Most of the preachers you admire that lead a local congregation preach in series. When I discovered how to do it, it was life transforming. Here is my process.
1. When picking the series I like to use the following acronym: PREACH.
· Preach Jesus. If you can’t connect it to the gospel and Jesus, flush it.
· Rely on Holy Spirit. Don’t start with what you have to say. Start with what He knows people need. Regular fasting and prayer (by this I mean weekly fasting) is key.
· Evaluate every series. Ask a diverse crowd not just your leaders. Don’t cry when its trash. Don’t gloat when its glory.
· Ask your congregation. One of my best series was when I asked teens what they wanted to hear. Congregational input via surveys and personal conversation gives them buy in.
Create a buzz. Print big posters and hang them on the church doors. Use social media. Email. Bulletin. People don’t come to church every week so you must advertise one month in advance. Please don’t use 90’s clip art! Titles are important: use this article as a guide http://pastors.com/improve-your-sermon-titles-with-these-four-questions-by-rick-warren-if/
· Helpful truth. If it is only one of those series will not connect. Truth that doesn’t help is just religious information. “Help” that isn’t biblical will not create change. So ask yourself: What are their needs? What are their hurts? What are their dreams?
2. Pick a theme for the year. I did this in a retreat in November. You can share with your leadership team how the sermons are structured around the theme. It’s a mistake not to have a yearly leadership retreat.
3. I always divide the year in 12 segments and include the following meta-topics: Stewardship. Prophecy. OT Book. NT Book. Doctrines. Hot/Difficult Topic. Marriage. Evangelism. Grace. Christmas. (The last two I picked based on surveys, needs, requests, concerns)
4. Sample Year: 2018 | Theme: TRANSFORMED
· January – Stewardship. It’s a great month for giving, goals. Good series can be based on the book Be Rich.
· February – Marriage/relationships. Flows with Valentine’s day. Best months for series are January - April and September to Mid-December.
· March – Evangelism. This month we usually had spring revival so we tailored series in a way that friends could invite their friends with as few cringe worthy moments as possible. What do people in my community care about? (Clue: not the same thing we do)
· April – OT Book of Ruth.
· May – Hot Topic- Did a series on sex. Church was packed both Wednesday night and Sabbath!
· June – Prophecy. Daniel is a good way to start.
· July – Guest Series- Prayer. Vacation time for me but I had guests come and speak on the topic.
· August – Bible Character- Abraham. Bold. Bad. Beautiful. Bountiful.
· September – NT Book. Philippians.
· October – Doctrine of the Sabbath. Four really good messages from different perspectives.
· November – Grace. People need grace at the end of the year when they feel they didn’t accomplish what they wanted.
· December – Christmas.
What other ideas do you have?
Roger Hernandez is Ministerial and Evangelism Director for the Southern Union Conference