One-Day Retreat for Sermon Planning

Suggested Schedule for a One-Day Retreat
Focus: Sermon Planning

Suggested things to bring: Bible, journal or notebook, calendar of your congregation's next year (in addition to liturgical seasons and holidays, consider programming dates, communion Sundays, baptisms, vacation schedules of you and your staff, and any denominational events [days of prayer, regional meetings, national meetings]).

8:30a

Morning Prayers

Quiet yourself. Become aware of God's presence in and around you.
Read Ephesians 4:11-16 while thinking of the needs of your church.

9:00a

Questions for further reflection

  • Where is God leading your church within the next year?
  • What needs are arising among your parishioners?
  • What truths are you eager to preach?

Noon

Enjoy lunch.

12:30p

Take a walk, go for a run, move.
Our minds and our bodies are connected. Moving the body allows different parts of the mind to work. Don't skip this part! While you walk or run, ponder any leadings that came up during the morning reflection.
Don't try to think about anything in particular, just let God guide.

1:30p

Big Picture Phase

Brainstorm any sermon series ideas that came out of the morning reflection.
Start plugging ideas into the calendar.
If an idea is for a topical series, brainstorm possible passages.

2:30p

With the outlines of the year (or season) in place, think about hymns, visual arts, choral pieces, drama, and the use of lay leaders in the services (children, seniors, teens, church staff, elders, deacons, Sunday School teachers, etc.).

3:30p

Focusing

Start with the series that's up first. Consider the texts, the themes, the way in which God is leading you to match the sermons to the needs you outlined this morning. Get as much detail as you can about this series.

Evening Ideas

Enjoy another quiet meal and imagine God as your dining partner.
What else do you and God need to say to each other?

Before you leave, note any final insights or questions in your journal.