June 30, 2009 by C.J. Mahaney
The arrival of summer brings summer vacations. And this leads to the pastor’s dilemma: what to preach on when church is not consistently assembled.
Should the pastor continue his expositional series throughout the summer months or not? Some pastors find it profitable to postpone lengthy, momentum-building, expositional series during the summer months. I agree. From my pastoral experience I have found it wise to pause and wait until the church gathers together in the fall to resume.
And that leaves us with the summer.
These weeks can be used to benefit the church, your soul, and your pastoral team. These months provide senior pastors with a good opportunity to delegate preaching duties (whether to your pastoral team or with guest preachers). And this delegation, in turn, provides the senior pastor with the flexibility and freedom to vacation with his family, and to enjoy a personal retreat in order to care for his own soul and prepare for the fall preaching series.
And these weeks of summer provide the pastor with the opportunity to plan messages that did not fit in a particular expositional series. Here are just a few ideas for summer preaching series, ideas that may lead you to think of other series options:
Topical Series. One summer at Covenant Life we taught a series titled “Sanctifying the Ordinary.” We covered the topics of sleep, work, eating, and leisure. A more recent series, “Don’t Waste Your…,” was not preached during the summer, but it very well could have been. These two topical series on everyday life, and others like it, are suited for the summer months.
Selected Psalms. Select ten favorite Psalms and teach them individually over the summer months. The Psalms provide a natural division for a standalone sermon.
The Parables of Jesus. The synoptic Gospels contain at least 30 parables, more than enough for a pastor to select ten to assemble a summer preaching series of individual messages that work as standalones.
Selected Proverbs. The topical character of the book of Proverbs lends itself to this type of summer series. One church is currently preaching through a series on Proverbs. They divided their series into standalone messages titled “Fear God” (1:1-7), “Listen” (1:20-33), “Seek” (2:4), “Trust” (3:5), “Guard” (4:23), “Drink” (5:15), “Go” (6:6-8), “Keep” (7:1-2), “Hear” (8:1, 32), and “Choose” (9:6). Next time I’ll provide more information on how this series has been assembled and presented, including how the pastors are using the series to equip their church to interpret the Proverbs themselves.
During the summer months, attendance fluctuates. But don’t see this as discouraging; instead, capture it as a unique opportunity to serve the church—and your own soul.