There’s a question nearly every pastor struggles with at some time (and for some, it’s every Sunday):
What should I preach next?
Sometimes the answer is obvious, other times it remains elusive.
When you’re not sure, here are five questions that will help you decide. As you pray and seek God’s guidance, ask…
1. What is God teaching me?
Your best messages will come from the overflow of your devotional life and your personal walk with Christ. The lessons you learn in your daily devotional are your best resource. What God is teaching you, he is preparing you to teach others.
2. Which need have I seen demonstrated in the congregation?
Another way to say it: Which area of growth seems to be lacking? One pastor told me he decided to spend the summer teaching on Biblical parenting because he has observed a number of unruly kids and overwhelmed parents among the congregation.
Another pastor told me that after doing a survey he discovered that only a small percentage were having a daily time alone with God, so he’s preaching a series on developing a devotional life.
Another pastor, recently appointed to a new church, told me that he’s preaching through books of the Bible on Sunday nights, and teaching a class on Bible history on Wednesday nights, because he noticed that there was very little Bible study taking place in the small groups and Sunday School classes. His goal is to help the congregation develop a closer relationship to Scripture.
3. Is there a sin we need to confront?
Such as racism, gossip, division, criticism … well, the list of possibilities is pretty long. If you get the sense that your congregation, on the whole, seems to be winking at certain sins, it’s time to address the problem from the pulpit.
4. Is there a new area of ministry we need to pursue?
One pastor told me that he is spending 2018 preaching on personal evangelism from several different angles. The goal, he said, is to get people committed (at the very least) to inviting people to church, as well as teaching them the basics of sharing their faith.
Another pastor — of a fledgling church plant — told me he preaches on missions as often as possible to remind the congregation that we’re not a mission for others to support, we’re in mission to support others.
5. Is there a weakness we need to strengthen?
A friend of mine recently became the pastor of a church that had just experienced a split after the previous pastor left in unpleasant circumstances. He told me, “My job here is to help the remnant experience healing.” His go-to topics are forgiveness, mercy, reconciliation, avoiding gossip and idle-talk, and staying focused, as a church, on top priorities.
As you prayerfully consider these questions, the Holy Spirit often brings one key idea to the surface. From there, you begin your research … and that’s where Preaching Library is eager to help.