In youth ministry, it can be tricky to develop and know what to teach others next in your setting. As youth pastors, some of us have different passions of what we like to teach on. Some of us like to teach our students mainly out of the New Testament and some of us like to teach mainly from the Old Testament. Others of us like to focus mainly on the four Gospels and some of different aspects of the church. Some of us like to teach mainly on the hard deep topics, but some of us want to stay away. How do we know what to teach when and have a good balance? Here are 3 tips that I have in developing a sermon calendar for you.
Develop your scope/sequence.
In this portion, you develop what the exact topic it is that you will be teaching for a given month, or certain amount of time. Here are some examples of topics that we use in our ministry setting:
These are just a few topics that we highlight in our ministry setting. Sometimes, a series works out to be 3 weeks or 6 weeks, but we do our best to discern how long God wants us to focus on a given topic. For example, we may discuss spiritual warfare for 3 weeks, but then for maturity, we may focus on different aspects of growing up in Christ for 6 weeks. It just depends on the topic. A scope/sequence is a great beginning to help you decide on topics and a generalization of what will be taught during the school year.
Finding your scripture for your topics.
This can be a tricky one. The Bible is full of Scripture that can cover more than enough weeks for each topic or series. For this, I do my best to think about a topic and a story or two that resonate with me. One example of this is with the topic of Maturity. I though of the Book of Titus making a good series because it lines out the foundations of what it means to live as a Christian leader and focused on helping the students to understand that a mature Christian has these foundations. I personally like to find a character that resonates with a certain topic to deal with. Teens can connect the dots better when they have a given person to think back to with a message series. You can also pick a series that deals with a single chapter in the Bible and just pick that chapter to pieces, so that teens can reread through that chapter after the series and put together what they learned. Ephesians 6 is a good chapter to do this with as it talks about different pieces of the Armor of God. It can be tough to get your Scriptures set for a series, but pick the scriptures that God is inspiring into your life for the series.
Plan way ahead.
It is important to get ahead of your planning. Some weeks of ministry are crazier than others. In the weeks where things may be slow around the office, it would be a good idea to write out the outlines for different series you have planned. When you have a scope/sequence you follow, then you can look ahead and know that in two months you need a series on discipleship. Go ahead and try to find a few Bible stories or scriptures you would want to use for this series, determine how many weeks you want the series to be, then write out the outlines for the series. When you plan ahead like that, you now don’t have to freak out that your week has been busy and you need to come up with a lesson the night before your group meeting (or the day of. I’m guilty of this). It is tough to say how far ahead to plan. I generally try to stay 6-12 months ahead with general series names and key points, but I begin writing my outlines around 3 months out to let the notes soak in, so I am trying my best to live out what I am teaching.
Developing a sermon calendar is a tough task. It is a great way to stay organized and to let others know what you are teaching ahead of time. I suggest that anyone that teaches in ministry should develop a sermon calendar that fits their given ministry.