Are you burned out when it comes to brainstorming new sermon series ideas? Or maybe feeling lost as to what kinds of church messages people are seeking?
You know you ought to be trying for a timely and timeless topic to maximize the impact of your message and keep your congregation engaged all year long. This can be easier said than done.
In this post, we’ll cover the advantages of preaching sermon series and share resources for brainstorming your next series title. In addition, we’ve got over 72 sermon series ideas organized under following the categories: topical, books of the Bible, church vision, trending topics, and seasonal. Let’s dive in!
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Table of contents
- Why Preach a Sermon Series?
- Why are Sermon Series Effective?
- Book of the Bible
- Church Vision
Why Preach a Sermon Series?
Although preaching “sermon series” has become a well-established practice in many churches, you may still wonder if it’s the best option out there.
Some other ways to develop weekend sermon topics include:
- Following a liturgical calendar
- Teaching the Bible in chronological order
- Praying for a unique, timely, inspired message from the Lord every week
While these are all great ways to plan your preaching calendar, many churches have decided to use sermon series to frame their weekend messages. Sermon series usually last 4-5 weeks (although they can be longer) and are centered around a particular topic, theme, or book of the Bible.
Why are Sermon Series Effective?
Here are a few reasons why churches and pastors have decided to organize their messages into series.
Sermon Series Help People Go Deeper
Preaching through a set of truths that build on one another throughout the weeks of a sermon series can help establish an ongoing, ever-deepening understanding of a subject.
By providing members with multiple opportunities to hear and reflect on the same topic, you can draw out related concepts and help your people internalize them more deeply than they might if the topic is only mentioned once.
Sermon Series Help With Marketing and Communication
Having a series title helps you communicate in advance about what’s coming up. This gets people excited and provides an additional tool to invite friends, coworkers, and neighbors.
Planning sermon series ideas in advance also allow you to develop multimedia resources like graphics, videos, social media posts, blogs, and more. In today’s digital world, this is an excellent way to give your message broader reach and deeper engagement.
Sermon Series Bring Relief to Pastors and Team Members
Finally, planning out your sermon series ideas for the year takes a lot of pressure off pastors and communications and service teams since everyone has more time to get organized and work ahead.
Remember, you can still give the Holy Spirit plenty of room to direct the specifics of your message week-to-week, but the rest of your team will be grateful to have the general topic in place.
Addressing Felt Needs
If you’re not familiar with the concepts of real needs and felt needs, this can be important for naming and framing your sermon series in a way that appeals to people. And in turn, as you speak to their felt needs, frustrations, and goals, you can get a deeper message across to them.
A simple breakdown of real needs and felt needs:
- Real needs are the real qualities and efforts a person needs to develop or utilize.
- Felt needs are their wants, wishes, hopes. Psychology dictionary defines this as a “need that is experienced consciously that may relate to a sense of deprivation or a discrepancy with the affective ideal.”
So what this means for your sermon series is
- A series on “How to Prosper” may be more attractive than “How to Save and Be Financially Sound”
- A series on “Building a Passionate Marriage” may be more attractive than “How to be a Sacrificial Spouse”
- “Get the Body of Your Dreams in 4 Weeks” may be more attractive than “Eat Vegetables and Exercise Every Day for a Year”
Ok, so the last one isn’t necessarily a sermon series idea, but you see how the concept applies across the board. You’ll talk about both the desired state and the qualities and habits needed to get there (even hard topics, like things you have to give up or stop doing). But the first title options paint a picture that will appeal to a person’s hopes and goals.
So now that we’ve covered the advantages of a church sermon series, we’re going to talk about sermon series ideas for your church. To help you navigate this list, we’ve grouped sermon ideas into categories and listed multiple examples of each.
Topical ideas, as the name suggests, can cover a range of topics. They might be “How to” driven, focused on spiritual attributes and disciplines, or relate to life issues or felt needs.
- Alone But Not Lonely (Healthy Single Life/Relationship with Self)
- Raising a Generation of World Changers
- Family Matters (Addressing challenges with family of origin, extended family)
- Friendship 3.0 (Cultivating friendship in today’s world)
- How to Restore Broken Relationships
- A Biblical Family in a Modern World
- The Lost Art of Social Skills
- Great Expectations (Disappointment in relationships)
- Unity in Imperfect Community
- For Better or Worse (Note: if you do a marriage series, how can you make it apply to everyone regardless of marital status?)
Biblical or Faith Attributes Topics
- Walking with Jesus
- Who is the Holy Spirit?
- Peace, Joy, Faith (Fruits of the Spirit)
- Fervent Prayer
- How to Read Your Bible
- God is ____ (Attributes, characteristics, names of God)
- Abundant Grace
- Time to Grow Up (Maturity, Discipleship)
- Truth Seekers (Apologetics)
- As it is in Heaven
- Financial Freedom
- Healing in a Broken World
- The Shame Game
- Faith at Work
- Under Pressure (Mental Health)
- Over It (Freedom and Breakthrough)
- Big Transitions (Navigating Major Decisions)
- How to Be Healthy
- Hearing God’s Voice
- Walking with Wisdom
Book of the Bible
You always have 66 sermon series ideas available to you – just take a book of the Bible and break it down over several weeks. Some books may feel easier to access, and shorter books fit neatly into a 4-5 week series. However, church members appreciate it when their pastor can help them understand a more challenging book (Leviticus, Ezekiel, or Revelation perhaps?).
You can pair a book of the Bible series with a topical theme from that book, for example:
- Suffering/Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? (Job)
- Navigating Wilderness Seasons (Exodus)
- Courage (Joshua)
- Standing Out From the Crowd (1 Kings)
- Without Compromise (Daniel)
- Trusting God’s Timing (Esther)
- Walking with Jesus (Gospels)
- A Vibrant Church (Book of Acts)
- Joy in Every Circumstance (Philippians)
- God is Love (1 John)
Also, consider exploring a biblical character, which is another angle for Bible-based sermon series. Some people are mentioned in a single book or story and others across multiple books, such as Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, John the Baptist, Peter, and John.
Finally, you can teach about Jesus and preach the gospel through a variety of sermon series such as:
- Hope is Born (Jesus’ Birth)
- I’m a Follower (Jesus’ Disciples)
- Servant Leaders (Jesus’ Leadership)
- Signs (Jesus’ Miracles)
- The Master Storyteller (Jesus’ Parables)
- Upside Down (Kingdom Principles)
- What Jesus Said (Jesus’ Teachings)
- Breakthrough (Jesus’ Death and Resurrection)
Hopefully, you keep your mission, vision, and values in front of your church year-round, woven into your messages and announcements. But it can be beneficial to take a sermon series or two each year to focus on your church vision or an aspect of the mission and fabric of church life. This can align both new and veteran members to the church vision and see how they play a role.
These types of sermon series ideas may include:
- Church Vision (Overall or specific to the year)
- On Mission (Core Values and Mission)
- What it Means to Serve (Volunteer/Serve teams)
- Connected in Community (Small Groups)
- Empowering the Next Generation (Kids and Youth Ministry)
- Go Out (Outreach, Missions, Serve the City)
- Modern Day Evangelism
- Blessed and Generous (Tithing)
- Deeply Rooted (Discipleship)
- Building a Legacy – A Church that Lives Beyond Us
Hot topics can be tricky to address from the pulpit because you risk being criticized for what you say…but you can also be criticized for saying nothing at all.
How do you know when to address a trending topic? Sometimes a sermon series isn’t the best answer. A simple prayer during service is often more effective when addressing politics, socially charged disagreements, or current events.
Instead of feeling obligated to make a personal commentary, you can rise above the details, stick with biblical truth, and pray God’s will and wisdom for everyone involved.
An example of a trending topic from a few years back is the 50 Shades of Grey book and movie (based on themes no one wants to talk about in church). This craze prompted some sermon spinoffs such as 50 Shades of Nay and 50 Shades of They. Although playing off a topic “everyone is talking about” may have its benefits, the downfall is that it can feel gimmicky.
In addition, you’re letting the world set the agenda for what you’re talking about, which can appear backward.
So you don’t necessarily want the trending topic to be the name and focus of the sermon series. Instead, you could start with a foundation of biblical truth you’d like to teach on and address how timely issues relate.
Sermon series ideas that could incorporate trending or timely issues include:
- Stop the Scroll (Technology Addiction)
- Influencers (Social Media vs Reality)
- Who Do You Say I Am? (Identity)
- Lonely Places (Isolation and Loneliness)
- The Talk (Purity)
- Civil Conversations: How to Relate When You Disagree
- A God of Justice (Justice and Restoration)
- Cultural Compromise (Living Biblical Values)
- What Would Jesus Ask? (How Jesus addressed controversial topics with questions and conversation)
The final category includes topics that are seasonal or related to holidays. Although you don’t want to be overly predictable (like doing a series called “Relationships” every February), it’s helpful to be in sync with the topics on peoples’ minds.
People also typically have a rhythm to their year. There are times they feel more energized, and seasons when they’re more reflective and restful. This partly has to do with seasonal changes (which may vary depending on where you live), the school calendar, and cultural themes throughout the year.
Here are some sermon series ideas tying into seasonal themes as you walk through the calendar:
- Spiritual Fitness Goals (January and New Year Resolutions)
- The Power of Fasting and Prayer (January)
- Well Loved (February and Relationships)
- Soul Detox (Spring Cleaning or Fresh Start)
- Lent (Life of Christ and Easter Focus)
- Back to School (Next Generation or Learning Focus)
- Enough (Gratitude and Thankfulness)
- Traditions We Love (Christmas)
Another idea for your sermon series is to use popular songs, movies, or stories to title your weekly messages. For example:
- Summer Soundtrack
- Summer Blockbusters
- Christmas Classics
- Christmas Stories
Resources for Sermon Series Ideas
Finally, we want to share a few additional resources to help you brainstorm your next sermon series. In addition, some of the sites offer free or paid graphics packages to help your team.
- Church Sermon Series Ideas
- Ministry Pass
- Life Church Open Network
- Sermon Central
- Lifeway Sermon Index
- Preaching Today
We would love to hear from you. Comment below and let us know: Which of your sermon series have resonated the most with your church members?