Mike Schreiner and Ken Willard describe ways to get more traction from each week’s sermon by layering its message into other materials that reinforce the teaching — such as weekly devotionals or study guides — and by posting it online.
For most pastors and church staff persons, the weekend service of message and worship demands a disproportionate amount of weekly resources. Yet, sadly, once the final blessing is given, all the time, talent, and treasure that was invested in preparing and executing the service gets hauled out to the proverbial dumpster, and the entire process begins anew. Wouldn’t it be great to get more traction with the message, given all the resources which were allocated and invested?
Layering the same main topic several times in several groupings throughout the week not only increases the chances of intellectual retention but, more importantly, fast-tracks transformational living.
At Morning Star Church, we strategically utilize our weekend messages as the primary driver of discipleship. We do this in several ways:
- We post the weekend message online so folks can watch it and share it with friends and family.
- We invite people to subscribe to a series of three brief weekly devotionals, which are all designed to continue the conversation from the weekend message into everyday life. (We email these on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Monday and Wednesday reinforce the previous weekend’s message; and Friday primes the pump for the upcoming weekend’s message.)
- We also design a study guide with five to seven questions for our life groups to discuss (these groups gather during the week). Not only does this reinforce the weekend teaching, but it also helps drive attendance in weekend worship, since persons will be discussing the message in their midweek gathering.
The result of this alignment is akin to a diffused light becoming focused onto smaller and more defined areas. Instead of a person hearing one message during weekend worship, studying another topic for midweek life group or Bible Study, and diving into something completely different during personal devotion time, our approach utilizes layers of reinforcement.
By layering the same main topic several times in several groupings throughout the week, the light becomes focused like a laser that can cut through steel. It not only increases the chances of intellectual retention but, more importantly, fast-tracks transformational living.
This article is adapted from Stride: Creating a Discipleship Pathway for Your Church (Abingdon Press, 2017) by Mike Schreiner and Ken Willard. Used by permission. The book is available at Cokesbury or Amazon.