Sermon Planning a Year at a Time: One Way to Do it (Includes download for you to do it too!)


I wouldn’t use the world “organized” as a descriptor of myself. I can’t find my keys (EVER), my desk is often very messy (ditto my closet, purse, etc.) and I do many things at the last minute. At the same time, I really value efficiency, which is why I’m in to meal planning, technology tools, and other things that make life easy.

For this reason I like to have an outline for worship and preaching a year in advance. It’s a bit of work at the front (especially since this year I picked the hymns as well, but it will save time in the end.) I’m putting it up as a google doc so that the director of music and admin assistant can see it, and if something needs to be adjusted, we’ll adjust it.  I love to be able to see what’s coming up, have something to look forward to, and think about the year ahead with anticipation.  A few things of interest in case you are interested in borrowing/using some or all of this plan (which you can see and download HERE)

1. I stay on the Revised Common Lectionary during Advent, Lent, and and other liturgical holidays (Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, etc.)  in the “Scripture” column, therefore, it will be whichever scriptures I choose from the RCL. I like staying on lectionary for these times because there are so many published resources. Also, since these are such busy times in the life of the church, it’s nice to be able to use the collective wisdom of what other pastors might be doing, and all of the online discussion groups and chatter are usually focused around lectionary.

2. When I am not on lectionary, I often do sermon series. In 2015-2016 I’ll be doing series on Stewardship, Amos, Prayer, Sabbath and favorites (see #3, below)

3. Favorites! This year I’ll be asking people in the congregation to nominate favorite passages for me to preach on. They’ll also be nominating favorite hymns. I’m really excited about this!

4. A note about the hymns… I’m a PC(USA) pastor and these are all hymns from the (relatively) new Glory to God hymnal. There is a lot of variety here, and there is no hymn that is repeated more than 3 times in the year. (I don’t think… if you find one, let me know!) I tried to achieve a balance between old favorites and new music (as much as any of the music in that hymnal is new. 😉

I’m a huge fan of sharing, so use it as you will/can! Click HERE to download automatically.


  1. Good grief!!! Have you been drinking Red Bull Shots? Don’t want to burst your schedule but Sept 27 we will still be at Mo Ranch Family Retreat. Hope you have built in some flexibility to this schedule. Your wandering BFF crew are home with pink glowing sun kissed completions!!! See you Sunday AM. Judy

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Yes, Judy! Lots of room for editing! Hmm… maybe we’ll dedicate the pledges on Stewardship 4… there’s a little time to think about it. Looking forward to seeing the happy campers tomorrow. 🙂

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