Featured Image - 10 Benefits of a Preaching Calendar

2023 Sermon Calendars

Are you the person who knows you need a sermon calendar, but you just can’t ever get ahead enough to do it? You fully intend to get organized and get farther out in the sermon idea process, but then it happens… the calendar fills up, you get too busy, and it never becomes a priority. 

Maybe you are the person who already has some kind of sermon calendar, but you know it could be better. You know it NEEDS to be better. 

Here’s the thing: every pastor needs a sermon calendar (also known as a preaching calendar). 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a lead pastor, youth pastor, or volunteer pastor. The size of your congregation doesn’t matter. The age of your audience doesn’t matter. Anyone consistently preaching and teaching should have a sermon calendar. You’ll thank us later.   

In fact, here are 10 benefits of having an effective preaching calendar in place: 

  1. Helps you preach better 
  2. Easier to add people to your preaching team
  3. Avoid preaching on the same topics 
  4. Organizes you and your team toward the same goal
  5. Lowers anxiety and stress for you and your staff
  6. Gives you structured freedom
  7. Builds momentum throughout the year
  8. Provides a yearly roadmap for your entire church
  9. Eliminates last-minute sermon writing
  10. Room for creativity to blossom

You can see more details concerning all ten benefits here. If you still aren’t convinced, we have another benefit you should explore here: Why Not Having a Preaching Plan is Costing You Time and Money

The Main Objections to Using a Sermon Calendar

There are a couple of main objections that continue to appear whenever the topic of a sermon calendar arises. 

A Sermon Calendar Restricts the Movement of the Holy Spirit

The intention of a sermon calendar is not to keep God in a box or to keep a church from responding to the movements of the Spirit. 

Quite the opposite is true. 

Do you use a calendar to plan vacations, dates with your spouse, doctor appointments, etc.? We make plans every day, filling our calendar and that doesn’t prohibit the Holy Spirit from working in and through us or meeting with us. The Holy Spirit is willing and able to be involved in every aspect of our lives. Our personal calendars don’t stop Him and neither will a church/sermon calendar. It is the willingness to listen and flex, not the calendar itself that limits the movement of the Spirit.

A sermon calendar allows the spirit to speak in a timely manner, providing for more researched and thoughtful responses. Let us be clear. Creating a sermon calendar should ALWAYS include prayer. God should always be at the forefront and invited to speak into the process. Even if you use a calendar created for you, such as the calendars provided by Ministry Pass, seek God in choosing the right calendar for your church and editing the calendar. Selecting a preplanned sermon calendar without seeking the input and guidance of the Holy Spirit is never recommended.

With that said, if the Holy Spirit can convict a pastor on a Saturday night or Sunday morning, the same omniscient spirit can speak and move a week or two or even months or advance. Allowing the Spirit to speak sooner allows us, as fallible humans with limited knowledge, the time and space to research, pray, reflect, and learn more about whatever topic God wants you to bring to your congregation. It allows time to listen to God with intentionality and complete attention. 

It doesn’t mean that the Spirit won’t move on Sunday morning; if He does, listen! But it does mean that you don’t have to put God in a box, believing that He can only speak in the moments leading up to or during a sermon.

Jude 3 - Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people.
Jude 3 – Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.

The words of Jude in Jude 3 are often pointed to as a case for not planning your preaching ahead of time. However, a closer look reveals that while Jude had a plan and the Holy Spirit changed that plan, we miss the importance of the fact that Jude had a plan. Yes, Jude was flexible and changed his plan to meet the needs of God’s plan, but Jude wasn’t just sitting there and waiting for God to give instruction; Jude planned with an open hand and willingness to shift if God desired him to do so.

A Sermon Calendar Makes It Difficult to Address the Current Needs of a Given Week

What happens when you have a well-planned and strategic calendar and overnight the world changes? A pandemic, a shooting, a death, or other tragedy. 

First, it is pretty amazing how God often sets us up for these times without us having a clue. If you’ve taught in ministry for any length of time, you can probably look back to a time when there was a plan, whether it was a sermon series, a small group lesson, or a special event, and you had no idea just how appropriate and applicable it was going to be when the time came.

Second, there are a number of ways to address a current event, depending on the impact it has on the congregation. Sometimes a slight adjustment to the introduction or the welcome is sufficient. Other times there might need to be a shift in approach, but the bones of the sermon still work, and because you have prepared in advance, you have time to process emotion, listen to what others around you are saying, and address those thoughtfully in the sermon. 

There will be times when the plan has to be completely tossed out the window, but these rare occasions do not negate all of the value that comes from having a prepared plan that can be used 99% of the time.

Planning Shows Appreciation for Your Team

Even if you lead a small church, every pastor relies on a team. Someone prepares for and leads the small groups or Sunday school classes. Someone leads the worship. Someone prepares the communication pieces. These might be staff members, volunteers, or a combination of both. Either way, they are valued team members who (hopefully) desire to complete their tasks with excellence. 

Planning a sermon calendar doesn’t just take pressure off of you, it serves the entire team. Your small group leaders can prepare questions ahead of time. Your worship leader can prepare songs based on your sermon. The media team can create cohesive series graphics, and sermon slides can be prepared throughout the week and not during the dark hours of a Sunday morning. 

When you plan a sermon calendar, you show that you care enough to know what your staff and volunteers do each week and appreciate their time, work, and effort. It shows you see and value them as a person and not just a tool at their disposal.

Calendar Planning Tools

A lot of you are probably in the category of pastors who have some sort of sermon calendar already, but you know it could be better.

Helpful sermon calendar planning tools for busy pastors like: Excel, Word, Evernote, Sheets, Basecamp and more!
Helpful sermon calendar planning tools for busy pastors like: Excel, Word, Evernote, Sheets, Basecamp and more!

That would make sense considering the results we saw in a recent Ministry Pass survey. What we found was this: 

45% of pastors use a spreadsheet tool to manage their preaching calendar

  • 37.9% use Microsoft Excel
  • 7.1% use Google Sheets

32% of pastors use a word processing tool to manage their preaching calendar

  • 26.1% use Microsoft Word
  • 6.2% use Google Docs

7% of pastors use a note-taking app to manage their preaching calendar

  • 4.3% use Evernote
  • 2.4% use Notes App

In our survey, 16.1% of pastors answered “other” and then listed the following tools which they use for managing their preaching calendar:

  • Paper Calendar
  • Apple Numbers
  • Apple Pages
  • OmniOutliner
  • OneNote
  • Lectionary
  • Planning Center
  • Outlook
  • Google Calendar
  • iCal
  • Big Desk Calendar
  • Basecamp
  • White Board (hope no one erases that)
  • Trello

All of these tools can be used to create your sermon calendar. The key is not the tool itself, but rather that the tool is used and organized in a way that works for you.

Ideally, your calendar should be easy to access and share with others. The ability to share your sermon calendar with the various teams in your church will allow them to plan and support the sermon in a way that last-minute planning would never allow. 

If you have not selected a planning tool of choice, Ministry Pass has created a free Excel template built with everything you need. You can download the template here.

Planning Your Sermon Calendar

Whether you use a tool like Ministry Pass to help plan your calendar or you craft it yourself, there are a few key steps to the planning process.

Assemble a Team

Although, as the lead or senior pastor, you are responsible for driving the vision of the church and have the final say on what is preached on a Sunday morning, it is prudent and healthy to surround yourself with a few key leaders who not only understand but embrace the vision of the church. 

Allowing trusted leaders to speak into and give feedback on the sermon calendar provides an opportunity for others to share insight on the felt needs of the church that need to be addressed. 

A team also allows for creativity, accountability, and the ability to use the various giftings God has granted to each person on the team. 

The team will also feel a greater sense of ownership which generally leads to a higher level of excellence in their corresponding roles and tasks. 


Prayer before, during, and even after the planning process is the single most important step in the process. Continually allowing God to speak into the process allows the creation of a calendar that will anticipate future events that only God knows are coming. God knows the one person who will be in church on that Sunday in June who will need to hear that one specific message. Allow God to lead and guide the entire process.

Group of pastors praying together as they plan their sermon calendar.
Take time to pray personally, and with your team! Pray before, during, and after the planning process.


Take a look at the past few years. What topics have been addressed regularly? What topics or sections of scripture have taken a back seat and need some light this year?

Select Style and Strategy

We will address these in detail later, but what preaching style(s) do you plan to use in the coming year? Selecting this will determine the driving force of your calendar planning. Do you prefer to select topics and align scripture with the topics? Or choose a section or pattern of scripture and let scripture define the topics? A combination of both? Do you want to follow the lectionary calendar? No answer is right or wrong; it only matters that you know your strategy before getting started. 

Adopt and Modify or Create from Scratch?

Of course, building your calendar from scratch, starting with a blank slate, just you and God, is an option. Some pastors thrive in that process, and it fuels their souls. If that’s you, go for it! 

For many, the thought of planning a year-long calendar is daunting and overwhelming. Not just the idea of creating a plan but the amount of time it takes. Especially if you are a bi-vocational pastor. This is where a pre-planned calendar that allows you the ability to edit to meet the unique needs of your church community is a blessing. These calendars provide a starting point and fuel creative ideas while allowing space for the Spirit to speak and save enormous time compared to building from scratch.

Sermon Calendar Types

So you recognize the benefits of a sermon calendar at this point, now the question for you is this – what type of sermon calendar is best for you and your ministry? 

Do you typically preach straight through books of the Bible? Maybe you preach on a topic, then mix it up with a few weeks on a specific passage? Perhaps you do a bit of both? 

Not to worry. Whatever your preaching style, we’ve got you covered! 

We brought together some of the best sermon calendar types, including options for fully-planned series throughout the year, right here for you. The categories we’ll explore together are as follows: 

  • The Topical Sermon Calendar
  • The Expository Sermon Calendar
  • The Lectionary Sermon Calendar 
  • The One Book in One Year Sermon Calendar
  • The Kids Sermon Calendar
  • The Youth Sermon Calendar

SIDE NOTE: In some traditions, another preaching type, unique fro+ m the ones listed above, is often referred to as “textual preaching.” We haven’t found any examples of a textual sermon calendar or noticed a difference significant enough to justify creating our own here at Ministry Pass. We think any pastor that would say they are a “textual preacher” will probably be able to find a home using the models of either the Topical or Expository Sermon Calendars. See for yourself and then let us know what you think at https://ministrypass.com/pastors-assistant/.

In this article, we will walk through each one and provide insights and examples.

The Topical Sermon Calendar

Most people in a church will recognize this type of sermon or preaching style without any explanation. For this type of calendar, we are talking about a sermon series based around a particular subject matter, idea, or, as the name says, “topic.” It could be a series on a subject like healthy relationships, focusing on issue like bullying, or a theme like courage. 

The topic determines the sermon’s big idea, and scripture is applied to support the sermon’s idea. In each case, you make known the Word of God on a particular topic that you feel your adult or youth audience needs to hear.  

This type of calendar can be helpful for the church that preaches topically year-round, most of the year, and is even applicable to the preacher who just occasionally uses this style to meet specific local needs or address a national (or global) issue.  

Themes that Often Fall Under A Topical Calendar

While scripture may not have particular sections dedicated to a specific topic, scripture has lots to say about those topics. A topical sermon series will challenge you to examine what the breadth of scripture has to say about a given issue and then triangulate God’s Word into an authoritative sermon.

For example, Jesus did talk about money — a lot! However, no book of the Bible is dedicated to talking exclusively about money. Thus, a sermon series on money would be considered a topical series, and the sermon series would look at all of the different places in scripture, including the Gospels, where money is discussed.

From there, you would put together a series that addresses the key discipleship principles relevant to your congregation.

Ministry Pass has several sermon series that are built this way. You can look at them as an example.

Examples of topical sermon topics.
Preaching topical sermons mean you’re covering issues addressed throughout scripture, even though entire books of the Bible are not dedicated to those topics. Topics like, marriage, money, forgiveness, anxiety, parenting, unity, and generosity.

Other topics that might fall under a topical sermon series calendar:

  • Marriage
  • Unity
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Ready-to-Preach Topical Sermon Calendar

The topical preaching style is one of the most available calendar styles and often comes with an entire year’s worth of prepared sermons and series ideas for you to adopt.  

This is such a popular and accessible style of sermon calendar that Ministry Pass produces a new version every year to offer inspiration, insight, and a starting point for pastors to consider as they build their own topical calendar.

The Expository Sermon Calendar

When preaching through a specific book of the Bible, or a particular passage in the Bible, and addressing the subjects in the text you are likely using an expository preaching style.  

John Piper talks about this style in this preaching class on Desiring God. Here he does not explain expository preaching as verse-by-verse preaching, or where a pastor takes one verse at a time each week. Instead, he highlights expository preaching as “getting meaning manifestly out of biblical passages.” He then makes a few points to clarify this style which we’ll summarize for you here in two points:

  • The structure and the logic of the text will govern your sermon structure (what you say) though it doesn’t have to be identical in what you say. (It doesn’t have to be a robotic repeating of the text alone)
  • Your congregation needs to clearly see where you got your points from in the passage. 

Lifeway Research also outlines four persuasive elements found in expository preaching (or expositional sermons) in this article

If you want to explore this style in more depth, you might like the Hello Church! Podcast on: Topical vs. Expository Preaching, which highlights the benefits and pitfalls of both styles.

Whether this is the dominant preaching style in your ministry or you mix it up with topical series, this type of preaching may find its way into your sermon calendar. 

Here’s the essence of expository calendars: 

Each week focuses on a section of scripture. Each section of scripture has a context that needs to be addressed, a theme or idea that can be drawn out, and a point that can be applied to the current lives of individual believers. 

The Ministry Pass Expositional Sermon Calendars have a 52-week book-by-book roadmap for pastors. For example, in the Volume 4 Expository Calendar, there is a 5-week series on Galatians. During the series, you are equipped to help walk your congregation through the importance and theological relevance of Paul’s letter for our faith and life today. Specifically, it looks at the sweeping vision of grace that Paul lays out in this letter.

Ready-to-Preach Expository Sermon Calendars

Ministry Pass produces a new Expository Calendar every year. Each of these calendars is fully customizable, allowing pastors to mix and match from different calendars or add in a completely different series if they wish to do so.

The Lectionary Sermon Calendar 

Lectionary preaching is observed by many different denominations and churches. Even if that isn’t you, there may be something about the lectionary calendar worth checking out. 

A lectionary is an organized way to preach through the Bible based on the seasons of the year, with scripture readings pre-determined by a church’s denomination. 

The preaching style follows the seasons according to themes, concepts, and special days throughout the calendar year. For example, if you attend a Lutheran or Presbyterian church, you will likely hear the same portions of scripture read within the different churches.  

Lectionary calendars typically follow a traditional rhythm for teaching and worship, honoring centuries-old traditions in corporate worship services. These calendars preach the whole narrative of the Bible with honesty and conviction and connect your congregation to the entirety of the Scriptures.

For further exploration, watch this video from Hello Church! All About the Lectionary Calendar

There are different types of lectionaries followed by different churches and denominations, and if you want to learn more, we recommend you check out this article.

In 2021, MinistryPass released a Lectionary Sermon Calendar based on the important events in the history of the church. As stated on our 2021 site: 

“From Advent to Easter, Pentecost, and beyond, you can help your church stay rooted in rich traditions as you preach through this calendar.

The Lectionary Calendar is a 52-week preaching plan based on the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). The RCL is a three-year cycle of weekly Bible passages built around the church calendar. Each year begins at Advent and continues through the Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost seasons.” 

The Revised Common Lectionary 

The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) is a three-year cycle of weekly lections or liturgical readings.

Definition of the Revised Common Lectionary, or RCL.
A lectionary is an organized way to preach through the Bible based on the seasons of the year, with scripture readings pre-determined by a church’s denomination.

The RCL is built around the seasons of the church year and includes four lections or readings for each Sunday. On most weeks, the readings are from the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible), a Psalm, a reading from the Epistles, and a Gospel reading. During the Easter season, the Old Testament reading is usually replaced with one from the Book of Acts. 

The seasons of the church year are meant to reflect the life of Christ. Consequently, the gospel readings for each Sunday provide the focus for that day. The other scripture readings for a given day generally relate to the gospel reading for that day, although this is not always the case. 

The gospel readings for each year come from one of the synoptic gospels according to the following pattern:

Year A – Matthew

Year B – Mark

Year C – Luke

Readings from the Gospel of John can be found throughout the RCL.

Ministry Pass has calendars available for all three of the Lectionary years. Year A begins with the advent series, The King Has Come and concludes with an 8-week series on readings from Pentecost entitled Endure: Pressing On Towards Christ.

The One Book in One Year Sermon Calendar 

While this sermon calendar may be less common, it is no less powerful. Preaching an entire book of the Bible over the course of an entire year may sound ambitious and constricting, but it can be liberating!

You, along with your church, get to study how the Holy Spirit guided the authors of the book, which is an amazing experience.  

Think about the people you love spending time with most, your spouse and your kids. Do you get bored with them the more you spend time together? Or do you build a deeper and stronger relationship as you get to know new things about each other and create memories together? The same is true as you spend extended time in a book of the Bible or with a smaller section of scripture. 

This type of sermon calendar could take either an expository or a topical approach. Or a combination of both. 

Preaching through an entire book, verse by verse, can force pastors to preach through hard scripture or stories that would usually be skipped. It is an unfortunate truth that most people get most of their Bible knowledge and engagement from church. When an entire section of scripture is taught in detail, a congregation may be exposed to portions of scripture they might not otherwise ever encounter.

One of the most difficult aspects of preaching through a book of the Bible for a whole year may be choosing which book to immerse yourself and your congregation in for such an extended period of time. Genesis is packed with stories and lessons. Or maybe preaching through a gospel would be best? 

The Book of Acts has many parallels that strongly correlate to the world we live in today. You can read in detail about preaching through Acts in this article.

Ready-to-Preach Book of the Bible Sermon Calendars

While creating your own calendar is certainly an option, it can be a time-consuming endeavor.

Ministry Pass has put together several calendars based on single books of the Bible to get you started.

  • Acts – This series examines the remarkable spread of the gospel and the kingdom of God from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria to the ends of the earth.
  • Matthew – This series will allow your congregants to respond wisely to the kingdom’s message.
  • Exodus – This sermon series will help your congregation understand that God is stronger than our weaknesses and bigger than our deficiencies.

The Kids Sermon Calendar

Calendar planning for Children’s Ministry is just as important as planning for adults. Maybe more so, as a well-planned calendar allows time to equip volunteers on the content so they can lead their groups and classes well. 

The Children’s Ministry environment is vital to creating a space kids want to visit that stimulates excitement and creativity. A space where happy memories are made. Did you know that fun presses the record button in the brain? We remember the things we enjoy or associate with a happy memory.

All of this requires advanced planning and preparation.

Children praising God during Sunday morning kids church.
Approach your children’s ministry with a plan. Ministry Pass offers year-long sermon series calendars designed specifically for children’s ministry!

Case for a Children’s Ministry Curriculum

While a case can be made for following the teaching calendar of the larger church, any seasoned Children’s Pastor can tell you that isn’t always possible or ideal. A number of concepts are taught and should be taught in an adult environment that is not kid-friendly or appropriate. 

Many churches address the need for a Children’s Ministry calendar by purchasing a curriculum. And there are many exceptional curricula available for Children’s Ministry. However, most are costly and created to either meet the needs of the church the writers belong to or are stretched to try and meet the needs of as many churches as possible.

But each church is unique, and each church will likely have to tweak the curriculum to meet the needs of the individual church. Things like slight theological differences, length of service time, the number of groups meeting, the age ranges, or a desire to create different experiences for different service times often require the pre planned curriculum to need some editing.

Considerations in Choosing a Curriculum

The budget is the first thing a church will likely need to consider in choosing a curriculum. Most curricula are based on the size of the ministry, so there are some cost savings for smaller churches, but a high-production curriculum may still be too costly for smaller churches to consider.

Other key considerations are:

  • Theology – Does the curriculum align with the teachings of your church? Many popular curricula are created by various denominations, so it is natural that the denomination’s theology will be present in the curriculum. Researching the curriculum creators and denomination affiliations will ensure choosing a curriculum that aligns with the theology of your church. There may be weeks where some editing needs to take place, but those weeks should be few and far between.
  • Philosophy of ministry – Is it the goal of your church to have all ages reading directly from the Bible each week? Does your church aim to be seeker friendly? While some curricula stay in the area of easier-to-grasp concepts, others seem to provide a seminary degree for volunteers. There is no right or wrong answer, but be sure to research curriculum options to ensure they align with the church’s overall philosophy of ministry. 
  • Environment – What type of environment are you hoping to create? High energy? Lots of crafts? Large group? Small group? A combination of both? Different curricula will be stronger in different areas, so be sure to choose one that emphasizes the type of environment that aligns with your vision.
  • Teaching style – Does the ministry perform live-action skits and storytelling or use video-based teaching? Make sure the curriculum provides either scripts or videos based on the needs of your ministry.
  • Ministry alignment – Parents often comment they love when the entire family can converse about the lesson on the drive home from church or during a meal. Some curricula align preschool through high school. If this is a priority for your church, ensure the curriculum you choose offers lesson plans for all ages.
  • Volunteer capacity – Does the church have volunteers to help with material prep? Are there gifted actors, storytellers, or worship leaders with a heart for kids? Before selecting a curriculum, make sure you have the capacity to pull off the weekly plan and preparation.

A Flexible Children’s Ministry Calendar Option

Churches that subscribe to Ministry Pass will find the plan includes calendars for Children’s Ministry. These calendars are not only budget-friendly (because they are already included!), but they allow for all of the flexibility needed to meet the needs of an individual church. 

With the ability to edit calendars, churches may choose to adjust the Children’s Ministry calendar to align with the large church’s teaching schedule where possible and choose age-appropriate series where necessary.

For example, a church using the Ministry Pass Expository Calendar, Volume 5, could modify the Children’s Calendar, Volume 5, to do the kids’ version of the series How to Read the Bible along with the adults. 

With editable graphic files included, creating a fun and themed space for kids is easy.

Each week includes a variety of approaches for the scripture passage, allowing churches to teach the scripture in a way that best suits their vision and philosophy and adapt the lesson to fit a wide range of ages.

The Youth Sermon Calendar 

Leading a youth ministry has its unique challenges. There is a vast difference between the mind of a pre-teen and that of a graduating high school senior. The teen brain is undergoing an immense amount of growth and change. It is fascinating learning; if you’d like to read more, check out this article.

While this doesn’t directly tie to church and theology, it is critical to keep in the forefront of your planning the way God uniquely designed this stage of a teen’s growth and development. Teen brains are completely rewiring, making them very open and susceptible to new ideas, thoughts, concepts, and emotions.

Youth ministry and quote about opportunity to pour hope, morality, and theology into growing minds.
Youth ministries have a unique opportunity to pour hope, morality, and good theology into growing minds and hearts.

As a youth ministry, there is a unique opportunity to pour theology, hope, and morality into growing minds. Since teenagers are capable of thinking much more abstractly than kids, youth ministry can shift away from story teaching and begin to teach the more abstract principles of who God is and not just what God has done.

Instead of primarily doing book studies or single-character lessons, youth ministries can do topical series that introduce students to a variety of characters, books, or both. For example, instead of teaching for a month about Moses as a Children’s Ministry might, youth ministries can teach on self-doubt, using the passages from Exodus to highlight God’s mercy and grace when we feel anxious or face doubt. The same sermon could also point to Gideon and tie concepts from the passages together.

While it may be easier to align sermon series with adults and youth than with adults and kids when designing a youth sermon calendar, it is important to keep in mind the current felt needs specific to youth. Topics that should be regularly addressed include:

MinistryPass wants to help you grow your student ministry to new heights. We know that a youth sermon calendar can help you be intentional about the content and concepts you teach teenagers over a 12-month period. 

That’s why we created a 52-week series and event roadmapfor youth leaders, creating intentional series to meet the unique needs of youth today.

For example, the 4-week series “Who Am I?” helps youth connect to the deep inner struggles of identity and inner pain that many Christians throughout history and biblical characters have endured. Identity is a huge issue. Teens are presented with infinitely more categories than previous generations, and there is a sense they need to know themselves right away. The resulting inner confusion and chaos feel out of control. How are teenagers supposed to know who they are? Rather than didactic lessons, this series explores the stories of those who have walked through struggle and yet continued to be held by the hand of God. Maybe God didn’t take away their questions, but he did walk beside them.

It’s Not Too Late To Start Planning

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, it’s not too late to plan a calendar. Maybe it’s summer, and you can create a plan for the Fall semester. Or maybe it’s October, and you can plan for the holidays. Creating a plan will let you accomplish more in your week, allow more time for family, and show your appreciation for your team.  

Every year Ministry Pass creates a free sermon calendar template in Microsoft Excel that can be used to start your annual sermon calendar. Whether you are a Ministry Pass member and are using it to fill in the series recommended in our sermon calendars or not, you can download this template and customize it to suit your needs.

We hope this information has been helpful, but there are two crucial things you cannot miss. 

iMac Mokcup

Excel Calendar Worksheet

Plan a year’s worth of sermon series in advance with this simple, but powerful spreadsheet!

Get started this week. 

The worst thing you could do is to let overwhelmed feelings cause analysis paralysis and delay drafting a sermon calendar. Do not put other ministry priorities or well-intentioned ministry opportunities ahead of getting a good system in place today. 

Remember: every other aspect of your work and ministry will feel the cumulative impact and blessing of your putting in place an effective sermon calendar for this year. The old saying “a rising tide lifts all boats” is particularly true for a preacher with an effective sermon calendar. 

Getting started may be the hardest step and when you look at the process as a whole it may feel intimidating and overwhelming. We’ve broken to process into seven manageable steps to help simplify the process and allow you to get started right away.

  1. Determine your team and invite them to the process.
  2. Look at your work calendar and schedule some time to spend in prayer about where God wants you to lead the church. Consider getting out of the office and going to a location that inspires you or where you tend to feel closest to God. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak!
  3. Schedule one to two hours on your work calendar to review the sermons you have preached over the last two years. What do you notice about the themes and topics that were covered? What is missing or not as well covered as you would have liked? What’s the balance of the Old and New Testaments? 
  4. Select your preaching style. Which type of calendar or calendar(s) do you want to utilize?
  5. Determine how many Sundays you plan to preach. Make sure you plan Guest Speakers into your calendar now. You may not know the who right now, but put placeholders in your sermon calendar to ensure you will have the time off and rest you need to be restored and lead well.
  6. Schedule your planning sessions. The amount of time needed can vary, but we would recommend planning at least one full day or two half days. Invite your team, and plan for lunch to be ordered in. Don’t forget to have your computer open to Ministry Pass and print out calendars or series that you may consider using. 
  7. Solidify and share the calendar with key staff and teams.

You are not alone. 

Whether you pastor a large church or a small one. Whether you are starting a youth ministry, or you’ve inherited a small group. Your ministry effectiveness and your individual joy (along with that of your staff) will grow from an effective sermon calendar. As you’ve seen above, there are many great tools, tips, and options to get going. 

You’ve also seen that many of these options come with amazing sermon ideas for this year! Depending on your context and specific situation, you may need the MinistryPass membership so you can be equipped with not only sermon series and ideas, but all of the high-production value graphics, videos, small group notes, and other multimedia. Whatever the case may be, know that you are not alone to figure this out. That others, including us at MinistryPass, have been called to help equip and provide sermon ideas, series, and support for you. 

Whatever your ministry context and situation, we praise God that you found this article today and we pray that it blesses you and accelerates your effectiveness through a new sermon calendar today!

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Bring Christmas to Life Again

Fresh Ideas to Connect Christmas with Life

101 Christmas Sermon Series Ideas

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Bring Christmas to Life Again

Powerful and Relevant Illustrations Connect Christmas with Life

Christmas Illustration Ideas Mockup iPad

22 Fresh Advent Sermon Series Ideas for Christmas 2021

Inspiration to Breathe New Life to the Traditions of Christmas