Designing Your Sermon Calendar
The ending of a year always prompts me to take a fresh look at my calendar.
What events are coming up? What series should I preach on, and when will Starbucks start serving Gingerbread Lattes? Hmmmmm…but I digress.
If you’re like me, you can get stuck spinning your wheels on what to preach and when. Here are two simple questions I like to ask to get the gears turning…
What are the biggies?
We all find ourselves preaching on the same topics regularly. I used to fight this insisting that I’m clearly in a rut. I’ve come to realize however that these topics keep coming to the surface because they’re important for my students to hear more than once. I now preach them annually.
So as a high school pastor what are some of my biggies?
- The power of our words & thoughts (this could include gossip, slander and conflict resolution)
- Defense of the faith (basic apologetics)
- Identity in Christ
- Dating, Relationships and Sex (always a packed house!)
- Prayer and Devotional Life
- The Kingdom of God
- Discovering, Developing and Deploying your gifts into ministry.
When will these messages help my students the most?
There are some usual spots to preach certain topics. Dating and Relationships will always be a win come February, and apologetics are helpful at the start of a new school year. Other topics may take more thought and prayer though. Here are some things I like to keep in mind when considering where to place a series on the calendar:
Am I going to have a lot of guests for this series or is this a slow time on the calendar? (I tend to preach the deeper stuff when we’re not getting a ton of traffic and stick to the softer topics when I know we’ll have a lot of new faces in the room).
What else is happening on the calendar? Will this series lead into a big outreach event? Will my students be returning from an overseas mission trip that month? Will our students be in school or home for the summer? All of these factors could influence where I place a series on our calendar.
There are some significant benefits to knowing what you will preach months in advance. One time I was gifted ten life-sized cardboard superheroes from a summer blockbuster. They all stood behind me as I preached on “Heroes” later that year. I told our group that at the end of that series I would give the characters away to the students who brought the most first-time guests to our ministry. We had over fifty new students join us that month. One girl brought twenty guests herself. She really wanted Spider-Man!
A youth min friend of mine asked,
“What about God in your planning process? Does he have the freedom to change up what you’re preaching?”
My answer was “Absolutely. Nothing’s in stone. But who do you think scored me those cardboard superheroes?”
ROB GILLEN is the High School & College Age Pastor at Christian Life Assembly in Camp Hill, PA and has served in student ministries for 10 years. He has his Masters in theological studies and he’s an Adjunct Professor at the University of Valley Forge. Rob and his wife Kara parent a son and two beautiful daughters.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.