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A Month By Month Guide To Understanding Your Listener’s Mindsets

by | Jan 17, 2020 | Church Leadership, Church Revitalization, Communication / Preaching

All great communicators begin with focusing on their listener’s mindset, not their topic. Senior Pastor’s who are great preachers are no exception to this rule.

Below is a guide that our Teaching Team created a few years ago to help us when planning an upcoming sermon series. Over the years we had found that oftentimes what seemed like a great sermon series in January, wasn’t necessarily that great when it had to be preached in August of that year.

While advanced planning is vital, knowing the precise mindset of your listeners 6, 9, or 12 months away is the difference between planning a powerful preaching series, or one that bombs.

This guide is specific to East Coast weather and culture, so you’ll need to modify what’s below to your context.

January

What’s going on? Inside homes, cold, snow (“When is it going to get warm?)
Mood people in? Introspective, solemn
Pace of life? Slow
On their minds? New year, holidays over, debt (holiday bills), personal health
Specials days? MLK Day

February

What’s going on? Inside, cold, snow
Mood people in? Introspective, becoming depressed (seasonal affective)
Pace of life? Slow, but agitated
On their minds? Can’t wait for snow to melt and get outside
Specials days? Valentine’s Day, President’s Day Wkd, SuperBowl

March

What’s going on? Snow leaving, ready for spring, cabin fever
Mood people in? Looking outward, planning for spring and summer
Pace of life? Picking up
On their minds? Cleaning up their yards
Specials days? St. Patrick’s Day, Daylight savings

April

What’s going on? Sun out, warm, outside activities, Easter
Mood people in? Happy, discernible “day” when “switch” to outside activities
Pace of life? Rushed because outdoor activities (esp. kids) kick in
On their minds? Get moving, get in shape (from inertia of winter), taxes
Specials days? Spring Break, Easter, Tax Day, MLB opening day

May

What’s going on? Sort of a lull, already spring, but not yet summer
Mood people are in? Content
Pace of life? Rushed, but mindful of summer coming when they can relax
On their minds? Fav TV shows winding down (sweeps), vacation
Specials days? Mother’s Day, Memorial Day Weekend, College graduations

June

What’s going on? First half – waiting for school to end, Second – summer!
Mood people are in? Excited, ready for a break, change of pace
Pace of life? Slowed down
On their minds? Nothing but getting away (short and long trips)
Specials days? HS graduation, Last day of school, Father’s Day

July

What’s going on? Vacation time
Mood people are in? Relaxed in Margaritaville
Pace of life? Slow
On their minds? Getting away, backyard BBQ’s
Specials days? Fourth of July

August

What’s going on? “Crap, school starts in three weeks”
Mood people are in? Relaxed
Pace of life? Slow, until end of month when it picks up
On their minds? How can I get away before school starts? AC blasting
Specials days? First day of school, NFL starts

September

What’s going on? Summer over/school, back into routine (not comfortable yet)
Mood people are in? Ready for action
Pace of life? Swamped with everything going on, starting routine again
On their minds? Back into routine
Specials days? Labor Day

October

What’s going on? Beautiful fall weather, fall activities, comfortable routine
Mood people are in? Happy
Pace of life? Swamped with everything going on
On their minds? Kids’ activities, enjoying fall weather activities
Specials days? Columbus Day wkd., Halloween parties, Festivals

November

What’s going on? Getting cold, heading toward winter with fewer warm days
Mood people are in? Gradually more introspective, ready for a holiday
Pace of life? Slowing down, but still busy
On their minds? Thanksgiving break, spending time with extended family
Specials days? Daylight savings, Thanksgiving week

December

What’s going on? Christmas is coming
Mood people are in? Excited about the holidays, anxiety
Pace of life? Extra Stressed
On their minds? Buying Christmas gifts, holiday plans and get-togethers
Specials days? Christmas, New Year’s Eve

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Brian Jones

Brian Jones

I am the founding Pastor of Christ’s Church of the Valley in Philadelphia, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, and the author of four books. I’ve been married to my wife Dr. Lisa Jones for thirty years, and together we have three beautiful daughters and a lovable chubby orange cat named MAC. I love hiking, fishing, and backpacking. Our family loves to travel and have become passionate advocates for the rights of the poor and oppressed in developing countries. I’m an INTJ, 5w4, and D/I on various personality tests. I also write practical articles on church leadership and preaching at Senior Pastor Central.

FREE E-Book by Steve Sjogren and Jeff Hoglen

FREE E-Book by Steve Sjogren and Jeff Hoglen

Jeff and I are big fans of quotes. For communicators, a powerful quote that’s well placed will stir your listeners and/or readers. The following are some of our favorites — in fact this is a just a small part of several thousand on hand. Perhaps more quote books will follow… — God’s best to you and your communication gifts — may these be powerful tools in your hands! – Steve Sjogren

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