9 Sermon Series Mistakes & How Your Church Can Fix Them

9 Sermon Series Mistakes & How Your Church Can Fix Them

June 20, 2018 by

The sermon series can be a challenge. It’s a staple for many churches, but the constant creative churn can be daunting. It’s no wonder that churches fall into some common sermon series mistakes.

But that’s OK. The first step is recognizing the problem, and then we can work to fix it.

9 Sermon Series Mistakes

We’ve pulled together nine common sermon series mistakes and how you can fix them:

1. Not Planning Far Enough in Advance

Last-minute planning makes it difficult for the preacher to write a good sermon in time to give the team enough information to work with. Lack of advanced planning makes it difficult for the worship team to find songs that support the direction of the sermons in the series. Last-minute planning makes it difficult to pull off creative elements such as videos, stage designs, graphics, and other pieces of the puzzle.

2. Copycatting

How many times have you heard that same Andy Stanley sermon spoken verbatim by different preachers?

We get it. You have to do this every single week. Sunday comes with amazing regularity, and that makes it difficult to be inspired every week. But copying (read: stealing) someone else’s sermon isn’t the way to solve the inspiration problem.

3. Not Letting the Spirit Guide You

Pastors (and creatives) have been known to let everything except the Spirit guide. The congregation, a TV show or movie, current events, and problems in the church that need to be solved are just a few.

4. Wrong Length of Series

This one can be tricky. How do you know the right length for a series? Some series warrant more attention and some are better suited for a shorter number of Sundays. There is no right answer, but not considering the length is a big mistake.

5. No Supporting Cast

Thinking a sermon series is only about the 20 minutes where the Scriptures are exposited is a mistake. Consider a “supporting cast” to your sermon. How can you use visuals, music, smells, lighting, etc. to help reinforce the message you’re going to be telling people?

6. Doing It All Yourself

Your staff really want to serve you! (At least, they should… if not you need different staff.) Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to do it all by yourself.

7. Trying to Be Too Clever

If people need a translation to understand what your sermon series is about, you’re probably trying too hard to be clever.

8. Not Thinking in Terms of Next Steps

I’ve been to many church services where the pastor masterfully preaches a sermon that brilliantly ties into the theme of the series, drives it home in the closing point where people are motivated to take action, then someone stands up and gives five totally unrelated announcements and distracts attention from the main thing.

9. Thinking People Care About Your Sermon Series

It’s really easy as a church staff to think that everyone in your church just sits around all week thinking about church life as much as the staff does. They don’t. This is especially true when it comes to the sermon series.

Don’t believe me? Do a random, informal survey of your congregation and ask them what the titles of your last three to five sermon series were. They probably won’t be able to name any of them.

Does that mean planning sermon series, theming your teaching, planning in advance, and all the other things we’ve mentioned here aren’t important? Of course not! The work you do is vital. Anything you can do to help people latch on to something in the sermon is worth doing. But don’t lose sight of reality.

Get the Sermon Series Resource

OK, that’s the easy part. Now how do you fix them?  Download our free resource for the practical tips to improve your sermon series.


Need more resources to help? Our Courageous Storytellers membership site offers new resources every month, giving you access to an ever-growing library of support. Learn more about membership.

Post By:

Chuck Scoggins

Chuck is passionate about serving the local church. Hit him up on Twitter or on his blog, ChuckScoggins.com.
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