Picture this: your week has been busy. And not just the ordinary everyday tasks kind of busy, but CRAZY busy. Your to do list for the week has reached the hundreds, meetings have filled your calendar, people continue to pop by the office unexpectedly, the ceiling fan fell again and now you’ve been tasked with fixing it. Then before you know it, Wednesday is here, and you have a sermon to write. Unfortunately, you didn’t have any sermon series planned or schedule prepared, so you then have to come up with something from scratch because the never-ending timeline of Wednesday night is approaching. Maybe you haven’t been there…but I know my fallible self has.

Certainly, God can use any preaching of the Word for His glory. But I know our desire as a youth pastor is to give our students a sermon that we’ve prayerfully meditated on, that is wholly exegetical, that is applicable to students, and that connects to a bigger picture. But in order for such a sermon to happen, we must have a plan. The purpose of this blog is threefold: to encourage you to create a sermon schedule, to provide some ideas for a sermon series, and to remind of you the privilege we have to teach our teens.

When choosing a sermon series, we must wisely think through a few different angles. First, we want to be exegetical and true to God’s Word. This is not a time to simply entertain or get on our soap box. Second, we must be applicable and meet teenagers where they are and give Scriptural guidance on how to move forward in Christlikeness. Finally, we must be prepared. I believe any youth pastor worth their salt has a strong, God-given desire to proclaim God’s Word and help teenagers apply biblical truth to their everyday lives. But this simply doesn’t happen effectively without preparation and a plan!

At the turn of the new year, I decided to try this new thing and actually listen to the advice of another more experienced youth pastor. He encouraged me to follow a quarterly format for my sermon series. So, after prayer and planning, here are the broad topics I seek to cover each quarter with my students:

  • Weeks 1-3 = Doctrine (what we believe)
  • Weeks 4-6 = Apologetics (how to share what we believe)
  • Weeks 7-9 = Practical Christian Living (how to live out what we believe)
  • Weeks 10-12 = Relationships (how our beliefs change our interactions with others)

Depending on the series, the weeks may fluctuate. But this broad schedule provides a strong track that keeps me on task and fully focused on properly training teens for godliness. What I love about this schedule is that I have the freedom to choose a series while also forcing myself to be structured and consistent.

My goal before the end of each quarter is to actually schedule time in my work week to prayerfully consider each of these broad topics, to brainstorm series ideas for each topic, and to create a tentative sermon schedule. Schedules are not foolproof, and the Spirit can certainly lead a different direction. But having a plan…get ready…big reveal…helps me to plan! By knowing what I’m preaching, I can begin to meditate on the chosen passage earlier in the week as well as provide consistency for the students in my youth group. Teens learn so much better with a series connecting to one big idea rather than multiple one-shots that never connect.

Now, before I close, I wanted to provide a list of a few possible sermon series ideas and their accompanying outlines, which I have collected from both my personal ministry and from other youth resources. Please note, these sermon series are not fixed but flexible. My desire is that these series spur more ideas in you that work beautifully for your specific ministry.

Doctrine Series: Church Matters (Ecclesiology)

  • Purpose of Church – Matthew 16:18 & Hebrews 10:25
  • Unity in the Church – 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
  • Worship – Romans 12:1

Apologetic Series: State of Mind (Biblical View of Mental Health)

  • Sufficiency of Scripture – Romans 5:12 & 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  • Anger – Matthew 5:21-26
  • Anxiety – Matthew 6:28-34
  • Depression – 1 Kings 19:1-8

Practical Series: Just Do Something (Following God’s Will)

  • Defining God’s Will – 1 John 2:17
  • Surrender – Matthew 26:36-39
  • Sacrifice – Romans 12:1-2
  • Satisfied – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
  • Suffering – 1 Peter 4:12-19
  • Wisdom – Proverbs 3:5-6 & Ephesians 5:15-16

Relationship Series: Kissing Frogs (Dating)

  • Finding the One – James 1:22-25
  • Dangers of Dating – Genesis 29:16-25
  • Your Love Story – Ruth 3:1-18
  • God-Centered Dating – 2 Timothy 2:19-22

 

These are just a few ideas, but the Bible is full of so much more truth. We will never run out of material. We just need to make sure we aren’t just looking for a clever title but are prayerfully searching His Word. Having a sermon schedule is not meant to be another task in your busy life. Instead having a sermon schedule provides us with a level of accountability as well as time for preparation. So, the question, what is your sermon plan?

Also, please feel free to share in the comments your series ideas and past outlines. I know that I and other youth pastors are always happy to gather more resources as well as learn what works for other laborers in the faith.

How amazing is God’s Word?! And how blessed am I that God saw fit to place finite me with the opportunity to preach to teens every week! May we all end this blog post by just praising God for the privilege of preaching His Word, which is alive and wholly applicable to all.

Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.