Series Preaching, One Month at a Time!
Ever wonder why so many preachers are using the series format? The simple answer is, ‘it works.’ It’s easier to connect with people. They will want to come back and hear how the series ends. It’s the same phenomenon as binge watching Netflix. You keep watching until the series is over because you want to know how it ends! Right? It works just as well with sermon series.
That’s not to say there’s not any problems and challenges with preaching this way. It is a challenge to come up with new topics all the time, (I’ve put together an infographic that might help, just subscribe to the blog to get it!). The other issue, the bigger issue, the more annoying issue, is the tendency to run a series to death. I know a pastor that preached on Revelation for three years straight. Don’t do that! In fact, I would challenge you to limit your series to one month at a time.
Here’s five reasons to preach one month series!
1. A month is a natural time segment. Every month is a like a small new years; a fresh beginning. Use this natural restart moment. Many people begin new diets, new exercise programs, and even return to church at the first of the month. You can maximize that by starting a new series at the precise time people are most likely to be back in worship! Also, the month is a great organizational time frame that people relate to and expect.
2. One month matches our cultural commitment patterns. I was first confronted with this reality a few years ago in a seminar with Kennon Callahan. Callahan debunked the idea that younger generations are commitment phobic. Instead, Callahan made the case that they tend to commit in the short term and not the long term. Our whole culture is now following that pattern. Today we are sprinters not marathoners. A one month series is the perfect length of commitment for a sprinter culture.
3. You won’t get bored, and neither will they. The only thing worse than getting bored with your own sermon series is the realization that the congregation is even more bored with it. I don’t know who first said, “It’s a sin to bore people with the Gospel.” Yes, it may be overstating it a bit. But we live in a culture that experiences great communication on a regular basis. It is not acceptable to bore them with our preaching.
4. If it stinks, at least it’s over quick! Let’s be honest, on occasion I’ve gotten excited about a sermon series during the conceptual phase only to shocked at how bad it was while preaching it. If the series is just a month long then it’s over quick and you can move on to the next one! Don’t underestimate this, it happens.
5. You can leave them wanting more. A one month sermon series will never treat any topic or passage as thoroughly as most preachers would like. That is one of this method’s greatest advantages. It may not seem like it at first, but it is. When you leave the congregation wanting more of a series then they are open to you coming back to it later. They are also left with a sense of excitement. If you run the series into the ground over 12, 20, or more weeks, it will be a long time before you can return to that topic. Leave them wanting more!
So, will you give a shot? Try preaching a new series each month for a year and you’ll be hooked! It’s one of the most effective tools I’ve found in preaching and worship! Let me know how it goes!
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Grace and Peace, Rich