4 Steps to the Best Sermons

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Scheduling, series and sermon planning is one of the "biggys" for the church. It's one of those things that we have to get down because so much of what we do rises and falls on the church calendar and scheduling.

That being said, for years I've suffered through trying to get it all "right." I've tried different systems, different wall calendars, and software. I've tried to get the calendar scheduled on Google calendars and a whole bunch of other things.

A few months ago, I had what I kinda think was an epiphany. I figured out a way that I could see the entire thing all at once and move leaders and staff through the thought process. Over the next few posts, I'm gonna be breaking these down more.

Here's a quick outline of what we've come up with:

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1. Yearly church calendar. Each year, the teaching team and department heads and I sit down and outline a calendar for the year. This calendar includes all of the "Big Stuff" we'll do over the year.

2. Sermon series calendar. Once we have holidays and big events on the calendar, we start planning out series. I'll talk more about how we do that later in the series.

3. Sermon series outline. We set dates, main points, and main scripture for the entire series.

4. Sermon outline. We've come up with a system of outlining a sermon that seems to work well with people's way of thinking, attention spans, and application. We'll break that down later too.

We'll start with No. 1, the Year Church Calendar:

The first step to more powerful sermons is the year church calendar. For I don't know how long, I struggled with scheduling church events.

No calendar system really seemed to be good at keeping everything we as a church needed it to do. I wanted something that anyone could add too, but anyone could see what everyone else was doing as well.

What we came up with a couple of years ago is an old-fashioned wall calendar. Every year at our beginning of the year teaching team retreat, we map out the important dates (holidays, what we know is big times for kids, students, etc) and start with a fresh calendar.

If you look at the picture, you can see that there are different colors of masking tape with stuff written on them. Each color corresponds to a different ministry in the church (kids, small groups, outreach, entire campus, etc.). When we sit down at the beginning of the year, we color code those events so we can see what important dates are coming and when we need to lay off of scheduling anything else.

We work really hard to be sure that we don't tire out the staff. You have to take care of them! Those are important people! For example, around Easter we schedule absolutely nothing else. We know that our staff and volunteers are going to need max effort for ministry and family. So we schedule around that.

From this yearly calendar, we start scheduling out sermon series, but more on that soon.

Does your church have a system for this?

Artie Davis wears a lot of hats and leads a lot of people. He's a pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Orangeburg, S.C. He heads the Comb Network and the Sticks Conference. He speaks and writes about leadership, ministry, church planting and cultural diversity in the church. You can find his blog at ArtieDavis.com or catch him on Twitter @artiedavis.

For the original article, visit artiedavis.com.

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