One of my favorite parts of being a pastor is opening up God’s word and preach. To see how God changes people, how He moves them along in their spiritual journeys, and when people have that aha moment of clarity from a sermon. It is incredible. Over the years, I have always tried to improve my preaching, but my preaching has gone to a new level in the last year.
And I believe a big part of that is because of the teaching process we have at Pantano. I didn’t create this, but have greatly benefited and thought I’d share what I do to improve my preaching.
Like most churches, we plan our teaching calendar out a year in advance. So in August of 2019, we laid out our 2020 calendar of series, topics, speakers, etc. Heading into 2021, because of what 2020 has taught us, we will only plan the first 6 months, so it gives us a shorter runway of topics.
Once the series is laid out, each series is assigned a creator. This creator lays out the passages, the main idea, and the next steps. While these will often get changed by the team, it is a launching off point. The goal is to hand the creative team and the teaching team a roughly half done series.
This all happens 10 – 12 weeks before a series is taught. So the creative team can begin working on stories, videos, and other elements that can improve my preaching. At this point, the teachers have what they are doing, and so does the rest of the team.
13 days before a sermon is taught, the notes are handed to the teacher’s teaching team for them to be reviewed. This team is made of men and women, all ages and personalities. This team is looking for inconsitencies, places where the teacher didn’t go deep enough or far enough or went too deep into the weeds. This team helps to make sure the sermon makes sense, has a good flow, enough personal stories in it, and makes sure that we speak to each person in our church, to the best of our ability.
This team has saved me many times. Once the teacher has feedback and this team has about a week to give it, they go back to work, going through the comments on a google doc.
No matter who you are, everyone does it live.
At first, this can feel really awkward because you roll into the room and go. But as we have seen in covid, many of us ended up doing this anyway.
For a communicator, this is one of the best things you can do for your preaching.
You get the feel of a joke; you get the feel of a story. You can work on your eye contact in the room and as it relates to a camera. The team can give feedback on how things feel, how vulnerable you are if you need more information in a section, or how clear your main idea and the next steps are.
Then, the week after, we give feedback to the speaker for how Sunday went.