Tuesday, June 16, 2009

DIY: Preaching schedules

School's out, church and school budgets have both been approved, and Nominating Committee is just about done . . .

It's time for me to make up my preaching schedule for the next year.

And no, I'm not going to do this in December --not when it's all I can do to survive the holiday season.

And yes, if I followed a lectionary, then I wouldn't need to do this. Suffice it to say, I've been there, done that, and decided to move on.

So . . . I pull out a calendar -- one that runs from July 2009 to June 2010, and start jotting down:
  • Holidays (such as Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Spring Break). Lincoln City is a tourist town, so we'll get lots of visitors on these dates -- and that means I need to be here those Sabbaths, with stand-alone sermons that are not part of a series.
  • Conference business (such as Campmeeting, pastors' meetings, continuing education, and retreats). Either I'll miss a Sabbath because of these events, or I'll miss the time I use to prepare a sermon. Either way, I'll need some guest speakers.
  • Church celebrations (such as Easter, our high school's graduation weekend, Pathfinder Sabbath, Christmas musicals, baptisms, evangelistic series, or even our church's annual ski-trip to Mt. Bachelor). Some of these come with the guest speaker already supplied; others pretty much require me to preach on a given topic.
  • Vacations and family gatherings. Our family always does Spokane's Bloomsday Run in May -- and my eldest daughter graduates from Walla Walla University next June. Add time off, my 25th-wedding anniversary, and my parents' 60th-wedding anniversary . . . okay, I'm going to need a lot of guest speakers this year!
  • Communion services. Once a quarter -- but not on a Sabbath where we'll have lots of visitors. Hmmm . . . that rules out the Independence Day weekend -- and Spring Break could also be a problem. And since I always preach from Luke's gospel for the communion service, I don't need to do much more in the way of planning here.
That done, I'm left with 37 Sabbaths that still need a sermon topic. That's why I'll spend the next few weeks asking myself:
  • Is there a big book of the Bible that deserves a long series this year? I'm thinking it's time to preach on Isaiah -- maybe next Spring?
  • How about some of the historical books from Old Testament? It's been a long time since I preached on the Exodus; maybe I should do two or three sermons about the call of Moses? And what about Ruth as an example of God's love for the gentiles?
  • The psalms always make a nice break. They're especially good for stand-alone sermons that follow a long series.
  • Anything on prophecy? I've done a fairly recent series on Revelation -- but it's been awhile since I preached on Matthew 24f. Maybe I should check the parallel passages in the other synoptics, and see what they suggest? (But no, I'm still not ready to preach from Zechariah!)
  • Don't forget the gospels! I've been noodling around with Christ's parables on prayer; I think I might be ready to do a short series on them this Fall.
  • Any topics that need preaching? Can't think of any at this point . . . but maybe I will in the weeks ahead.

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