One of the things that many pastors fail to do when it comes to their preaching is to plan well. I have talked to many pastors on a Tuesday or Wednesday, even Thursday and they have no idea what they are preaching on this weekend. I remember meeting with one church planter who told me, “I told my wife this morning, I have to think about what I’m preaching on for the next 2 weeks because Josh is going to ask me today.”
I remember a mentor telling me that “someone pays the price for the sermon. Either the church pays the price for having to listen to a pastor who is poorly prepared and unsure of what they are saying, or, the pastor pays the price by being prayed up and prepared for the preaching the sermon.”
As a pastor, one of your main roles is preaching. It is one of the best ways you lead your church. In many ways, it is one of the engines of your church. Notice I said one of, not the engine. You need to place a higher priority on preaching, give more time to it.
For me, I think in terms of the calendar year. Each church is different, but our church has a definite lull from thanksgiving until January. We have a lot of singles and couples without kids so attendance drops over the holidays. Each summer, I think through the coming calendar year. I ask for ideas from our church about topics or books of the Bible they’d like to hear, see if there is a commonality. See what our leaders think. Try to get a handle on what I feel like God is calling us to on my own.
This past summer on my preaching break I felt like I needed to spend the time reading through 1 & 2 Peter each day. Not sure why at the time, but decided to do it. At the time, we were planning to spend all of 2012 in the book of Romans. We had a ton of stuff for it. After one week I told Katie that we would start 2012 in Peter. I can honestly say that after 2 weeks into these rich books, it is exactly where our church needs to be.
Now, what about planning. By planning 6 months in advance, I’m able to write a study guide. Mike is able to work through devotional questions and family devotional questions. I’m able to read something in a leadership book that has nothing to do with Peter and find a great quote. This doesn’t happen without planning. Study guides and devotionals take weeks and months to put together.
You also need to have a good file system for quotes, notes, articles, blogs, etc. I use evernote because I can easily sync stuff with google add-ons. Michael Hyatt has a ton of stuff on evernote, which is a treasure trove of information for leaders.
Bottom line, as a pastor, you need to plan your preaching. Your church deserves it. Don’t fly by the seat of your pants. Do the work, pray up, listen to the Holy Spirit and plan ahead.