Tag Archives: Sunday Morning

Sermon Planning, 2018: Make Your Voice Heard!

Sermon Planning, 2018: Make Your Voice Heard!

Each year (usually near the end of one year, or the beginning of the next), I spend time in thought, study, and prayer about what to preach in the months ahead at PVCC.

Thinking that far ahead is always challenging; you never know when significant, unexpected events may cause you to toss even your best-laid plans to the curb. That being said, I think there’s great wisdom in preachers patiently, intentionally, and prayerfully thinking through what their congregation needs to hear, when they need to hear it, and how to communicate that message most effectively.

As I plan ahead for sermons at PVCC, there are all kinds of factors I take into account:

1) I want to give our congregation a balanced and generous helping of Scripture (reading different genres of Scripture, spending time in both the Old and New Testaments, and examining both well-known chunks of Scripture, and often neglected portions). It’s true that sermon series on more topical concerns can be incredibly beneficial for God’s people; they certainly have a place on the plate. But in the long run, I’m convinced that Scripture is the main course of a Christian’s filling, strengthening, and sustaining meal.

2) On top of consistently presenting Scripture, I feel a responsibility to address many of the big questions and challenges the people of our church are regularly wrestling with from a Biblical perspective. On the one hand, I don’t think it’s wise to let our secular culture constantly dictate what I do and don’t preach; but on the other hand, it would be foolish to not take the more pressing issues and debates of our current day and age into account when preaching to God’s people.

3) And of course, there’s the calendar to consider! Easter and Christmas are the two major Christian holidays, so I think it would be silly to not give them their due when it comes to planning sermons each year. But on top of that, other holidays can have an impact on sermon planning as well (you probably don’t want to start an important series of sermons on a holiday weekend, when many people may be traveling).

As for this year’s preparation, most Sundays already have their assigned sermons. That being said, there’s still a handful of weeks waiting to be filled. That’s where you come in, people of PVCC:

What would you like to hear preached on Sunday mornings in 2018? What passages of Scripture, topics, and questions can we address on Sunday mornings to best aid in your growth in Christ?

Are there passages of Scripture you’ve always found confusing? What challenges are you currently facing that you’d like to hear discussed from a Biblical perspective? What topics have you found churches far too shy to talk about, to the detriment of God’s people? It’s easy for me to assume I know what my congregation wants and needs to hear each Sunday morning; but no matter how well I know Scripture, our church, and the cultural climate in which we live, it’s more than possible that I could miss something.

Of course, I can’t promise that every suggestion you offer will come to fruition; but I’d still like to hear what you’re thinking as I continue another year of the joyous, yet heavy responsibility of preaching.

Feel free to contact me however you see fit.

Change to our Order of Service

Change to our Order of Service

Happy Friday, everyone!

If you worshiped with us this past Sunday morning, you heard an announcement about a change to our Order of Service. This change will take effect this Sunday, April 2.

At PVCC, we believe our Sunday morning service exists for two primary purposes: to glorify God, and build up believers. We don’t think one Order of Service glorifies God more than the other; but we do think the change we make this week will better build up and serve our congregation.

For the sake of those who were not present for the announcement, and for those who may not have been worshiping at PVCC before we adjusted our Order of Service, I’d like to explain why we made this change, and give you an idea of what to expect on Sunday.

Prior to Christmas of 2016, our typical Order of Service looked something like this:

Opening Song

Welcome/Announcements

Worship (usually three songs)

Communion/Offering

Sermon

Closing Song

When Christmas Eve and Christmas Day rolled around, we decided to do something different; that led to our more recent Order of Service. The biggest difference was moving Communion/Offering after the Sermon. You might think this change sounds minor, but you’d be surprised how much impact a change like this can have! Once Christmas was over, we decided to stick with the new order for a little while, just to see how things went. We made minor adjustments here and there, and asked our congregation for feedback – both positive and negative.

As you might expect, both orders have positives and negatives. For example, with the old order, many liked that our time of Communion prepared hearts and minds to hear the Sermon. However, the old order also had a very abrupt ending. With the new order, the volunteers who count our weekly offering didn’t have to miss out on much of the sermon. However, the new order also broke up our songs more than we might like.

Ultimately, after considering feedback from the congregation, discussing the pros and cons amongst both Staff and Elders, and having given the new order more than a fair shake, we’ve decided to return to something more like our pre-Christmas Order of Service. That means our service this week will look like this:

Opening Song

Welcome/Announcements

Worship (three songs)

Communion/Offering

Sermon

Worship (one song)

Closing Prayer

Closing Song

Hopefully, keeping the Closing Prayer (an element we added with the new Order of Service) will address one of the weaknesses of the old: a very abrupt ending. In addition, we still keep all the core practices we believe God calls us to participate in on Sunday morning: singing, prayer, Communion, Offering, and a Sermon.

All this being said, what ultimately matters more than the Order of Service is the heart of the worshiper. So whether you love the change, hate the change, or simply don’t care all that much – we pray that you’ll join us this Sunday morning with glorifying God as your heart’s greatest desire.

Thank you for your understanding, patience, flexibility, and willingness to worship with us at PVCC!