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Book Notes: Planning Your Preaching by Stephen Nelson Rummage

Planning your preaching

It is that time of year when I am looking at a plan for the congregation where I currently serve for 2013. If you are tired of planning week to week and want to move to a better place with more peace and less stress in your planning, preparing, and preaching, this is a great place to start.

I recently read another book on this same subject and the two books compliment each other. I will share a blog post later on the two as a great place to spend some time. But in this post I want to give you a few points of interest that should make you want to read the book if you are a pastor who preaches anywhere from 1 to multiple times each week.

I am going to elaborate on Chapter 1 of this book, entitled “Reasons for Planning Your Preaching.”

The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step and the journey of preaching for an entire year starts with a good plan. The problem is, most preachers never take the first step in making a plan that help them be more successful. When I say more successful, I simply mean more progress, more peace, less stress. It is difficult to plan for and preach from 50 to more than 100 times each year. I personally preach twice each Sunday morning and then often teach a Bible study on Wednesday evenings with many other speaking opportunities throughout the year.

Planning your preaching is a hard road to travel. Determining your preaching strategy is a difficult process that requires deep thoughts and intense prayer as you seek Gods leadership regarding the needs of the congregation and the direction of the church.

Benefits of planning your preaching.

#1. Planning your preaching allows for greater leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Martin Lloyd Jones notes that the Holy Spirit does not anoint or lead arbitrarily but does so in response to preparation and consecration.

#2. Planning creates greater diversity on your preaching.

Every preacher has theological hobbyhorses they like to ride.

#3. Through planning, you will be able to teach your congregation systematically.

Just as you receive a syllabus from a college professor that covers a logical plan to teach the subject at hand a preaching plan will aid you in teaching the truths of scripture in a logical way.

#4. Planning aids in developing meaningful and cohesive worship services.

Being able to share your plan with those who lead worship and those who can help with dramas and other visual aids is a plus to any plan.

#5. Planning saves time.

Many pastors complain that they have no time to prepare their sermons when there are so many other things which take their time. Things such as pastoral counseling, hospital visits, meetings, etc. It is easy for a pastor to find all the hours of their day eaten away by emergencies that continually occur.

A big time waster for many preachers is deciding from week to week what they will preach. When you have a plan, you don’t wonder from week to week what to prepare for and you can plan way in advance.

#6. Planning protects your time.

If you ever get discouraged about all the interruptions you receive as a pastor just think of all the interruptions Jesus encountered in the Gospels. He used those interruptions as opportunities for ministry.

Having a plan in place allows you to work ahead of your preaching and to spread out your preparation time over several weeks so that one busy week does not detract as significantly from your sermon on Sunday.

#7. Planning enables you to address timely subjects.  

First as you commit your plan to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, He will guide you to address the subjects that your congregation most needs to hear.

#8. Planing helps you build your library. 

The books in the pastor’s library are the tools you will use to develop your sermons.

#9. Planning reduces stress.

The pastor who selects their sermon subjects from week to week and who have no system for organizing their pulpit work is a bundle of nerves and stress.

#10. Planning heightens your creativity.

The best sermons are simmered in a slow cooker, not zapped in a microwave oven. We all need time to contemplate and think about the best ways to drive a message home and into people’s hearts.

5 out of 5 stars



December 11, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Good message Ronnie, but easier said than done. I preach 4 times every Sunday, teach two bible studies each week and teach Sunday School once per month. I try to set Wednesday and Thursday aside to prepare but you know how fixed schedules work for Pastors. I did commit to preach on the 4 themes of Advent this month and it does help to have a starting place. I think we sometimes need to bite the bullet and get away for a few days to plan in advance. That doesn’t come natural to me as I’m better at reacting than planning but those Sundays when I’m still writing my sermon at 3 am are pretty tough too. 🙂 Thanks for your insights.


    Comment by Jim Scott | December 11, 2012 | Reply

  2. Hey Jim my friend, I do understand and I promise this resource along with “Engage” if we read them and work through them life would be so much better for us as preachers. I am biting the bullet this year and I am now planning the entire year, realizing that I will have to be flexible and change plans at times. I love what I have learned and will let you know how it works out.

    Comment by imagebearer | December 11, 2012 | Reply

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