Jerry Fore is associate pastor of the Hamilton Community Church of Seventhday Adventists, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Planning a whole year of sermons in advance sounds like a good idea. But I did not realize how much it would benefit my preaching until I actually tried it. After I outline my sermon topics, I plan my reading to complement my preaching schedule.

Planning the topics for preaching in advance is neither difficult nor time-consuming. It can be done in a few hours if you follow three simple steps.

First, label one sheet of paper Subject Work Sheet. On this sheet list all the subjects that relate to church life, such as Christian education, Week of Prayer, stewardship, Youth Day, Communion, etc

Next list the holidays that would be appropriate for special services, such as Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Then list the topics that you feel need to be shared with your congregation, such as miracles and parables of Jesus, the Second Coming, the Holy Spirit, last-day events, the sanctuary doctrine, health, and family life.

Second, label another sheet of paper Calendar Work Sheet. On this sheet list the Sabbaths of each month on which you will be responsible for preaching. You will list 24 Sabbaths if you have preaching twice a month or 36 if you preach three times a month.

Third, take the subjects from the Subject Work Sheet and place them by the appropriate dates on the Calendar Work Sheet. There will be several vacant Sabbaths on the calendar. If you have several consecutive Sabbaths open, you might expand one topic into a series of two or possibly three sermons.

You will need to determine which subjects are most important to present when the entire congregation is likely to be in attendance, such as immediately after school begins.

Why not plan now for the next 12 months? To do so will remove the pressure of selecting a topic each week, and the congregation will be blessed as a result of your planning.

Sample Sermonic Calendar

For Two Sabbaths a Month

 Jan. 8            Communion                       July 9          Topical series
Jan. 22           Religious liberty                 July 23        Topical series
Feb. 5             Evangelistic meeting         Aug. 6         Christian education
Feb. 19           Evangelistic meeting         Aug. 20       Doctrinal series
March 5          Evangelistic meeting         Sept. 3        Doctrinal series
March 19        Communion                      Sept. 17       Youth Day
April 2             Christian Home                Oct. 1           Communion
April 16           Easter                              Oct. 15         Week of Prayer
April 30           Spirit of Prophecy            Oct. 29         Topical series
May 14           Topical Series                  Nov. 12         Topical series
May 28           Topical Series                  Nov. 26         Topical series
June 11          Topical Series                  Dec. 10         Stewardship
June 25          Communion                    Dec. 24         Christmas


Jerry Fore is associate pastor of the Hamilton Community Church of Seventhday Adventists, Chattanooga, Tennessee.