Over the past decade, one of the seismic shifts in the life of the pastor—at least in Pentecostal circles—has been the rise of the preaching calendar. Leaders, long known for their Spirit-prompted messages had traditionally resisted such organization, believing such planning to be for those who had lost the desire to “hear from God” for their congregation’s weekly nourishment.
Today, preaching calendars are becoming more common—not as evidence of abandoning the desire for Spirit-empowerment, but in recognition that God can and does guide such a process as well.
By definition, a preaching calendar seeks to establish a plan for sermon themes, often weeks or months in advance. Such preparation allows for drama, media, music, and other elements to be added to a message to further enhance its communication. If you’re planning your sermon on Saturday night, it’s a bit challenging for your creative friends to contribute their parts!
But the advantages aren’t just in the possibilities of all the peripheral pieces. Pastors who use a preaching calendar usually indicate less stress in their preparation, better-studied messages, and more effective time management. Since many who prepare “week-to-week” report that up to half of their prep time can be consumed with deciding what to preach, a plan that provides that answer can make quite a difference.
For some, the million-dollar question is, “Can God really guide my sermon prep process if I develop an annual plan?” Sure, there may be something exhilarating in living on the Saturday night edge, but planning further ahead doesn’t mean God’s voice is ignored. In fact, many pastors who build a six-month or annual preaching plan take days away from their office to meet with God and hear His voice for the upcoming months.
Building a plan also allows the pastor to bring better balance to his content. Those who plan week-to-week can easily fall victim to a random use of Scripture. Since many people don’t attend Sunday school or participate in other ministries, the pastor’s message is increasingly their primary spiritual diet. Add the fact that many small groups use pastor’s messages to guide their discussions and you can see why a balanced diet would be valued.
So the value of a preaching calendar has many facets. But how do you do it? Join us next week, and we’ll help you with the practical steps.