in the arts, in design, and then, get ready for it, unleash them! Give them the creative license to brainstorm and come up with ideas that will truly hone and enhance your messages each week. Just like anything else, guide the vision to what God has placed on your heart, but let them feel free to create and honor God with their gifts.
Planning for a sermon series is an exciting endeavor. One that can be maximized by collaborating in a team environment. Let me encourage you to build that team and utilize that team and watch God work in ways you could not imagine.