Preachers, I’m putting you on the spot today as you think about your preaching calendar. As we approach the final quarter of 2018 and look toward 2019, prayerfully answer these questions for yourself as you think about your preaching plan for the months to come:
1. How much time have I spent seriously asking God about what my preaching direction might be in the next year? Too often, our prayer about preaching is only perfunctory and reactionary. We pray because we’re supposed to, and often only after we’ve already determined the topics.
2. As I think about future topics, am I tempted to return to something I’ve done in the past? It’s easier to do that, of course, especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve done that series. It also probably won’t require as much dependence on God. …
3. What books of the Bible have I never studied in-depth? My guess is that they’re the same books you’ve never preached through, either. God might just challenge you to tackle something new.
4. How much of the Bible have I preached through in the last five years? I don’t argue that all of our preaching must be book-by-book, but this question is a valid one. If I’ve sat under your preaching for the last five years, how much of the Bible would I have learned? How much of it would I not have learned?
5. When was the last time I preached through an Old Testament book? Some of us love the Old Testament, but many of us camp out in the New Testament and almost ignore 2/3 of the Bible.
6. What book of the Bible would I least want to preach? You never know where God might direct you.
7. How might I improve my preaching in the next three months? Many preachers don’t ask that question unless (a) they’re in a church with a preaching team that does weekly evaluations or (b) they’re completing a doctoral project on preaching that requires evaluation. Preaching is so important, though, that not evaluating and seeking to improve is to settle for mediocrity and stagnation—even if your preaching is already decent.
Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and global theological education consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. This article was originally published on ChuckLawless.com.