Help! I’ve run out of sermons —  October 6, 2014

Recently I got this question from a pastor:

“How can I keep my preaching fresh after being in a church for 4-5 years

and having exhausted my “stock pile” of sermons?”

Believe it or not, most pastors will hit a wall at one point of another, and struggle to keep their sermons fresh, current and engaging. I’ve hit that wall before. As other wall hitting events will demonstrate, it is not fun. So, what do we do?

  1. Why is it happening?

Usually pastors that run out of sermons have one or more of these issues:

  1. Too busy to read. Leaders are readers. When I go through a dry spell a good book will spark ideas for a series or a sermon. I don’t copy the book, but it points me in a good direction.
  2. Margin-less life. Nothing sabotages your creativity faster than margin-less existence. When you are running from morning to evening, it shrinks your ability to think outside the box and come up with applications and illustrations for your messages.
  3. Lack of a sermonic year. Probably at least half of the churches I attend do not have a sermonic year. That means the vision is short-term and when busy season happens, instead of concentrating on developing the sermon you already know (that is half the battle) you start searching for one and before you know it, Friday evening is here and you got NADA.
  4. What do I do? Here are five proven suggestions.

*Read. Yep. Just one word. Read.

*Attend at least one conference a year. Good conferences allow creativity to flow. They often burst the dam called “routine” and allow the Spirit water the parched land.

*Develop a sermon planning committee. This might not work everywhere, but it serves as a sounding board and advisory on topics and delivery and effectiveness of your sermons. Please don’t pick the crazy people for this.

*Make a sermonic year. Take a survey of topics, books of the bible and beliefs that people in your church feel they need. That is a good start. Then take a retreat to map out a balanced approach to preaching. It’s a drag, especially if you are ADHD like me, but oh so wonderful in august when the week has been crazy, but you already have your topic.

*Survey youth in church, let them pick topics. Preach on that. Tell adults the youth picked topics, they can listen in on them, but you will be preaching to the young. Will probably be one of the best series you preach all year.

  1. Here are some resources I have found helpful.

  1. Slide:ology, Nancy Duarte
  2. Presentation Secrets Alexei Kapterev
  3. Everybody speaks, few connect. John Maxwell
  4. Lessons From the World’s Most Captivating Presenters [SlideShare] by Marta Kagan

This subject is one I am passionate about. If you have any questions write me or call me. Would love to help has many as I can.

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One response to Help! I’ve run out of sermons

  1. Roger? For me the most helpful way to come up with sermon ideas is to listen to all my church members and even the visitors. What’s happening in there lives – good, bad, ugly, indifferent, etc… Followed by asking myself, “Are there any scriptures that relate to that (whatever it is) topic or idea or situation? I have a lot of members who right now are going through a lot of stress in various situations (work, family fighting, death, sickness and adnausium). I’ve just started a series on “Comfort” from 2 Corinthians 1 as my starting point. But there is so much on comfort in Psalms, Isaiah, Romans and more that it looks like it will now go thru the end of the year. Yet each sermon stands alone and helps address different issues for different members. I’ve only done three sermons so far and I just got to verse 3, letting the text guide my thoughts…Anyway, just a thought from an old man. Michael