One of the greatest challenges of pastoring is coming up with something fresh to say to the same people week after week.
As a pastor, I’ve been preaching for over 30 years. Over 4,000 messages. For many years I would regularly run out of things to say – or, more accurately, new ways to reinforce the same foundational truths - but Sunday was coming whether I was ready or not.
If you’re a preaching/teaching pastor, you know the Saturday Night Dread. The “what am I going to say this week that they haven’t all heard 100 times before?” panic.
It still happens to me occasionally, but it doesn’t happen as much as it used to, because over the last three decades I’ve learned a few tools that reduce the pressure and make Preacher’s Block a little less frequent.
What To Talk About?
The main issue in Preacher’s Block is coming up with a subject. An idea valid enough to be worth saying, but fresh enough to keep people’s interest.
That’s easy when the audience is new. Or when you’re new to them. But when you’ve been at the same church for years, even decades, you can’t keep saying what you’ve said before – even (especially) if you’re reinforcing the same foundational Bible principles you’ve taught dozens of times.
Over the decades I’ve discovered a handful of tools that help in this task. They’re not the “right” way to preach and/or prepare. They’re some tools that work for me. And maybe they’ll help you, too.
1. Preach In A Series
Yeah, I know. This is not exactly a new idea. But of all the ways to reduce the “what am I going to preach about?” panic, this is the best one, by far.
By preaching a series, you can reduce the number of times you need to decide what to preach on from 50 per year to 12 or fewer per year.
Plus, people like knowing where things are going. The congregation can follow your train of thought better when you lay down principle after principle over several weeks, instead of jumping from subject to subject every Sunday.
Preaching in series also gives you the chance to plan longer in advance. As you’re preaching one series you can be studying for the next series and brainstorming ideas for the series after that.