Thursday, February 07, 2008

Developing A Preaching Calendar Part 6

Creating a great message series is not just about great information, creating a great message series is about creating a message that sticks. When it comes to branding your message series your series must be memorable, simplistic, and drive home your point.

The Bones of A Series
Every series has some unique elements that will make it a series that stands out: an idea, a series title, a series tag line, message titles, and message ideas.

Every message always begins with an idea. This idea is founded on a principle extrapolated from Scripture. This idea can be boiled down into a memorable statement which will drive all the content of the series.

The best series titles are creative, relevant, and drive the memory point months down the road. Your title when heard 6 months later should trigger exactly what the message was about. Relevant titles should tap into pop culture to create a new message. The best titles have 1 to 3 words MAX.

A series tag line takes your idea and makes the series title come alive. It sets the pace and tells what principle or point you are trying to make with your series.

Your message titles and ideas are, on a micro level, what your series title and ideas are. Your message titles break down all of the elements of your series big idea and bring it all together. The ideas are really the points you are trying to make each week, again on a micro series level.

A good 3 to 5 week series begins with a intro message, has one to three ideas that hammer your main idea in the middle, and then wraps up with a great practical how to apply it conclusion.

The types of series that you create will vary and have a good mixture through the year. Some should be based around felt needs inherent in your area. Others should be totally evangelistic in approach. Some should be geared around the values of your church.

[Keep on the lookout for a future series on branding messages series]

Developing The Schedule
With an understanding of the series lets begin looking at some elements in working your calendar.

The best series run 4 to 5 weeks. Any longer and your audience can get lost or begin to wane. Longer than 5 can work if put together right. When it comes to scheduling your calendar it is important to take into effect all the holidays. Prime on your calendar is Easter and Christmas. These two are traditionally the two times of the year when "everyone" goes to church. You should begin a series on Easter. Begin when the majority of people are coming and use the series to keep them coming back. The same is true of Christmas.

Once those are in place you can begin to piece the rest of your calendar together. Summer time usually has people on vacation so the best types of series have stand alone messages in them. Stand alone messages are easier to get your staff involved in as well.

For momentum we usually developed our series around the months of the year. Doing this allowed us to focus all of our energy and creativity in monthly rhythms. Our people were also able to focus on inviting others from 12 to 14 times a year depending on the layout of the schedule. You can see part of our year [here].

If you are not used to preaching in a series format and want to begin, I would suggest scheduling, plan and develop around 4 or 5 in a year to start and then add more the next year. Again, this really is about owning what you are doing and making it work for you.

Catch up with all of the parts of this series:
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J.R. Lee said...

Mucho bueno!

Jason Curlee said...

Muchos Gracias....


YEAH, baby!! LOVED this! I wish I had seen this when we started last year, lol! I can identify with much of what you wrote, Jay... I've made blunders on the LENGTH of series, HAMMERING HOME the series idea, and I'm sure there were many more! ;-) It's a good thing to be able to learn from experience, but a much greater thing to have resources like this before you start!

I'm passing this on, my friend... thanks! And keep crankin' some more of this!