Rick Warren
How much balance is in your sermons? (Rick Warren)

Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing his reflections and practical insights as a ministry leader on Greenelines, a new podcast. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.

Hopefully by now, you’re already thinking through your preaching calendar for next year. Part of shepherding a congregation toward long-term health is offering a balanced diet from the pulpit. Your preaching over a 12-month period should be pre-planned with certain factors built in.

Before a new year begins, I try to identify eight to 12 series that I’m going to do for the year. Balance is what I’m looking for most. There is no way I’m going to be able to use all of the themes that I come up with, but I want to be balanced. And I want to look at several factors as I seek that balance.

First, I want to be balanced in content. That means I need to do a doctrinal series, a relational series and an ethical series. I want to strike a balance between Old Testament and New Testament. And I want to preach to people at various stages of spiritual growth.

Second, I want to have balance in terms of style. I may do a character series, such as a series on Moses, Joseph or Joshua from Hebrews 11. I may also do a series on the life of Christ or events from His life, such as His miracles or His parables. I might also teach through a book of the Bible, like James, Philippians, Peter, Proverbs or Ecclesiastes.

Third, I like to have balance in tone. This is very important. First Corinthians 14:3 speaks of having a balance between building up, firing up and holding up. It’s out of balance to spend your whole year preaching in any one of these tones exclusively. All comfort and no challenge produces a soft congregation. And all challenge and no comfort produces a worn-out congregation. I’ve found it helpful to identify the emotional stance of each message before sharing it. It has more impact when you know what feeling you’re going to produce.

And fourth, I want to balance the five purposes of the church. Always remember that there is a corporate aspect in preaching. As we preach to move individual people along spiritually, we are also moving the church along. So I always try to preach a series that relates to evangelism, another to fellowship and relationships, another to worship or prayer, another to discipleship or being more Christlike, and another to serving and ministry.

Look at some of the series we’ve done at Saddleback in the last three years, and you’ll see that these factors are intentionally balanced:



2013 (so far)

Also remember not to worry about preaching a rerun. You can never preach the same message twice because you’re different and your hearers are different. Fifteen percent of Americans move every year, so you’re preaching to a parade. And any message worth preaching once is worth revising and preaching again.

Proverbs 21:5 says it best: “Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind” (MSG).

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times best-seller The Purpose Driven Life. His book The Purpose Driven Church was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Lyndon Johnson

    63-Year-Old Law Still 'Threatens' Churches, Pastors

    Read why this law is so dangerous to the kingdom culture.

  • Churches with less than 100 members possess a sense of potential that is alluring.

    The Great Value of Churches With Under 100 Members

    God can and does use small churches in significant ways to advance His Kingdom.

  • Explorers require significant input.

    How to Receive Clarity When Torn Between Choices

    Decision making is risky without guidance from the Holy Spirit.

  • A dark cloud hangs over the 61 "deplorables" in Congress.

    Inauguration Day and the True Deplorables in Congress

    "To opt out of participation in this festival of the democratic process is to say publicly that ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • A new path is opening now.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Opening Doors for Kingdom-Minded Businesses

    Find out how to activate this prophetic word of increase in your company.

  • The future of your ministry could depend on how you answer these questions.

    5 Questions You Will Answer in 2017

    The future of your life, ministry and church will be determined by the way you address these.

  • Decision-making

    Always Involve These Factors in Your Kingdom Decision-Making

    Failure to make the tough choices, when needed, can limit the growth and even viability of our ...

  • Local congregations are called to become Christ-like in their methodology, mission and essence.

    10 Traits of the Jesus-Driven Church

    If we attempt to walk in these, we will leave a powerful imprint on the world around us.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders