Preaching must be a priority for a pastor, regardless of church size. As the pastor of smaller attendance churches, I always looked for opportunities to preach sermon series that would allow me to draw deeper truths out of the scriptures. On Sunday and Wednesday nights, I frequently would preach through books of the Bible, do character studies of Bible personalities and in-depth studies of significant scriptural topics, themes and doctrines. I found that this approach gave a greater balance as I sought to preach the “whole counsel” of God’s word.
I also preached shorter series on Sunday mornings (often times 3 and 4 weeks long). These series were most times expositional in nature and had a higher focus on the application of the scripture passage, and not just knowledge. Since most first time guests visited us during Sunday morning worship, I really wanted to be sure the message was solid Biblically, but extremely relevant to life. For instance, for several weeks around Valentine’s Day, I preached a three-week series on “Real Love” from 1 Corinthians 13. Such a series of messages is doctrinally sound and highly relevant. By preaching shorter series on Sunday mornings, it also gave me more freedom to preach special emphasis messages around stewardship, missions and major holidays.
Since I was preaching 3 to 4 new sermons each week, I found it saved me time when preaching a series of messages. My weekly preparation time was reduced for each message and I knew where I was going each week as I prepared my next sermon. There was none of that “what will I preach next week?” It allowed me to be thinking ahead for illustrations and application of the scriptures we would be studying. At times, I even shared my sermon topics and texts with several enlisted church members, having them search for good illustrations from local newspapers, magazines and media. They loved helping and it saved me countless hours looking for current and relevant illustrations.
I recently came across a good article by Dennis Bickers on “Do people in small churches want in-depth preaching?” He has additional good ideas for preaching in the smaller attendance church.
Again, preaching must be a priority for a pastor. According to scripture, it is one of his key responsibilities. Pastors must make preaching a priority. Church members must make sure the pastor can make his preaching a priority.
What have you done as a pastor to keep your preaching a priority and preach the meat of God’s word?