What Should I Preach Next? 5 Questions to Ask
Full disclosure: I am not the best person to help you figure out what to preach next. One, I am not very good at it. Two, I don’t know your people nor the needs of your church. Ideally, you would have planned out your preaching well enough in advance to the point that you aren’t stressed about what’s next. But even in ideal situations, there will be times when you will be faced with the task of coming up with a new series of messages or at least a “stand alone” sermon.
How does the preacher decide what to preach next? When there is a random Sunday between series, how can you know what to preach? When you just finished a six-week series on the book of Ephesians, how can a preacher know where to go for the next series?
Below are five questions I have found to be helpful:
#1. What is God teaching you?
Pay attention to those things the Lord is revealing to you from His Word. This can be especially helpful for “stand alone” sermons that don’t have to do with a particular series. There are things the Lord is revealing to you that, at times, need to be shared with the congregation. Lean into that and leverage it for pastoral influence.
#2. What has been taught from the pulpit over the last year?
Jot down key themes/topics you have covered in recent history. This will allow you to notice a couple of things. First, what topics need to be reiterated? Second, what topics have been neglected? Third, what truths need to be taught during this next season of ministry?
#3. How much time have you spent in the New/Old Testament?
If you have found yourself giving more attention to the New Testament, put your focus on the Old for a while, and vice-versa. I have found that I tend to default to the New Testament, so an Old Testament series is needed regularly. By the way, when done well, due to the neglect of the Old Testament, people in the pews will eat it up!
#4. What do you hear your people struggling with? Are there any themes that overlap?
You cannot preach well unless you know what your people are dealing with. You must know where your people are. Pay attention to what you hear them say. What are they believing in that is impacting their behavior? What are they coming to you for help with? What are they doing that they need to stop doing? What are they not doing that needs to start? Make sure you are spending time with your people. When you do, ask questions, close your mouth, and open your ears. You might just hear your next sermon series.
#5. Have you asked the Lord to help you?
Ask the Lord for insight, discernment, direction, and the Spirit’s leading. He loves your flock more than you do. He also loves YOU more than you do. He doesn’t want you to go to the pulpit with nothing to say. Ask Him to make known to you what He wants your flock to hear. You’ll be remarkably surprised how He leads.
At the end of the day, you have 66 books that have been inspired by God Himself. Every word is useful and profitable. If it gets to be Wednesday or Thursday and you are still at a loss, pick a passage and go with it. For one, it’s God’s Word. It cannot fail. But who knows? It might just be the Lord’s way of showing you just how good and sovereign He is.