The Reflectionary – Preaching a Vision Series, The Cost of Discipleship, and More

by | Aug 25, 2022 | The Reflectionary

Early Fall tends to be an optimum time for shepherds to speak to the flock about the journey ahead over the next twelve months or so.

Preaching should, of course, always be rich in biblical theology, applied to the lives of church attendees. But pastors are shepherds of a flock, and flocks move through seasons, and the shepherd’s responsibility is not only to feed, nourish, and protect, but also to lead the flock in the right direction in the appropriate seasons.

Since preaching is the primary means of shaping the spiritual life of a congregation, one of the responsibilities of the pastor is to shape the life that the body as a whole takes on. The New Testament epistles, themselves, are excellent examples of discourses intended to be read to churches that included a lot of vision about how the church could be a witness to Christ in the world.

I’ve written an article with 4 principles for vision series’ and 4 tips for maximizing the vision sermon series opportunity.

Read and/or Share the Full Article »


Sermon Ideas Based on the Lectionary

Note: The notes in the Reflectionary each week are based on Lectionary texts ten days out (so, the next Sunday, not the coming Sunday). If you need to see notes for this Sunday’s texts, visit last week’s Reflectionary.


For September 4, 2022
Year C – Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost


First Reading and Psalm


Jeremiah 18:1-11

WORKING TITLE: Yes, People Can Change for the Better in God’s Hands

The invitation is always open to allow God to shape us into something better than we could ever have been on our own. Are there ways in which you’ve been resisting the shaping and influencing work of God in your life? Yield to what he wants to do and he’ll make a beautiful masterpiece out of your life.

Read and/or Share the Full Article »


Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

WORKING TITLE: The Deep Joy of Being Fully Known by God

God has planted deep within our hearts the desire to be fully known, and God himself meets that need by fully knowing us. This – being fully known – is what real intimacy is all about. It’s okay that you don’t know everything about God yet. Keep seeking and discovering because that’s what the journey of life is all about – an ever-deepening intimacy with the One who formed you and knows you.

Read and/or Share the Full Article »


Alternate First Reading and Psalm


Deuteronomy 30:15-20

WORKING TITLE: Choosing the Path of Life Over the Path of Death

Every day, we have both the freedom and the power to make choices that contribute to living, thriving, and flourishing instead of choices that lead to death, destruction, and decay. Look at the choices you’ve been making lately and evaluate whether they are sending you along the path toward flourishing or the path toward destructiveness. Realize you are free to make better choices and start making wiser decisions today in light of God’s revealed Word.

Read and/or Share the Full Article »


Psalm 1

Working Title: Walking in the Godly Way

Every day, we get to choose to grow toward our most mature, blessed, and happy selves by living according to God’s Word. Spend time this week meditating contemplatively on scripture. Soak it in. Read it, learn it, and apply its wisdom as you make choices each and every day that set you on a pathway toward growth in holiness and love.

Read and/or Share the Full Article »


Second Reading


Philemon 1:1-21

Working Title: We Are Called to More Than the Minimum

Everything about how we treat people changes once we’ve made a decision to follow Jesus. How can you go beyond the basic minimum expectations of following Jesus to go the extra mile and extend a new sense of freedom, of belonging, and of refreshing to those around you?

Read and/or Share the Full Article »


Gospel Reading


Luke 14:25-33

WORKING TITLE: Be a Peace Maker, Not a Peace Keeper

Truly following Jesus will require committing ourselves to an ethic and way of life that is bound to divide us from our surrounding culture, but the end result of seeing the rule of God’s kingdom extended around us is always worth it. Are there ways in which you’ve held onto the old and selfish ways of thinking instead of letting go to completely follow the example and teachings of Jesus? Consider the cost of totally committing your life to him and then take the next step of surrender.

Read and/or Share the Full Article »


Creative Sermon Series Ideas from MinistryPass

My favorite resource for sermon series and message ideas, complete series graphics, and video bumpers (but NOT full notes) to get you started is MinistryPass! Each week, I’ll feature a series I would recommend checking out for the upcoming season of the church year. This week:

Heart for the House Vision Sermon Series

From the Description:

This two-week series can be used together or as two independent messages. Both messages are meant to help the congregation move forward together in vision or on a mission to raise funds for the church.

Check Out This Sermon Series »


Upcoming Events


A Conference for Church Communications Leaders
October 18-19, 2022 (Charlotte, NC)

The Church Communicator Conference is specially designed for the accidental church communicator, the one that wears many hats and may have stumbled upon this role without a plan. Lead pastors and executive pastors will also benefit from this conference as it will introduce principles and concepts that will assist with creating a unified communication strategy that aligns with the vision and mission of the church.

Registration and More Information Here »


Exiles in Babylon: Theology in the Raw Conference
March 23-25, 2022 (Boise, ID)

To be a Christian is to be an exile. The Bible has a name for the country we’ve been exiled to: Babylon. As exiles living in Babylon, we need to think biblically, Christianly, indeed exilically—not partisanly—through cultural and political issues. This year, our topics include: The Future of the Church, Disability and the Church, Multiethnic Perspectives of American Christianity, a conversational debate on the Problem of Evil, and a pre-conference symposium on Women in Leadership!

Registration and More Information Here »


Books, Links, and Resources for Pastors and Church Leaders





Miss an Issue?
Read The Reflectionary Archives!


About the Cover Art: Wesley, Frank, 1923-2002. Were You There? (Left panel), from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.


How to Support This Website

All of the resources and ideas found on Preaching for Change are made freely available to anyone who benefits from them. Some pastors have the budget and means for professional development and creative resources while others do not. For those who can and wish to support this website financially, feel free to do so at the link below.

Feeling Burned Out?

Exhausted? Depleted? Disillusioned? You’re not alone! In January of 2021, 29% of pastors had considered quitting. By March of 2022, that number had risen to 42%. (According to Barna Research) And things aren’t getting any easier. So we’ve developed this 20-question free burnout assessment tool to help you know where you stand.

Get Free Preaching and Leadership Ideas

Fresh sermon ideas, leadership tips, and articles to help you be a better shepherd.

Thanks so much for subscribing!