Summer Sermon Series

Summer Beach2If you are in a church that plans its series intentionally throughout the year, then summer is always a funny time.  After all, people are missing every week, but different people.  And if you happen to have nice weather, then people seem slightly distracted even if they are there.  Actually, ignore the weather, when children are out of school and life is not in its normal routine, then somehow everything seems to take on a summer lethargy.  I suspect this post is too late for this summer (I wasn’t thinking of this issue six months ago!)  Nonetheless, a few thoughts:

1. Preach a series with less interdependence between messages.  Don’t build a series that assumes people have heard last week and the week before.  That typically means that an epistle is probably not the way to go, or a tight sequence through a narrative (like Ruth or a section of a Gospel).  Instead preach so that even in a series, each message really does stand alone with minimal required awareness of other messages.

2. Preach a series with high encouragement factor.  If people are potentially coming in mid-series, or were missing last week and next, take the chance to encourage them.  Summer is probably not the season for high level calls to radical commitment or significant life change.  September may be a different story, but tap into the summer vibe and you may find that what you do try to achieve connects more effectively than a January Resolutions series in balmy August.

3. Preach a series from a section of the Bible you tend to miss.  Some churches tend to spend a lot of time in Gospels, or epistles, or even OT narratives.  Why not put in a series from the Psalms, perhaps a few of the Songs of Ascent, or a selection from the 50’s, or wherever.  Perhaps consider a series from Proverbs, a topic per week (these are unlikely to require awareness of last week’s message).

What are you preaching this summer?  What have you found to work, or to fail, in previous years?

3 thoughts on “Summer Sermon Series

  1. I thought that the “high encouragement factor” was a great piece of advice. Summer can be depressing for pastors and leaders because even the most solid members suddenly seem absent for ball games, vacation, etc.

    We just launched a series through the book of James, but I’m trying to have each sermon be relatively independent from the previous weeks. Some threads are impossible to remove, but I don’t think that an epistle necessarily needs to play out like a television series – miss week one and you’re done for. I believe there can be a balance. I still want to remain faithful to those who do attend every week through the summer…

    Thanks for the post!

  2. I live and work in an area which has lots of tourists, so we never know who is going to join us for church.
    For this reason I preach topically and generally gospel themes, so far this year I’ve preached on Forgiveness, Reconciliation; Children of God … it’s quite refreshing to me as preacher and lightens the load a little bit.

  3. I’ve been disobeying #2 all summer and for some reason our attendance is booming. I think in our community people want a change, in our culture, and in our country. It’s a mess and they know it… our audience has been willing to take the first step and change privately in order to see its effects in our community for the gospel’s sake. They are wanting to here what needs to change and what they need to do… its an amazing moment in time for us. I think this summer may be different (for us anyway) than what is described in #2

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