With Christmas over and the New Year approaching, many pastors and ministers begin to both examine the year almost done as well as the year that is to come! I find myself doing just that — going over the past year’s bulletins, Scripture readings, sermons, and the various ministry activities to see what we did well in representing the Kingdom and on what areas need great improvement.
My goal for 2008, preaching-wise, is to continue through Luke. I started Luke at the beginning of November 2007 to try and time hitting Luke 2:1-20 during the Christmas service on December 23. I have actually schemed out the 52 weeks of the year to see where we would end up landing by the end of November (yes, November— for I customarily preach a four-part sermon series on the Incarnation of Christ to help prepare hearts for Christmas). While I fully expect to deviate from this series, such planning does help me in knowing what to study for in my reading time, as well as what to look for in life to help strengthen the sermon with relevant illustrations.
Plus, I look forward to hitting more than ‘just’ Luke (although Luke would be plenty sufficient). As I go through Luke, I notice that Luke includes a small portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Here, I could detour from Luke and do a short sermon series on the Matthew account of the Sermon on the Mount. This serves two purposes: one, to flesh out more of what Jesus said, and two, to give the people a bit of a respite from Luke in hopes that Luke will remain fresh to them and not tedious.
In examining Luke, I see that there are times when Jesus addresses Abraham, Jonah, and other prophets. I could use this time to then delve into another side series on these men or, as the case may be, on the book of Jonah. If Jesus begins to address an doctrinal area, such as the Holy Spirit in Luke 11, or the cause of suffering as in Luke 13, etc., this would afford another break, but also giving substance and teeth to Luke as well.
What plans do you have for the coming year, if any? Do you see value in planning out sermons for the entire year? Is this too long? Does planning at all quench the Holy Spirit in your eyes? I’d be very interested in your thoughts.