4 Factors to Balance in Your Preaching Calendar


Rick Warren PreachingHopefully, by October, you’re already thinking through your preaching calendar for next year. Part of shepherding a congregation toward long term health is offering a balanced diet from the pulpit. Your preaching over a twelve-month period should be pre-planned with certain factors built in.

Before a new year begins, I try to identify eight to twelve series’ that I’m going to do for the year. What I’m looking for most is balance. There is no way I’m going to be able to use all of the themes that I come up with, but I want to be balanced. And I want to look at several factors as I seek that balance.

First I want to be balanced in content.  That means I need to do a doctrinal series, a relational series, and an ethical series. I want to strike a balance between Old Testament and New Testament. And I want to preach to people at various stages of spiritual growth.

Second, I want to have balance in terms of style. I may do a character series such as a series on Moses, Joseph,  or Joshua from Hebrews 11. I may also do a series on the life of Christ or events from his life such as His miracles or His parables. I might also teach through a book of the Bible like James, Philippines, Peter, Proverbs, or Ecclesiastes.

Third, I like to have balance in tone. This is very important.  1 Corinthians 14:3 speaks of having a balance between building up, firing up and holding up. It’s out of balance to spend your whole year preaching in any one of these tones exclusively. All comfort and no challenge produces a soft congregation.  And all challenge and no comfort produces a warn-out congregation. I’ve found it helpful to identify the emotional stance of each message before sharing it. It has more impact when you know what feeling you’re going to produce.

And fourth, I want to balance the five purposes of the church. Always remember that there is a corporate aspect in preaching. As we preach to move individual people along spiritually, we are also moving the church along. So I always try to preach a series that relates to evangelism, another to fellowship and relationships, another to worship or prayer, another to discipleship or being more Christ-like, and another to serving and ministry.

Look at some of the series’ we’ve done at Saddleback in the last three years and you’ll see that these factors are intentionally balanced…



2013 (so far)

Also remember, don’t worry about preaching a rerun. You can never preach the same message twice because you’re different and your hearers are different. 15% of Americans move every year so you’re preaching to a parade. And any message worth preaching once is worth revising and preaching again.

Proverbs 21:5 says it best, “Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run.  Hurry and scurry puts you further behind.”

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Rick Warren About Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

  • Ferrol Macon

    Rick Warren is someone I try to emulate everyday. He focuses on what matters most. I am sure he is far from perfect, but aside from his demeanor and how he engages the public in such a respectful and engaging way one experience I had with him marked me. He was a speaker at a conference I attended. I stayed after the session to speak with him. While many were vying for his time, including me, for the 90 seconds I spoke to him, he gave me his undivided attention. I asked a question, he answered and then asked something genuine around me. I have engaged others who give you the nice smile, halfway answer your question and look to move on to what is next. However, when you meet someone who genuinely cares, as Rick does, it stands out. I want to emulate that in my own life.

  • Koba

    Great piece, God bless you. Sometimes I wish your articles had PDF formats which I could save in my library and refer to offline sometimes. God bless you.

    • http://www.beezerboyd.com/ Sean Boyd

      Koba – I thought you’d like to know that you can print these in PDF format. There is a button under the article that says Print Friendly, and it has a PDF option. They are great articles worth printing!

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  • Kevin Wax

    Love this post Brother Rick! Our Preach Club met last Saturday to discuss this very issue! very timely for us.

  • StevenParsons

    Perfect timing! Was just talking about this in our Pastors meeting yesterday. Thanks.

  • Ray Umphrey

    Thanks for the reminder, Pastor. I’m beginning to work through my preaching schedule for 2014, and I needed to hear this! Your posts always sharpen me.

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