Upcoming Preaching Series’ at Calvary
In no particular order and some books might be broken up into a few series. They will take us through the end of 2014.
Biographical Study on Elijah & Elisha (1 Kings, 2 Kings)
Psalms of David
These are going to be amazing. I’m seriously pumped up about all of them. Prepare to have your mind blown by God’s incredible Word!! Of course, you can have your mind blown now as we go through Colossians this Fall and then John 13-17 after the new year.
They have come to hear Jesus, not you.
I speak today as a dying man to dying men and women to whom I may never preach again.
A Glimpse into This Sunday
This is a portion of my bulletin outline for this Sunday. This passage is amazing. Jesus doesn’t just reconcile us, He totally and thoroughly reconciles us. The regular word for reconcile wasn’t good enough. It needed a bigger word. I love that. Come this Sunday to Calvary Church to hear more about it. It’s going to be deeply encouraging.
A. He has the ability and authority to reconcile all things to Himself:
· Reconcile – ‘katallasso’ : to change or exchange, a change in relationship
o 1 Corinthians 7:11 – a woman being reconciled to her husband
o Romans 5:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 – God and man being reconciled
o Reconciliation: the restoration of a right relationship between God and man.
· In this verse, it’s the Greek word ‘apokatallasso’, which is a compound word meaning totally or thoroughly reconciled.
o Because of everything we have learned about Christ (image of God, Creator, in Him all things hold together, head of church, firstborn, fullness)
o Because of the blood of His cross
o All Things – Things on earth or things in heaven
Calvary Church Preaching Prep Process - Step Three of Three
I love our preaching prep process at Calvary Church. This is the last of three posts. You can scroll down for my previous posts.
Step Three - The Preaching Week. What’s so wonderful is that by the time we hit Monday of the week before preaching, we have already been marinating in the passage of Scripture and even the creative parts of the service for months. It is so much less stressful than coming into the office on Monday morning wondering what we are going to preach about the next Sunday.
I will speak more to my process on this part. The other guys have similar processes and deadlines. I block off my mornings during weeks that I preach and I don’t take any appointments on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday mornings. I work best on writing and serious thought during the mornings so I reserve this time for that. My mind gets stimulated by meeting with people so I meet with people in the afternoons when I’m too tired to focus on the computer screen. I like to print out my notes and get a Word Doc started the week before I preach so that I come in on Monday morning with everything ready to go. I pray and read through the passage a couple times to get my heart and mind focused. Then I read through my Brainstorm notes. Then I start writing it out.
On Tuesday morning we meet to plan out the details of the service and how the different creative elements will work in conjunction with the sermon or music. We also review the week before.
Usually on Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning or I will try and briefly practice SPEAKING OUT LOUD the sermon or parts of the sermon to make sure it is flowing well. I usually always get a couple great ideas for how to make the sermon better in these moments. Then I start working on my Bulletin Outline which is due to our Communications Team on Wednesday at 12noon. At this point, I’m committed to the content because it’s being printed. Our Communications Assistant also begins a PowerPoint file with the notes from my Bulletin Outline. Then I take that and add pictures or delete stuff. I have been trying to have LESS CONTENT on the screens lately and mostly be using major points, short quotes, short cross references and pictures.
Then I try to practice it once more out-loud before I leave the office on Thursday while clicking through the PowerPoint so I can fix any flaws or flow issues. After that, I let it sit and don’t think about it very much on Friday or Saturday. Then on Sunday morning I arrive early enough to pray and practice it out loud one more time with the PowerPoint. This helps me feel really comfortable with my PowerPoint slides and with my notes so that I don’t have to look at them that much during the actual service. I can make some last minute edits to my notes or find where I need another story or I need to cut something because it’s too long. The Tech guys don’t like if I make too many edits to my slides here because it’s never good to be messing with stuff like that right before the service. We get everything loaded and tested well ahead of time so that it runs smoothly. I agree with them but sometimes it just has to happen. I usually pray some more after that, pray some more between services and also pray with the worship team one more time. Prayer is vital!
Then at about 10:05am or so I hit the stage and hope that I end on time and pray that God uses the sermon to transform lives.
Finally, on the next Tuesday we review the week before. And let me tell you, we are very honest and direct. We are also encouraging one another a bunch, but we keep it real. I also like to watch the video of my preaching the week before so that I can make improvements.
Thanks for reading. I hope this was helpful.
No sinner is ever saved after the first twenty minutes of a sermon.
Mark Twain (@themarktwain)
I’m a pastor and my wife is a teacher and we got #1 and #6 respectively. Happy jobs have purpose. Do you have a happy job? Click on the link above to check out the Forbes article about it.
Calvary Church Preaching Prep Process - Step Two of Three
I love our preaching prep process here at Calvary Church. I published Step One just before this so you can scroll down for that one. Here is Step Two.
Step Two - Creative Brainstorm Meetings. We meet once-a-month for about five hours with our Creative Team that includes the teaching pastors, artists, worship leaders, communications team and some other creative staff members. We pray together allowing time for everyone to pray aloud. We go through each series and create themes, design ideas and stage ideas.
Then we go through each sermon. The Teaching Pastor for that sermon shares the content direction of the passage. Then the Creative Team comes up with ways that people can respond to the message during the service. We also come up with any other crazy creative idea that can fit within the message or the service in general. This is where video ideas are born, applicable songs are discussed and other strange responses like shattering mirrors or live art pieces are conceived. We also do some review of past meetings to keep us on track with the items that need to be created.
Step Three will come on Monday.
Calvary Church Preaching Prep Process - Step One of Three
I love our process of preaching preparation here at Calvary Church. We have really thought it through and developed it over time.
First of all, we have four Teaching Pastors and two different services in our main Worship Center. Our Senior Pastor Dave preaches about 45+ times per year in the first service. The rest of us will fill in for a few of them here and there with Dave’s vacation or church trips taking Dave out of town. But the value is that he teaches almost all of these and 99% of our One Service Sundays as well. In the second service, Dave speaks about 15x per year including the one services. I speak about 15-20x per year. Then our Children’s Pastor and Young Adults/Local Reach Pastors speak about 8-10x per year each.
Step One - Content Brainstorm Meetings. The four Teaching Pastors gather three times per year for two-three days. This has been an overnight trip but usually is just us devoting 2-3 full work-days to this and we meet at an off-campus site. We have some folks in our church with nice homes and they have been generous to let us use them but we have also met at Chapman University. The homes work better.
Every couple years, part of our Content Brainstorm includes selecting the books of the Bible or topics that we will be covering for the next 2-3 years. We do expository preaching through books of the Bible about 95% of the time with occasional topics to help with certain systematic theology lessons that need to be taught. We prepare for these times by praying ahead of time, listing out everything we have taught already in the past 15 years and then we all come in with ideas. We wrestle pretty hard over what to preach with Dave’s voice having a bit more authority than the rest of us. We have had great unity in this process. We then schedule out when these books of the Bible will be taught. We pre-assign how many weeks each book should take. We don’t want to just preach on one book for the next five years and just see what happens.
We prepare for these Content Brainstorms by researching good commentaries on what we are studying and doing some preparatory reading of the passages so that we can come in with a good awareness. We also do some of our research into how we think the book should be broken down into individual sermons.
First, we pray. We each pray. We pray more than once around the circle. We pray for each other. We pray for wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit in our preparation. We pray for alertness of mind as we study. We pray for God to reveal to us what our church needs.
Next, we break down the book into the individual sermons. This is hard. We always wish for more time. We always wish for smaller chunks of verses. But we lovingly argue and discuss through the text. Then we assign the sermons to individuals. Dave has the hardest job because he has to do all of them.
Then, we go off into our own private spots in the house and study. We read and make observations on the passage. Then we dig into the commentaries. We try to come up with a few things: 1. The Big Idea. 2. A Rough Outline. 3. What we want people to know, feel and do with the passage. 4. Other random notes.
Then we come back together and discuss our findings to sharpen each other and have good cohesion as a group.
Step Two will be tomorrow.