How to Create Lectionary Sermon Series

August 22, 2017

Occasionally I will have someone ask about my sermon series graphics. One part of the process is deciding what direction my sermon series will be. Here is a rough outline of my process.

Step 1 – Decide on how Many Weeks You Want to Be in Your Series.

The revised common lectionary is a series of scriptures that cover the majority of the bible over a three year cycle. Each week there are at least four assigned readings for Sunday.

There is always a psalm, epistle, and Gospel reading. The majority of the year there is another Old Testament reading except after Easter there the Old Testament reading is replaced by Acts.

My process is to pick a stream and stay in it for several weeks. For my upcoming series I will be in the Gospel of Matthew for three weeks. I chose three weeks because once the Old Testament readings move to Exodus I will be preaching from there for several weeks.

Step 2 – Study the text/passages prayerfully.

In this steps I read through the passages and ask God, “What do you want me to hear/say/preach?” This step is very important because we are wanting the text to set the agenda.

  • “Letting the text set the agenda” is the process of coming to the bible trying to hold back your own conclusion and allowing the bible speak to you on it’s own terms. It’s a phrase you hear a lot at Asbury Theological Seminary.

Notice any connections or themes you see emerging from the text. Make sure to make notes along the way here.

Step 3 – Pick a Generic Title

Here is my big secret. Try to pick a title that does not box you in. If our goal is to “let the text set the agenda” then we need to make sure we don’t have a title that will not fit the text. For example, my next series is called “How to Have Confidence in God”. It is based on:

I felt there was a connection to faith in all these stories. I am assuming that I can at least tie part of my application of these sermons into having a more confident faith in God.

Confidence in God

I love using series like this because it gives me a lens to tie the sermons together. It also helps our congregation see or think about a certain theme. Again the more the generic the title the better it fits. For example, I did a series a few summers ago called Modern Disciple. Now just about any passage in the bible helps inform us about how to live our lives today. Also, recently I concluded a series called Future Church. My opening illustration was something futuristic happening or possibly happening. Then we would turn to the scripture to see what type of church we were called to be in the future.

Some examples of sermon series title

Beginning of the year/Epiphany

  • Start Strong
  • Preparing for the Journey

Lent

  • Eavesdrop: Listening on Conversation with Jesus (Gospel Stream)
  • How to Have a Fruitful Life (Apply the Bible to your Life)

Advent

  • Unwrapping God at Christmas
  • Waiting on Christmas

Other

  • Future Church
  • Follow the Leader: Lessons from the Book of Acts
  • Greatest Sermon Ever: A Series of Sermons about the Sermon on the Mount

Maybe I will change my preparation up in the future but this process works well for me. I think the greatest strength is I am able to study the scripture and go in whatever direction I feel drawn to during my sermon prep.

What is your process? I would love your input. Comment below and help me refine my process!

Note: This is only the process for outlining my sermon series and not the in depth process of sermon preparation/writing.

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