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I was just wondering, what formats people use/like in preaching. I tend to do sermon series lasting roughly 3 to 5 Sundays, each on a topic or section of the Bible.

What about you? Do you do any of these? Or, do you like listening to sermon series or not?


I've learned that when I go longer than 5 weeks I not only run out of material but I also lose people's attention. I've tried hard to keep them at a certain spacing and giving where I'm going. I did a three part series on Habakkuk last year and did a 5 part series on the book of Acts. I even try to break up the Catechism in the evening to 5 or so weeks. This Sumer I did do a series called favorite stories of Jesus and had the congregation give their favorite stories and then I picked the top 5 and did a series from those. That was fun. They also enjoyed the Favorite Stories of the Old Testament I did back in Janurary.

That brings another question: How often do you let the congregation pick sermons/sermon topics. I was a bit amazed at some of the suggestions people gave. It really showed their interst and pastoral needs.

A couple of years ago, I did 30 sermons on the Minor Prophets.  I've preached through the Catechism twice, the Belgic once, and now I'm going in great detail through the Sermon on the Mount.  These were all PM services, where I am able to go in greater depth, and in a bit more detail, just based on the audience.


In the morning, I usually do series as well (I almost never do sermons apart from a series/theme of some sort).  Am series would be things like "HOw does the gospel change me?"  Or, as we are doing now, we're using the misison statement of our church to guide the preaching.


I usually don't let the congregation pick series.  I often will talk with the elders about their perception of the needs of the church.  I'm not rigid on this point, but I think that it's one of my tasks as a shepherd to discern needs of teh church (along with the elders).

Hey Josh.....

I'll answer 2 questions I heard you pose.......yes, I do use series (religiously?). We put quite a bit into each series (set design, video production, graphic design, website design, etc.) so doing anything less than 5 weeks gets my creative team ticked due to the pure workload requirements. Also, our people tend to show up every 2-3 weeks, so most only get 3-5 messages out of the series, anyway.......I usually go 5-7.  I'd say 7 is where I/they lose interest. I also alternate between topical and book-driven series (Ruth, Jude, Amos, etc.).

In reference to letting the congregation pick, they LOVE what we're doing right now. We're calling at "interactive" series - we've lined the sanctuary with whiteboards and I have voluntarily committed to only speaking on the questions they pose with answers from Scripture. Its led us into lots of discussions of sometimes-difficult topics like the problem of evil and homosexuality, etc.

I would defintely say that series are the way to go.....


What I liked about doing sermons based upon the congregations suggestions is that I had a grade school boy suggest the beheading of John the Baptist. I jumped on that one and not only made a young kid happy but was told later that no one really had heard a sermon on that one before. It went really well.

I do sermon series much like Richard DeRuiter. It took about thrity weeks to get through the book of 1 Thessalonians. I heard no complaints and people were appreciattve to go in depth through a book. I did a series in Ruth that took eight weeks. I always preach in series and each sermon is expository. I did a ten week sermon series on prayer, each on a different passage. This long series was received well.  For our evening services this year I took topic suggestions from the congregation. This has gone very well also.

It is interesting that Mark Driscoll, in a church that targets 20s-30s group, many single, preaches expository sermons one hour in length. It took two years to go through the book of Luke this way. I am not sure if he is still in it.

If people are hungry and thristy for the word then expository preaching lexio continua style seems to still capture many people's attention.

Perhaps the sermon series length is more of our fear than the congregation's fear.

the sermon series at our church tend to be as long as season of the church year we're looking at: fall series, advent, lent, summer, and few in between, so some are much longer series than others, which is kind of nice for variety.

There are also two of us here and I think the variety in style helps during longer series.   For example, last fall our other pastor preached on the stories about David and I preached (once or twice a month) on a psalm of David.  

We've really enjoyed preaching through series together because it's more interesting and gets better depth to have someone else to collaborate with.

Here's my experience the last several years:  YES, to sermon series.  And they seem to be WELL received.  I don't think they need to be only several weeks long...I think people like sinking their teeth into topics/books a bit.  But then you can be flexible in allowing for variety/breaking a series up as you go.  In the last number of years I've done some of the following that seemed to go well from my perspective, and on these I also received good feedback from leadership and the congregation:  24 sermons going through Ephesians (this one spread over mornings and evenings), 16 sermon series on Joshua (mornings only, following senior pastor transition at church), just finished 22 sermon series on 2 Corinthians in the mornings from January through August (allowing for flexibility through Lent/Easter as well as guests in the summer), a 6 part morning series on Ruth, 4 part evening on Jonah, 5 or 6 part TULIP series on the Canons of Dort during the evenings.  Future plans that I'm excited about:  Prayer series for the AM going through the Lord's Prayer using Lord's Days 45-52 as the guide), plus tagging on at least two sermons on Jesus' HIgh Priestly Prayer.  Daniel for the mornings, including doing a number of "End Times" sermons to cover the last chapters (people just seem to always desire more End Times' stuff, no matter how much I think I've covered it--and we Reformed leaders DO have some great stuff to teach here and offer!!  Let's give it to them!  Also, a 10 part morning "Faith Foundations" morning series that covered our mission statement-stuff (our church's name is Faith).

Right now, I'm in the middle of a series called Welcome Back. Using the traditional passage from John where Jesus reinstates Peter. I'm using the idea that no matter how far away we go, God always welcomes us back. This Sunday I'm looking at how we can welcome back others in our lives, giving forgiveness and asking for forgiveness.

Come this Summer, I'll be switching gears and looking at the Parables in June and July and then in August I'll actually preach on Jonah, after seminary I don't think I ever would preach on Jonah since I took that class. But I'm looking forward to it now.

How're the sermons/sermon series coming along for you since the Lenten season ended?

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