Questions to Help You Plan the Next Year of Preaching

Questions to Help You Plan the Next Year of Preaching

What’s one of the most used apps you utilize on your phone when you’re traveling? Some sort of map app, right? Of course. Why? Because you want to know where you’re headed and how to get there. The same should be true for your next year of preaching.

If you’ve been around Rookie Preacher a while, you know we’re advocates for planning your preaching in advance. We’ve talked about how to go about planning a year of preaching so if you haven’t read that, be sure to. But in this article, we’re going to give you some questions that you can utilize to either help you plan the next year of preaching or to help you evaluate your current plan for your next year of preaching.

My hope is to help you plan a year of preaching that will help your church grow deep and wide.

Questions to Help You Plan the Next Year of Preaching

Where do I sense the Holy Spirit leading us as a church?

This question is all about being sensitive to how the Holy Spirit is leading you and your fellow leaders within the church. You’ve probably sensed the Spirit’s tug toward a few key areas of opportunity or improvement. Or maybe you’ve sensed conviction from the Spirit of God around a certain theological or thematic emphasis your church needs to have moving forward.

Whatever it is, be sensitive to how the Spirit of God is moving.

The best way I know how to dial into the Spirit’s leading is to pay attention. Duh, right? But here’s what I mean: spend time in silence, in solitude, and in prayer.

As we are sensitive to the Spirit’s leading, we then need to plan our next year of preaching in a way that leans into the Spirit’s direction.

This past year (my first year at FCC where I get to lead), I sensed that God wanted us to understand who we are as the church. Not to mention, this was a subject I have been sensing that the entirety of the Western Church has needed to have a reawakening of. So I preached through a series called, Unstoppable: The Church and Her Mission for around twenty weeks. It was a beast of a series. But I believe God blessed it and he used it to shape our new culture in a powerful way.

This coming year, I am sensing that God wants us, now that we have been strengthened internally, to turn our attention in a greater way to our community around us. So my preaching will reflect that.

What struggles have been prominent within our church body?

One of the major jobs of a leader is to listen.

What are the struggles that have touched multiple families within the church you get to lead? What are those felt needs that seem to be overwhelming people within the church body?

One of the major struggles I noticed at the church I get to lead was in the realm of relationships. So I preached through an extremely practical relationship series called, Thrive: More Than Surviving. Every week, people came up to me and told me how helpful the message was to their lives.

Pastor, let me encourage you to not let the pressure of always preaching verse by verse through books of the Bible to lead you to never preaching topical sermon series. Your people need both. They need some consecutive weeks in one topic, especially practical ones like relationships.

Am I preparing a balanced diet?

I’m a big fan of preaching both topical sermon series and expository sermon series and I hope you lean into both as well. Why? Because I believe our people need both. Also, they need to be exposed to both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

When you make it a point to preach both topical and expository sermon series, you are setting your church body up for a healthy rhythm of learning God’s word.

What questions is our community asking?

Depending on where you live, your community may have certain things on their minds. There are certainly many things that every person on this earth, no matter their locale, have on their minds. Preach with those things in mind. But also pay attention to what is on the minds of the people in your community. Maybe your community is facing certain challenges that are specific to your area. Are there ways that you can preach with those things in mind? Absolutely.

When you preach on felt needs or when you set out to answer questions you know both Christians and non-Christians are asking, leverage those sermon series as invite opportunities. Utilize Facebook advertising. Print invite cards. Mobilize your church to be missionaries wherever they are.

What would you add?

This definitely isn’t an exhaustive list of all the questions that you could ask yourself as you are preparing a year of preaching. So what would you add? Leave a comment below, send us a tweet, or join the conversation in our Facebook group for pastors.

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Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Lead Pastor of First Church of Christ in Bluffton, IN. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.

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