Do you feel like you’re stuck? Are you in survival mode? If you’re ready to stop feeling like you can’t make forward progress with your preaching and discipleship at your church, this episode is for you!
If you feel like 2020 has lasted forever, good news! You’re almost to Thanksgiving, which means the year is going to fly by from here on out! We all know that once you get to Thanksgiving there’s nothing but busyness. But all that holiday cheer comes with a down side- you don’t have a lot of time to plan for next year.
You don’t just want to work in ministry (no matter how busy you are), you want to work on your ministry. So if you’re looking to regain the momentum you’ve lost this year, you have to be intentional about your approach. As John Maxwell says, “An unintentional life accepts everything and does nothing. An intentional life embraces only the things that will add value or add to the mission of significance.”
You are on a mission of spiritual significance. So as you look to next year, it’s time to be intentional about your schedule and what you’re preaching about. Our sermon calendars will help you see the bigger picture so that you can rise above the daily overwhelm and start working toward intentional goals for your ministry. Our calendars just hit the Ministry Pass site- you can click here to check them out!
In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss how using a sermon calendar can help you and your ministry in 2021. But before we start, remember that this is a process. If anything good is going to happen, it will come out of a lot of hard work and an intentional plan. In other words, if you don’t take time to plan and work toward your goals, you’re going to set yourself up for failure.
We never want to discount the work of the Holy Spirit, but a lot of times God chooses to work miracles through intentional planning. One of the ways that our preaching calendars can help is by letting you envision where you want to take your church. So instead of saying, “Oh, I’m going to be preaching on this topic this week,” you can look at the year as a whole and think, “Okay, where do we want to go throughout this year? What series should we highlight during these different seasons?” With a sermon calendar, you have a roadmap for how to get where you want to go.
The unfortunate truth is this: if you don’t have a plan for how to reach your goals, you’re never going to reach them. That’s why having a sermon calendar is so important.
Another advantage of having a sermon calendar is that it allows you to bring other voices to the table without losing momentum. Whether your guest speakers are missionaries, church elders, or other pastors, you can assign them a week and say, “Here’s the topic, and here’s your message.” That’s really helpful for someone coming in to teach, and it guarantees that you’re working together, as a team, toward the vision of the church.
If you wait until the last minute to get a guest speaker, you’re probably not going to get a guest speaker. If you try to book a guest speaker without a plan, you’re also running the risk of disrupting the momentum you’ve been building with your preaching. Having a plan helps you be intentional about bringing more voices to the table while never missing a beat.
Our team has created over 1,000 sermon series, but we’ve created these calendars and chosen the series very intentionally. If you use one of our calendars, it’s designed to help you ride the natural waves of momentum throughout your calendar year, all while providing you with a balanced discipleship and content strategy for your year. It’s more than content- it’s a plan to help your church thrive and grow.
With those goals in mind, we’ve created six types of sermon calendars this year. Every denomination is different, and pastors approach their sermon topics from a different angles. That’s a beautiful thing. We don’t believe there’s “one right way” to do church. Different method speak to different people! So instead of forcing everyone to fit into a specific mold, we wanted to be able to resource what makes each church unique.
As an example, we have our Expository Calendar, which focuses on going deep with certain passages and topics. It highlights series like “Ten,” a ten-week series on the ten commandments, as well as seasonal topics like Lent and Advent. We also have our Topical Calendar, which is based on different topics and focal points throughout the year. It’s just as deep as the Expository Calendar- because all our series are based in Scripture- but has a different approach. As always, we’re not giving you manuscripts- we’re giving you a guide, illustration help, and research and background get you going in the right direction.
We also have a topical Youth Calendar. The emphasis for 2021 is really owning your faith and embracing Christ, not just adding Him as one more thing in your life, but making Him everything. Our topical Kids’ Calendar actually follows our adult topical calendar, so your kids ministry will be talking about the same subjects as the parents are hearing in service. Obviously, everything is translated so that kids can understand it, but it’s a great tool for helping parents disciple their kids.
This year, we’re also introduing two new calendars- the first is less of a calendar, and more of a 52-week sermon series. It’s a chronological look at the gospel. It’s called “The Gospel Story,” and it’s a year-long journey through the Bible. We’ve also created a Lectionary Calendar this year. In our next episode, we’ll be talking more about it, but it follows the church calendar year. It’s based on the Revised Common Lectionary, Year B. You don’t have to belong to a denomination that follows the Revised Common Lectionary to have a really great experience with this calendar, because it’s a balanced, rhythmic approach to telling the whole story of the gospel.
Our hope and prayer for our sermon calendars is that they not only provide a road map, but that they give you that much-needed vision for your church’s spiritual growth- whether you use our calendars as-is, make substitutions, or use parts of all of them!