The sermon calendar.

It’s a world of possibilities and opportunities, but it can also be a world of stress and writer’s block. Every year, a few other staff members and I sit down to fill in the calendar. We usually do 6 months at a time. We’ll sit down in October to plan January through July of the following year. We’ll then have another planning day somewhere in March to get August through December filled. We always start with the obvious high seasons of the church year and then fill in around them. Christmas, Easter, fall, and early spring are high leverage times of the year, so we want to begin with those. Inevitably, though, there are gaps in the calendar.

You know what I mean.

Those one or two week spans that scream to be filled. If you typically preach sermon series, these weeks are the ones that just couldn’t get filled in based off of the calendar. So, what do you do? You put the words “stand alone” in the date and then move on. The problem? Those stand-alone dates eventually have to be filled as well. When it comes time to plan what to teach on those days, it can feel overwhelming because you don’t want to duplicate a sermon topic that’ll fall around that date, but you also know you have no Sundays to waste. You know that every Sunday is an important one even if nothing “fits” into the calendar.

sermon calendar - sermon topics
The sermon calendar inevitably ends up with gaps. The gaps need to be filled. But with what?

 

There is certainly no shortage of sermon material. Let’s be honest, we could preach our entire lifetimes and never even scratch the surface of the entirety of scripture. Once you get through the age-old stories of the Old Testament and talk about creation, God’s faithfulness, and the need for a Savior, you can turn to the New Testament and preach about the life of Jesus and the spread of the church.

There’s no shortage of sermon topics in scripture to preach, however, sometimes it can still feel like we’re out of ideas, can’t it? It can feel like we’ve preached that before and talked about that story in the past. So, what do you do when you’re stuck? I think you have to return to what works and what has the most impact. The fact is, there are themes in scripture that are discussed in such a variety of ways, they’re always worth revisiting with a new character, story, or book.

A Sermon Planning Starting Point

In addition to addressing the gaps in your sermon calendar where you have a week here and two weeks there, this is also a great starting point when you’re thinking through your initial sermon calendar planning.

When you are preparing to get your team together in the Fall and Spring for sermon planning, send these sermon topics to them ahead of time and encourage them to come to that meeting with ideas for each topic.

Here are 6 sermon topics that you can find in virtually every story and certainly every book in the Bible. These can serve as ideas for individual sermons or as sermon series.

6 Sermon Topics You Can Preach Anytime

Faith – a go-to sermon topic

Almost every story in scripture has an element of faith in it. No matter how you’re struggling with sermon topics, faith can be a go to. As you search for something that resonates with you in the area of sermon topics, read through the Bible with an eye toward the faith of the characters involved. There are many great examples of exceptional faith in God in the midst of life’s situations. From Moses to Abraham from Peter to Paul to Stephen, faith is a common element and a perfect sermon topic.

If you feel like you’ve preached it recently, revisit it from another perspective. What did the people around Abraham see in his faith? How did the people around Peter respond to his faith? What was God’s perspective of the people that walked in faith?

A Faith Sermon Series

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Romans

Romans: Discovering the Foundation of Our Faith
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Prayer – one of the best sermon topics to preach

No matter your specific theology on prayer, it’s always a worthy sermon topic. Whether you want to talk about the importance of prayer, the results of prayer, the role of prayer, the role we play in prayer, the role God plays in prayer, or just about anything else, prayer is always a great sermon topic.

What makes prayer an even greater sermon topic is that people want to know about it. It’s something we all need to get better at and it’s something many people get nervous about doing or confess they don’t do enough.

When it comes to preaching through the sermon topic of prayer, there are countless passages, characters, and stories you can walk through. From the Psalms where the Psalmist speaks directly to God, to the prayers of Jesus, there’s always passages to turn to. People listen when they know you’re giving practical preaching on the topic of prayer.

A Prayer Sermon Series

prayer sermon series

The Prayers of the Psalms
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Discipleship / Devotional Life – a great “equipping” sermon topic

One of the things I’ve observed while being a pastor is that a lot of people simply don’t have Bible reading in their life except what they get on a Sunday morning. As people are beginning to go to church less and less, that amount of scripture is becoming less and less.

When you’re stuck trying to decide on a sermon topic, why not preach on the importance of growing as a believer? You could preach from a host of New Testament scriptures about becoming more mature in the faith. You can also get really practical as you talk about the how to’s of having a regular devotional time. This is also a great time to be transparent as a preacher and talk about how you personally grow as a believer and hear from God. Be real about what your devotional time looks like as well.

Another plus to this topic is it gives you a chance to talk about the opportunities you have as a church to help people grow and develop as disciples. Whether it be concentrated around launching new Sunday School classes, small groups, or membership classes, people always need to know where to go in order to grow.

A Discipleship Sermon Series

Spiritual Habits

Spiritual Habits
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Relationships – a sermon topic that we all need help with

Relationships are important. We’re created for relationships with God and each other. To be honest, though, none of us have relationships figured out. I think that’s why relationships are a sermon topic always worth revisiting.

Ask anyone in your congregation and I’m sure they’ll tell you there’s some sort of relationship they could use some help in. Whether it’s a spouse, a child, a parent, a friend, or a coworker, we all could use more advice and understanding from God’s word.

The great thing? the Bible is a book about relationships. Our relationship with God is a good starting place, but there’s also tons about general relationships and relationships within the family. When you’re feeling stuck about a sermon topic, find a relationship passage. You could look at the good relationships of the Bible or the ones that didn’t go so well. The thing about preaching about relationships is we can never assume people have healthy ones. Always begin by connecting with your audience through your own challenges and strengths and it’ll resonate more with your congregation.

A Relationships Sermon Series

after the rose - relationships sermon series

After the Rose
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Salvation – a can’t miss sermon topic, of course

This one seems obvious, huh? To be honest, though, many of us kind of put this one on the back burner when it comes to sermon topics. Sure, it may be a part of our conclusion every week or we may talk about it on the big holidays like Easter and Christmas, but salvation is often a topic we just overlook.

A perfect time to visit this sermon topic is before or the week of a baptism. It makes sense, but many churches just add baptism to their service and fail to make salvation and baptism a big part of that week’s message.

This is another sermon topic where you never want to assume anything. In all reality, the world is becoming less aware of what salvation really is in a Christian context. It’s important that we’re clear and handle the Gospel with careful attention. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to preach the same passage every time you visit this topic, but be sure you aren’t spinning a passage that doesn’t work for the sake of mixing it up. When it comes to the topic of salvation, clarity always trumps cleverness.

A Salvation Sermon Series

The gospel

The Gospel
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Unity – Jesus prayed that we would have it

God talks a lot about unity in scripture. In fact, He also speaks about his distaste for those who cause disunity. In my experience as a pastor and leading teams, disunity is the thing that can destroy what God’s called you to do faster than about anything. Why not teach on it more often?

One of the common places (and perhaps the best) to preach from when talking about the sermon topic of unity is to talk about the early church. They sold literally everything they had to meet each other’s needs and the needs of those around them. Talk about a contrast from many churches today!

Unity is a great topic too because there’s always a rallying of sorts within the church when the topic is discussed. Don’t just preach about unity when there seems to be disunity around your church, but preach it regularly either from the standpoint of, “Look what we did because we’re unified,” or “Caution!”

A Unity Sermon Series

1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians
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A Final Word on Your Sermon Calendar

Hopefully, you don’t find yourself staring at a blank preaching calendar with a feeling of panic. If you do, though, just start somewhere with a few large topics and as you break them down, your calendar will begin filling up.

And remember, we’re here for you at Ministry Pass. We have pastors ready to come behind you and provide you with top-notch sermon research and creative media.

Start your free 14-day trial today.

Want More Sermon Topics?

Check out our Ultimate List of Sermon Topics.


Jonathan Pearson is the Connections Pastor at SpringWell Church in Taylors, S.C. Jonathan is the co-host of the Next Up Podcast and author of Next Up: 8 Shifts Great Young Leaders Make (June 2014) and the upcoming book Be the Switch. He is married to Melissa and has a son named Riley. They live in Greenville, S.C. Find Jonathan online at JonathanPearson.net.