This is a five-part series on our preaching plan for the next ministry year. These are longer posts, so read the bold highlights only for a quicker review of the content.
In this post I want to tell you a bit about what goes into planning a year of series.
Prayer and the central importance of expounding God’s Word are at at the foundation of our preaching plan.
For example, I use a prayer card system for my quiet time. My prayer card for Five Oaks includes a regular prayer that people who attend Five Oaks will develop a biblical worldview and that, within three years of starting to attend, people will develop biblical fluency. I look to God’s guidance and his power for making this happen.
As far as expounding on God’s Word, I think teaching the Bible needs to be a part of preaching. I don’t want people to simply leave with some biblical principles for daily life challenges and opportunities. I want our folks to increasingly be able to bring the Bible and a biblical worldview to bear on their daily challenges and opportunities on their own.
I like how pastor Jeff Vanderstedlt refers to this as increasing in gospel fluency. It’s similar to becoming more fluent in a language. You know you’ve crossed an important threshold of learning when you can think in that language. I want our congregation to increasing think in Bible, to think within the gospel storyline of reality.
With the foundation of prayer and biblical exposition in place, I’m convinced that teaching through books of the Bible or sections of books in the Bible should be our primary staple.
From time to time it’s also important to see what the Bible tells us about a certain subject, subjects that are often foundational to a discipleship journey. It may be a series on a highly practical subject like family and singleness or on spiritual disciplines and practices, or it may be a theological exploration, like a series on the doctrine of God. A doctrinal series is as relevant and practical to our lives as a family series if done right.
Variety is also important—not for variety’s sake, per se, but for the sake of teaching the whole counsel of God. So one of my concerns is to get a good mix of Old and New Testament and of various types of writings found in the Bible since the Bible contains narrative, situational didactic teaching, poetry, collections of proverbial sayings, prophetic, and several other genres.
In addition to all of that, I think we need to address ethical issues we’re facing today in greater detail and frequency. It needs to always be done in a gospel-centered, loving, and humble manner. These issues also need to be approached in ways that equip us to talk to others in winsomely, especially when talking to the next generation.
In my next post I’ll tell you about the series that kicks off the new ministry year.