An Early Christmas Gift – the 2012 Preaching Calendar

Jason HatleyLast week, Nelson (my Lead Pastor) gave me an early Christmas gift.

No, it didn’t come wrapped in paper, and it wasn’t a light-up reindeer sweatshirt. But, it was one of the best gifts that a worship leader will ever receive from their pastor.

This gift will likely save me weeks of time and tons of stress over the next year. It will no doubt make me more effective. If you’re thinking the new iPhone, then you’re still way off.

It was The Journey’s one-year preaching calendar.

This preaching calendar outlines the topics and titles of the messages we will teach here at The Journey for nearly every Sunday between now and December 2012. But it’s really more than that.

It’s the result of the pastors in our church prayerfully asking for God’s leading in the crucial area of our worship services. It’s the passionate desire to break free from the week-to-week mindset, and create room to hear from God about the direction of our messages rather than trying to put it all together every seven days.

It really is a great gift . . . and here’s why it can help you too:

One of the top sources of weekly stress for pastors and worship leaders is the uncertainty of what the message this Sunday will be about.

After training and coaching thousands of worship leaders, I’ve found that the struggle to gain clarity and direction on this Sunday (not to mention next Sunday) can be one of the greatest cause of stress, missed opportunities and frustration.

But imagine for a moment what it would be like if you knew that by investing some concerted prayer and a day or two of planning between now and the end of year, you could develop a blueprint for the coming year.

Think of the freedom that comes with being able to plan for a specific Sunday weeks (even months) before that day arrives. (BTW – That’s exactly what I’ll be doing next week with other members of our worship arts team as we take the Preaching Calendar and start working on the creative elements).

The preaching calendar is the cornerstone of your worship planning system. And planning your preaching calendar months in advance is one of the best tools for reducing your stress, maximizing creativity, honoring God and working with the natural patterns of your people.

Now – I know what you’re thinking. “One year! I’d be happy to know to what we’re doing next week. How can we possibly start planning a calendar for the next year?”

Here are 3 things that you can do to lay the groundwork for your Preaching Calendar before 2011 is over:

1) Put a date on the calendar. Nothing really happens until you decide that an idea is valuable enough to invest time in it. Put a date on the calendar for when you will plan your Preaching Calendar. October and November are the PERFECT time of year to plan your 2012 calendar.

Once you have that date, do these 2 important things:

2) Pray. Ask God to reveal to you the key areas that your church needs to preach on in the coming year. Don’t do this alone though. The Pastor and Worship Pastor can work together on this, as well as any other key staff pastors or team members who have a hand in planning your preaching and worship services. Write down scriptures and topics that you sense will be important to teach on in your church in 2012.

3) Listen to the “Planning a One Year Preaching Calendar” resource. This 60-minute resource recorded by my Lead Pastor, Nelson Searcy will help you not only plan you preaching, but also help you understand how the seasons affect your preaching; how to attract, grow and balance people through preaching; and how to preach for transformation versus information to name a few.

Finally – do what you can, but do all that you can.

If you typically don’t know what you’re message will be about this Sunday until this week, one year may be too intimidating. If so, start with the next 2-3 months.

But don’t settle for less than the best you can do. Challenge yourself to get ahead and watch as the stress of week-to-week planning begins to fade away.

Your partner in ministry,


PS – Here is that link to download the Planning a One Year Preaching Calendar resource.

How do you plan effectively? How do you maximize key times of the year for spiritual growth and numerical growth? What is the role of the Spirit in planning your preaching?

In this downloadable resource you will learn:img

  • The three steps to planning your preaching calendar
  • How the seasons of the year can maximize your preaching
  • Preaching for transformation versus information
  • The three temptations that hinder planning
  • Effective message series development
  • How to attract, grow and balance people through preaching
  • Five ways to keep improving your preaching skills
  • Plus much more!

Whether you’re a Pastor or a Worship Leader, this is one of the most important ways to maximize your effectiveness and reduce your stress in 2012.

Immediately download the complete mp3 audio file and SAVE!


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TUESDAY MORNING INSIGHTS is Jason Hatley’s free weekly training resource specifically designed to provide you as a worship leader with proven principles, tips and practices to help you lead a healthy and thriving Worship Arts Team.

About Jason Hatley and Worship Leader Insights

Jason HatleyIn 2002, Jason Hatley helped launch The Journey Church in New York City, directing the programming of their worship services. He serves as the Pastor of Worship Arts and built from scratch The Journey’s worship arts team, a group of over 200 artists and technicians who develop and implement the creative and technical elements at weekly Sunday services. The Journey has been recognized as one of Outreach Magazines fastest growing and most creative churches.

Jason has been a worship leader since 1996. He invests in Worship Pastors around the country through interactive coaching networks and worship planning resources. He has been a featured break-out speaker at the Willow Creek Arts Conference, The Purpose Drive Worship Conference, as well as seminars around the country. He has a B.M. in Sacred Music Performance from Appalachian State University.

Jason is the author of Engage: A Guide to Creating Life-Transforming Worship Services and Revolve: A New Way to See Worship as well as over a dozen worship leader personal and ministry growth resources.

Jason and his family currently live in Boca Raton, FL where he serves as the Pastor of Worship Arts at The Journey’s newest campus in South Florida.

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