In our busy world no minister “finds” time to prepare sermons. He must plan his preparation! The pressing duties of any pastorate, large or small, can easily shove sermon preparation aside. Let’s face it—time is at a premium. What little there is of it is dotted with meetings, calls, counseling, errands, ringing phones, complaining members. But reading and sermon preparation—aren’t these usually the first to be neglected?
I am in only the second year of my pastoral ministry, but I have already come to realize the necessity of planning my pulpit schedule several months in advance. Some time ago I had to take myself aside and work out a pulpit schedule that would provide for disciplined study, long-range plans, and flexibility. Series preaching proved to be the answer, and I would like to commend it to others.
By series preaching I mean any program that includes preaching on either a book of the Bible or a biblical doctrine, theme, or character over a period of several Sundays, or even several months. Planning a Year’s Pulpit Work, by Andrew W. Blackwood (Abingdon Press, 1942), is one of the finest books of helpful suggestions.
Let it be understood at the outset that series preaching has not answered all my questions nor solved all my problems. Interruptions still come, and any program of preparation must be flexible enough to allow for them. But advance preparation cushions the frustration of interruptions.
Several things commend the kind of series preaching I have suggested. First of all, it makes for discipline. The minister more than any other professional man runs the risk of becoming lackadaisical. His time, to a large degree, is his own to budget. He has no time clock to punch and is free to establish his own habits. But ...1
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