This weekend, Lord willing, I will complete our summer series. That means it’s time for me to move to our next through-a-Book series. Here’s how I go about deciding what to preach next.
First, my practices are based upon my philosophy of preaching in church. Different philosophies will determine different practices.
I believe in long-term pastorates if the Lord allows it and I don’t mess things up. That means I am counting on the cumulative effect of my preaching to contribute to the faith-family’s spiritual growth. For me this means alternating between Old Testament and New Testament and between genres within each testament. Over time, I want the congregants to experience as many facets of the Story as possible from as many angles as possible.
I believe in an exegetical/theological approach to preaching rather than an exegetical/historical approach. In a nutshell, this means I can often preach on large portions of Scripture, especially in Old and New Testament narratives and OT poetry and prophecy. In other words, my practice does not advocate spending years in Ephesians. I select preaching portions determined by my big idea approach outlined in Preaching With Accuracy (Kregel, 2014).
With that said my best practices for choosing where to preach next are:
- I speed-read the beginnings and endings of potential books. This often yields their theological purpose–how they are intended to function for the church–and helps me decide on whether they’re next material.
- I read at least two, sometimes all three, of the following books: Theological Interpretation of the Old Testament (there may be a companion volume for the NT?), Talk Thru The Bible, and The Message of the Old Testament (I believe Dever has a NT volume?). These are extremely helpful in concisely presenting the theology and key themes of books of the Bible.
- Finally, I am asking God for wisdom to choose His message that best fits the current situation of the faith-family. This is extremely subjective. Soul-watchers who preach through books of the Bible have a God-given sense of what book is “best” for now.
I hope you will consider the value of preaching through a book or large segments of a book of the Bible. It’s hard work. Be prepared for tough Sundays. Great sermons require great Texts and not all pastors and parishioners consider every Text, let’s say, in First Chronicles, a great Text.
Choose your next sermon series through a book of the Bible so God receives glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:21).