How to Prepare a Message One Year in Advance (Podcast)

In this episode of the Leaders Factory Podcast we're talking about the how to prepare messages one year in advance and what advantages planning this far ahead gives you. In the podcast I refer to Dave Ferguson's amazing book, The Big Idea. It is a must read for every pastor or creative director. To order a copy for you and your team CLICK HERE.

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The 3 Step Process to Yearly Planning:

  1. Remove the “sacred cows”. One of the biggest "sacred cows" I had to kill in myself was the thought that the Holy Spirit only worked during service times. What I mean is, I thought I was being more spiritual when I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to lay down my notes and go with "His plan" for the morning. While I desperately desire to follow the Holy Spirit's leading, I had to come to the understanding that the laying aside my notes was not actually a sign of being more Spirit led but rather it revealed that I was under prepared and not listening to His guidance throughout the preparation process. When I learned how to trust His lead during my prep time, I have been continually amazed at how He accurately leads me to teach the exact message at the exact time it is needed. And, I was better prepared and therefore more effective in delivering the message with clarity, quality, and creativity. I had to remove this thinking in my charismatic brain that planning ahead somehow removes the anointing
. Once I killed that sacred cow I was free to plan and invite the Holy Spirit confidently into the middle of the entire process.
  2. Get to know the seasons of your church. Every church operates in seasons. No church, no matter how it looks to those on the outside, experiences continual growth. Every church has its harvest time and its seed time. If we are wise in our leadership, we will clearly understand when those seasons are and plan accordingly. Planning effectively includes knowing what types of messages are most appropriate for which type of season. I try to determine our seasonal patterns yearly by asking questions like: What time of year do the most visitors come?
 What time of year do our volunteers tire?
 What time of year is our attendance mostly the core?
  3. Plan a yearly retreat. Each August, I set aside one week and retreat to a remote location for the purpose of seeking God for where He would have our church go in the next 12 months. I set aside this time to...

    • pray, pray, pray
    • brain storm and clarify the win
    • chart the topics of the series I wish to cover in the year
    • begin breaking down the series topics into a series map
    • Invite my leadership team to join me for the last day and a half to begin prepping the series and establish the plan

Here are templates of the forms I use during the planning process:

  1. BIGIDEA_Calendar_Planning.
  2. BIGIDEA_Service_Plan
  3. Series Map

It's important to note that these plans are highly flexible and can be changed or altered at anytime during the course of the year. This planning process is simply a road map to a desired destination. The longer I have done this process, the fewer changes I have had to make during the course of the year. I am sure you will experience the same thing.

Question: What is your biggest fear to planning so far in advance? You can feel free to comment or ask questions in the "Leave a Reply" box below.