How to Create a Preaching Calendar

For those who may not be familiar, a preaching calendar, in its simplest form is just a calendar in which you’ve written down what you’re preaching about each week for the next year. It’s an incredibly useful tool for pastors, and in this post I’m going to share with you its benefits and how you can create one of your own.

In the early days of the church I serve, my pastor would preach what we would call stand-alone sermons. There was no rhyme or reason from week to week. It was just whatever the Holy Spirit placed on his heart.

We eventually realized stand-alone sermons weren’t the best option for our church, concluded that the Holy Spirit wasn’t limited to week to week, and switched to series based sermons. In my opinion, it was one of the biggest catalysts of our growth.

If you’re still on the fence, you can check out this post I wrote about four reasons sermon series work.

A few years after switching to a sermon series model, we heard about the idea of creating a preaching calendar.

Here are a few reasons why a preaching calendar makes sense.

  1. It ensures balance. Most pastors tend to have certain topics or even scriptures that they love to preach on. For my pastor, the topic is evangelism. Without a preaching calendar, there’s a good chance he would preach on evangelism forty weeks out of the year. He wants people talking about Jesus, which is really important, but there are a lot of other topics we need to talk about as well. A preaching calendar helps you see the big picture and helps to maintain balance in your preaching.
  2. It helps with planning. Try your best to invite a few others to help you plan your calendar. Getting others involved takes the pressure off you to come up with 52 different sermon ideas. It also creates buy-in from those you involve, and they become more invested. A preaching calendar also gives your creative team time to find or create graphics, plan worship sets, and all those other little things they get frustrated with you about.
  3. You preach better sermons. My wife served ribs last night she had been cooking in the crockpot all day. They were fantastic, but how do you think they would’ve tasted if she had just thrown them in the microwave for 15 minutes? Not as good, right? This same concept can be applied to your preaching. The longer you have to think on a message, the better it will be. We’re no longer giving the Holy Spirit just a few hours to work. We’re giving the Holy Spirit days and even months to bring thoughts and ideas to our mind. It’s a better process and creates a better result.

So, when should you start creating that calendar? About six months ago, but since we don’t have a time machine, as soon as possible. Set a date, invite a few others to join you, and don’t leave the room until you have a preaching calendar for the next year. Good luck!

Do you use a preaching calendar? In what ways has it helped you? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

Four Thoughts on Christmas Services

It’s so hard to believe that it’s already December. Where did the year go? It seems like just a couple months ago we were celebrating Easter and the resurrection, and now we’re getting ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Before I share with you my thoughts on Christmas services, I want to encourage you to slow down during this season. Spend time with your family. Spend time with your church. And most importantly spend time with Jesus.

Now I would not consider myself a Christmas expert, but I happened to be born on December 22nd, and legend has it, that I was brought home from the hospital in a Christmas stocking just like Jesus was.

Just kidding!

I have to write just kidding because there’s a multitude of people online who have no sense of humor, would take me seriously, and then comment about my terrible theology. I can only hope that they receive coal in their stockings this year and every year hereafter.

But let’s not focus on them. Let’s focus on you. What are you doing this year for Christmas?

Potluck? Special singing? Children’s Christmas play?

The options are endless, and depending on who you ask, what you choose could make or break your church.

Some pastors are saying that Christmas has become a bigger outreach opportunity than Easter.

My children would agree. They get more excited about celebrating Jesus’ birth than His resurrection, and I’m sure it has nothing to do with the amount of gifts they get on each occasion.

But, what should you do? I have some thoughts…

  1. Tell the Christmas Story. Not the one with the leg lamp, the one with the virgin birth of the Savior of the world. People never get tired of hearing that story. I understand you’ve preached it every year for the past ten years. Preach it again. Get creative with it. Tell it in a different way. Tell it from the sheep’s standpoint.
  2. Keep it Traditional. If you’ve been following this blog for very long, you know that I’m not a fan of tradition. Except when it comes to Christmas. I already encouraged you to stick to the Christmas story. I also want to encourage you to sing Christmas music like Silent Night, Angels We Have Heard on High, Little Drummer Boy. Don’t be afraid to play all the hits. This is the one time of year you can get away with it.
  3. Include the Kids. If you’re a smaller church in a small town, find a way to involve the kids in the service. Let them sing a song, read a scripture, dress up like a donkey. Whatever it takes to get their family to invite others to come see them. This is a great way to boost your attendance. Keep in mind, as your church grows larger, it’s going to become harder to do this. So, don’t start something you’re not able to stop. I’ve given you fair warning.
  4. What about the Day? Do what works best for your church. If your people expect and will show up to a Christmas Eve service, offer one. If they won’t, then don’t. Do it on a day they will attend. In the church I serve, we avoid having services on December 24th and 25th. Why? Because people are celebrating Christmas at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s on those days. So, we’ll have church services on the 23rd or the 22nd, or anytime other than Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But “Church Growth Expert” said we should maximize Christmas Eve. “Church Growth Expert” doesn’t know the culture of your community. You do. So do what works best for you.

What do you have planned for this Christmas? What day will you be having services on? Let us know by leaving a comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.