One of the best things you can do as a preacher is to create an annual plan for your preaching. There are tons of advantages to planning ahead:
- greater intentionality
- greater diversity
- more cohesive worship services
- allows you to address difficult topics
- saves and protects time
- reduces stress
- allows for deeper preparation
- heightens creativity
Here are some things that I find helpful. I typically work through books of the Bible, but many of the same tips apply to all types of preaching. You can do many of these together with your team, or alone.
- Take a retreat. I've found the payoff from a week of planning to be a wise investment of time.
- Think about the needs of the congregation.
- Think about providing a balance over the year: Old and New Testament, various genres (Law, OT History, Wisdom & Poetry, Prophets, Gospel, Acts, Epistles, Apocalypse), and themes.
- Think about the major themes of Scripture and theology. You can't cover everything in a year, but I aim to cover all the big themes over a three-year period.
- Begin to read, listen to, and pray through entire books. Absorb all that you can.
- Begin to break the book into sections, with one eye on the text (literary units) and one eye on the overall series length.
- Begin to jot down preliminary big ideas of each text.
- Begin to fill in a calendar, taking into account special days and annual rhythms.
I'm sure there's more. What tips do you have on preparing an annual preaching plan?