One of the biggest sources of stress for a pastor is deciding what to preach each week. If you’re preaching stand-alone sermons each week, I would ask that you prayerfully consider switching to a sermon series format for your preaching. I believe there are tremendous benefits to this switch, four of which I outline here.
But you still have to decide what sermon series you’ll be preaching throughout the year. Don’t stress, here’s the three types of sermon series we use.
- Attractional – The main purpose of an Attractional series is to bring new people into your church. To do this, your sermon series should address a topic people are already talking about in their daily lives.
The three topics we’ve always seen attract a large number of guests deal with marriage, family, and money. So, we make sure to work this into our preaching calendar each year.
We’ve also seen success with series like:
At The Movies– We take a movie and design a message around it. We serve popcorn, cokes, and give away free movie tickets to our first time guests.
Redneck– This works particular well if you live in the south, especially with the success of a show like Duck Dynasty. We used this I Am Second video to set up one of the weeks, which worked really well.
Walking Dead– We did this series for Easter a few years back when the show Walking Dead was just starting to blow up. It was one of our biggest Easters ever. We talked about how we’re all dead in our sins until we allow Jesus to breathe new life into us.
Some people say Attractional series are too shallow. I say you wouldn’t throw someone who can’t swim into the deep end of the pool, so why do you want to do it with unbelievers? Give them a chance to get their feet wet first. It works much better.
- Growth – The main purpose of a Growth series is to help your congregation take steps to grow them closer to Christ. In our church these series focus on spiritual disciplines, serving, small groups, giving, and evangelism.
We are very strategic about when we do these series to maximize impact. For example, we will do a short series on evangelism every year right before Easter. At the beginning of the year, we may focus on spiritual disciplines. After the start of school in the fall, we will do a small group push.
Some examples of Growth Series we’ve done in the past include: I Love My Church, You Got Served, Go & Tell, and Red Letter Prayers.
- Balanced – The main purpose of a Balanced series is to fill in the gaps that your Attractional and Growth series missed. These series focus on the topics or felt needs of your congregation that you haven’t had the opportunity to touch on yet.
Some of the topics we’ve used in the past include how to deal with stress, how to deal with disappointments or loss, how to have more hope in your life, etc.
We’ve also used Balanced series to concentrate on a single book or person in the Bible. We’ve preached sermon series around the book of Job, the book of James, and Paul’s letter to the Phillipians, among others.
Hopefully this gives you an idea on how you can start setting up your preaching calendar for next year. We typically do three to five of each type of series throughout the year, but feel free to adjust to the needs of your church.
Do you use a preaching calendar? What are some series that you’ve found have worked well in your church?