Juggling Sheep
Welcome to Juggling Sheep, Jay Perry's blog about time management and personal productivity for pastors. Learn to balance work, life, family, and personal spirituality.

Share your best practices, tips and tricks, processes, sermon planning ideas, and resources. Feel free to email me: jaylperry[at]gmail[dot]com.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Sermon Planning - Why Plan a Sermonic Year?

I try to plan my sermon schedule out a year in advance. Every October, I get out my sermon planning notebook, a calendar of next year, a few completed sermon series planning worksheets, and my sermonic year planning checklist. For me, planning out the next year is a three month process. (A lot of this is already taken care of if you use a lectionary system).

I plan a year out for the following reasons:

1. It is a leadership discipline to think in advance.
God plans ahead (Jer 29:11). And God expects us to plan ahead (Prov 13:16; 16:9). The pastor is a leader. Therefore, the pastor needs to be out ahead of the flock, planning and setting direction.

2. It helps my sermons suck less.
There is something about planning that the Holy Spirit uses to make my sermons suck less (Prov 16:9). When I've planned ahead, I can give advance information to my music, drama, and planning teams to make each week more cohesive and excellent.

3. It balances my teaching.

I think of myself as a spiritual dietitian - feeding my congregation. I need to make sure the congregation is getting a balanced diet of theology and practical Christianity, Old Testament and New Testament, denominational distinctives and basics. If I don't plan ahead, I tend to fall back on my pet ideas and favorite topics. The whole Bible is inspired and useful... (2 Tim 3:16; cf. Acts 20:27)

4. It lowers my stress level.

If I don't plan my sermons in advance, I find myself freaking out half-way through the week trying to come up with a scripture. When I do plan ahead, I have a sense of peace knowing that I have a plan for where I'm going (and how I'll get there).

5. It helps me keep my eyes open for illustrations.
When I've planned my sermons in advance, the Holy Spirit seems to drop sermon illustrations into my lap. I'll be listening to a news story, and I'll think, "that would make a great illustration for my sermon on [blank] in three months." I'll write down the story and note it on my sermon series planning worksheet.
So much for why to plan a sermonic year. Next time, I'll write about how to plan a sermonic year.

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