What shall I preach on next? →

John Percival at Unashamed Workman asks 7 questions during the process of deciding on the broad shape of a preaching program—useful thoughts for anyone putting together a teaching series, whether it’s a congregational preaching programme, a youth group series, what to look at together in a small group/one-to-one/etc.

2 thoughts on “What shall I preach on next?

  1. Some of John’s suggested raised the question in my mind: who determines what a congregation needs to hear? John writes: “Considerable thought and prayer is needed before deciding on a series and its relevance to a particular congregation. There is nothing worse than wondering in week four of a two year series on 1 John, whether you have made the wrong choice.”

    I simply cannot imagine preaching on any book of the Bible and then questioning whether or not I’d made the right choice. 1 John is always the right choice, surely. It is not for us to determine which parts of God’s word are relevant and which are not.

    Yes, we need to know what issues our congregation faces; that should be evident in our teaching from any part of God’s word. For example, if a congregation is concerned about Christian values but not personal faith, that will be reflected in the way I teach from Genesis, Isaiah, or Luke. There is also a place for doctrinal preaching on matters that affect poor theological understanding; but it should not so dominate the teaching programme that we end up deciding what is relevant and what is not; let God’s word set the agenda.

    My own practice is to preach: one term: New Testament Letter, Term Two: Doctrinal. Term 3: Old Testament. Term 4: New Testament gospel.

    Then, year one: New Testament early Paul, year two: Peter, year three: New Testament late Paul, year 4: John, etc. The idea is that I have a system that forces me to preach on all the NT. So too OT: year one: Torah, year two: former prophets. year 3: wisdom/psalms year 4: latter prophets.

    • Good points, Philip, and I appreciate the term-based system for keeping the preaching program cycling through God’s word (the senior minister at my church has a similar practice). I hadn’t heard the bigger year-based cycle, but it’s a great idea.

      One point about the sentence you quoted (my emphasis added):

      There is nothing worse than wondering in week four of a two year series on 1 John, whether you have made the wrong choice.

      I don’t think he was wondering if 1 John was the wrong choice, rather the 2 year series.

Comments are closed.