How do you manage your sermon database and plan your sermon calendar?

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Phil Gons (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Jul 14 2020 11:53 PM

How do you keep track of your past sermons? In a spreadsheet? In some other database tool like Access? In folders? Locally? In the cloud?

How do you plan your future sermon calendar? Same way?

If you organize your past and future in a spreadsheet (or can export to a spreadsheet), would you be willing to share yours with me (at If not, would you describe your systems for managing your archive and your calendar?


Edited to include sermon calendar planning in addition to sermon archive management.

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 15 2020 12:00 AM

Hi Phil

I don’t really have a good system for this.

Three or four times a year I produce a preaching plan for the next quarter or so - typically in a Word Document.

Then, every so often, I update a summary document showing all the sermons preached / series covered over the years.

It’s not great but it does what I need it to do.


Posts 62
Rob Bruce | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 15 2020 5:59 AM


I keep them in folders by year and series. They have the text listed at the top with liturgical date, calendar date. I use spotlight to find them for the most part. I have also turned the sermons that I wrote prior to the sermon editor in personal books by year. Of course, they show up in sermon report.

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 15 2020 8:14 AM

I emailed the documents to Phil, but for the benefit of Forum users, here is what I replied.


              I have been forced to change over the years. Early in my ministry I used a shareware program that was based upon a database format called SermonFile. When the old installer would no longer work in 32 or 64-bit operating systems, I had a friend convert the data to an Access database (see attached) – but it is clunky,

               I use an Excel Spreadsheet (see attached) for planning series with a new tab for each year, which has become a sort of archive.

               I assign an ordered # to each sermon, keep a row of binders with old sermons, and put the sermon number into my metadata in Sermon Document in the “Private Notes” Field. I also maintain an archive grouped with a folder for each series that included the numbered Word doc plus any media that I used as illustrations or marketing/promotion in that series.

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Posts 3268
Phil Gons (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 15 2020 11:16 AM

Thanks, all. I appreciate the input. Anyone else? I could use a few more examples. Don't worry if it's not pretty. :)

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Ryland Brown | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 15 2020 11:56 AM

I’ll send you a good drive link to your email.

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Phil Gons (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 15 2020 12:19 PM

Ryland Brown:
I’ll send you a good drive link to your email.

Got it. Thank you!

Posts 3268
Phil Gons (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 15 2020 12:23 PM

One additional note: I'd also love to see your sermon planning documents. I'm interesting in learning more about both (1) how you keep track of what you've already preached and (2) how you plan what you're going to preach. Sample documents much appreciated.

Posts 42
Leigh Johnson | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 15 2020 1:43 PM

Hi Phil,

I use a combination of Notes and Personal Books.  First I create a note anchored to the passage, enter my preparation material with date and sermon title at the top.  I then tag the note with topics and any other info I might want to search on.  The note marks the text so whenever I look at a passage I can see if I've preached on it.  Hovering over the note icon shows me when.  The actual sermon manuscripts are turned into a personal book with each sermon hyperlinked to the sermon title in the note so I can go right to the sermon from the note.  At this point there are over 20 years worth of sermons.

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 15 2020 1:46 PM

Phil Gons (Faithlife):
How do you keep track of your past sermons?

Folders by Bible book, along with Default Folder favorites.

Phil Gons (Faithlife):
How do you plan your future sermon calendar?

Since I preach through a Bible Book, I just take the next passage.

I prepare the sermons in MS Word, using a Sermon  Format template. I could not make  the sermon workflows work for me, and they clutter the Notes.

I preach from an outline, not a manuscript.

Posts 2580
GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 15 2020 4:22 PM

My life and methods are likely not standard.

I sort old sermons in folders by

  • Year
  • "Foray" (by country and city)
  • Topic

I use Word for my prep and notes, and preach/teach from a PDF outline on my iPad or computer or printed paper.  I am not a fan of Power Point but occasionally use it. I keep trying to switch to Logos, but always come up short having time to learn what I need to use Logos confidently--it's an old dog new tricks thing.  

I preach topically based on requests or needs in different geographical regions. While I have preached through an entire book, I seldom do because I don't stay in one place long enough to do so.

  1. My prep method is to read a text passage, reread, take copious notes (questions, insights, key thoughts not to miss) and then organize my mess into a sermon outline.
  2. Then I check details in commentaries and Lexicons to be sure I am not off plumb. I usually get distracted by endless rabbit trails, but that is part of the personal reward for the work. 
  3. I sometimes use translators, so I spend time getting familiar with the underlying languages of key concepts, and being sure I can say things in ways a translator is likely to understand and translate well.
  4. Practice practice practice the message in my mind.
  5. Deliver, and then hope my wife comments that she liked it. 
Posts 62
Rob Bruce | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 15 2020 7:00 PM

I plan just about a year and advance. But that changes. As you cans see this is revision 10.

3225.Preaching Plan 2020Rev.10docx.docx

Posts 1875
Alan Macgregor | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 16 2020 7:42 AM

Here is mine from last year.I have been doing it this way for about 15 years. It works for me.  I use Apple Pages as my WP, but I have exported it as a PDF. Hope it helps.


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Hans van den Herik | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 22 2020 8:54 AM

Here is my contribution.

I have build a database of all my delivered sermons in Filemaker with 3320 records and it works perfectly. Sorting by place, date, event, Christian holidays etc.

I've also a database for upcoming services.

I have a schedule for my upcoming services in OneNote. All my sermons are in Word-format. Sometimes I write them in Logos. But I export them to Word.

Specially, I would like to write my college lectures in the Sermon Editor and to schedule my lectures, integrating them with my many Logos notes and Logos research


Posts 264
Jim Erwin | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 29 2020 9:57 AM

I use Logos Notes to plan my sermons out. 

I assign a notebook entitled Sermons (Year) and then assign each note to a month of the year. I write out the holidays for each month and then I plug in a series of sermons (usually for the month). 

I try to have a Bible book series about twice a year (one in the summer and one for the fall or spring.) My other series are a mix of two-to-four week long series based sometimes on the lectionary I am reading through or perhaps the month's theme (February is usually love, May-June is usually family, December is Advent, etc.) 

I write notes for these potential sermons in advance and use a grey circle note that becomes a gold circle when the sermon has been preached. 

I have a system for notes that allows me to reflect and write on various topics and lectionary readings. 

I complete the sermon in LibreOffice, copy them and post them to a blog, and recopy the completed sermon back to a Logos note (change the color from silver to gold). These completed sermons include footnotes to the resources I used in the sermon. 

At the same time, I create a Clippings document of the resources and illustrations, stories, and ideas I used for the sermon (with the name of the text followed by Sermon Plan). 

I also create slides from Proclaim and save that too. I complete this by using LESSONMaker to make a set of questions for small group discussion based upon the sermon. All of these files are saved in a Dropbox folder that is catalogued by Bible book. 

The folder title is (Bible Book and Verse Sermon Title Date Location) - a postmodern pastor in a digital world

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Mike Binks | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 29 2020 10:15 AM

I have a simple numbers document with columns

Book, Chapter, Start (Verse), Finish (Verse), Location (of church where preached), Date, Notes, Lectionary Date, Lectionary Year.

I then have a folder on my hard drive... Services – Church (where preached) – Date (in international format)

Most of the folders under date have documents, Order of Service, Running Order, and Sermon Notes. I also keep copies of visuals used and other resources.

I keep the presentations in Proclaim again filed in date order (international format)

tootle pip


How to get logs and post them. (now tagging post-apocalyptic fiction as current affairs)

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