Sermon Series Choices

May 7, 2009

Yesterday morning, I and some other pastors spent time with Peter Grainger discussing how we choose sermon-series. Here were the notes:

An initial affirmation that God’s Word addresses all and every situation. Nonetheless, certain parts of God’s Word can be more apt for a given time and situation.

Factors in choosing a sermon topic/series?

1. The profile of a particular church (know your church)

  • Age range/background
  • Christian maturity
  • Non-Christians present 
  • Oncers/twicers
  • Needs of congregation

2. The challenges/message to THE Church (which can/should be preached in every church) 

When starting out or preaching elsewhere: try to find as much as you can about the church. Or ask: What is the Spirit saying to Western churches in general at this time?

  • financial – materialism (credit-crunch)/insecurity 
  • sexual – Internet etc.  
  • truth/exclusive claims 
  • hot topics – what about the Canaanites? 

Specific situations may lead to a last minute alteration

  • Dunblane massacre
  • Princes Diana’s death
  • Tsunami

e.g. Luke 13 – Jesus and tragedy (have in reserve)

3. The diet for a congregation 

  • Old & New Testament 
  • Gospel & doctrine 
  • Gospels & epistles
  • topical/expository 
  • easier/more difficult (Mark v John; Philippians v Hebrews)

4. Who is involved in the decision about what to preach on? 

  • Pastoral Team 
  • Elders/leaders 
  • Congregation 
  • Just you (danger of pet projects/passages)




  1. I remember it well. It was on the 31st August 1997 and we had to change the morning service as a result.

    However, I think you’ll find that there was only one Diana and she was a Princess.

  2. Thanks for sharing that with us, Colin. Very helpful and thought provoking. Thanks for giving us an insight as to how you guys sort things at The Chapel!

  3. Did you miss “Holy Spirit” from the list under point 4? 😉

  4. […] Sermon Series Choices […]

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