I have been working the past couple of days on my preaching calendar. I am just about finished setting topics all the way through next February. I am still praying about a couple of ideas but all in all I have a good idea of series that I will be preaching through. I try to balance expository preaching with a few topical series. Last year I preached through the book of James. I am in the beginning stages of plotting out increments for a very controversial book. It looks like it will take me 33 messages to preach through this particular book. It will take from September through a good part of the first half of 2009. I will sprinkle some series throughout to keep interest and to allow me deal with things that may come up.
A couple of things to note about my philosophy. I know quite a few pastors who caution about preaching more than 35-40 messages in a year. All of these gifted men preach in large churches and they have multiple staff. I am the only paid staff. My primary gift is preaching/teaching. I feel a responsibility to be in the pulpit much of the time. I also enjoy preaching. I will probably preach 45 or 46 Sundays in a given year. Every 18 months or so I will take four Sundays in a row off of preaching. This always reminds that I love to preach and it helps refresh me. Other people have different approaches. This is how I do things for now.
Some people question planning topics and sermons for a year in advance. They ask if I can be led by the Holy Spirit doing this way. Seriously, if God could plan out hundreds of years of prophecies and then bring them to pass in Jesus Christ, certainly he can help little ol' me plan a year in advance. I am open to changing messages if I feel prompted to do so or if something comes up that needs to be dealt with, but in general this has worked well. I will share more about somethings that are coming up in the days ahead.