Easter Sunrise Worship/Egg Hunt!

I hope I’m not the only one behind this year! I thought having finalized my plan for our an outdoor, socially distanced, no-singing, no-sermon(!) Easter Sunrise service others might still need some inspiration for a similar type service. All of my past sunrise services have included singing so without that option this year I wanted to still do something special. It involves a little prep work but nothing too hard! I decided, why not have an egg hunt even for the grown up! So you’ll need at least 8 plastic eggs, some candy if you choose, a printer, and scissors. In the worship plan you’ll see the first two pages are the very informal outline/script. The second two pages have the rest of the Luke 24 split into small readings and number. That’s what you’ll print and cut and put in the eggs along with candy if you choose. I also did some eggs with just candy. So after reading the first part of Luke’s Easter story I’ll instruct everyone to pick up and egg (or 2 depending on how many people come) and then anyone who has a paper in their egg will continue reading the Easter story in order. I’m hoping it will add some fun, interactive-ness so we don’t even notice there’s no singing!

Here’s the worship service and readings to download:

I hope this helps with your last minute preparations! Have a wonderful Easter and a blessed Sabbath rest thereafter!

O Zoom, All Ye Faithful: An Online Christmas Pageant

Here is my offering of a fun resource for churches as we all strive to do ministry in new ways. I’ve been attending all kinds of (free!) webinars from Practical Resources for Churches and got the idea to do a Zoom Christmas Pageant. They shared this great resource from Building Faith with all the how-to and practical suggestions for pulling it off. What I was struggling to find was a script that seemed like it would work for Zoom. So I decided to write one specially made for the platform! One of the great Zoom features we can utilize is their halo filter that places a halo over your head that moves with you! With that in mind, I wrote O Zoom, All Ye Faithful, a Christmas pageant that imagines a meeting of angels planning the birth of Jesus. Download the PDF script here:

You can find the halo filter by hovering over the bottom of your Zoom screen, hovering over the Stop Video button, clicking the small Up arrow, and selecting Choose Video Filter.
This is also the place to set your Virtual Background. You can upload any image to use as a background so I recommend finding some heavenly looking backgrounds and send them to your cast for them to use as their backgrounds.

If you plan on using this script I’d love to know! Comment or send me a message so I can check it out once you record it!

I hope we all can enjoy a different kind of Advent and Christmas this year. I’ll continue to share more useful resources so be sure to subscribe and follow Get Lit Worship Resources on Facebook!
Happy Planning!

Our New Normal online worship series

Well I’m back from parental leave and joining the rest of the church world as we figure out how to continue being a community of faith when we can’t physically be together. As the whole world continues to adjust to our new normal I thought I’d center our online worship around that theme for the month of August. Each week we’ll be considering a different thing we are all working to grow accustomed to.
Check out the complete worship plan here: Our New Normal worship plan

I’ve shortened and adapted our worship to be better suited for online. We have fewer songs but we have the opportunity to begin each service with a ‘Welcome Chat Question’ that people can respond to in the comments of the video. It’s been a great way to keep connected and increase engagement. We pre-record our worship service and publish it as a premiere video on both Facebook and Youtube on Sundays at 10am and then we do a live “coffee hour chat” on Facebook at 11am.

Below are some of the graphics we’ll be using for this series.
May God’s strength, peace, and healing be with us all and unite us across the miles.
Stay safe and happy planning!

Our New Normal 2

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Burying the Alleluia for Lent

alleluiaIn many liturgical traditions the word ‘alleluia’ is purposefully left out of all liturgies and songs used during the season of Lent as a way to honor the solemness of the season. Only then to ring out the Good News on Easter proclaiming, “Christ the Lord is risen today! Alleluia!”

To recognize this tradition many churches have the practice of symbolically burying the alleluia at the start of Lent. We’ve never practiced this tradition at our church before but since we’re spending the season of Lent Growing our Faith in God’s Garden, I thought it would be fun to introduce this practice to our congregation.

Usually, the tradition looks like bringing in a large sign or banner with the word alleluia written on it, explaining that we won’t be using the word again in church until Easter, and then symbolically placing it in a box or even inside the baptismal fount. (This usually happens as the children’s time.) On Easter the paper or banner is brought out of its hiding place and displayed or waved around during worship. I’ve even heard of some churches having lots of little alleluia flags to give to people to wave whenever they hear or say the word during Easter worship. seed paper

I’ve decided, to go along with our theme of growing and plants, we are literally going to bury some alleluias in dirt! I found this seed paper I will write the word alleluia on and then I’ll have the kids bury it in a see-through container during children’s time. But I’m not going to tell them it’s seed paper! So “miraculously” our alleluias will begin to sprout, roots will grow, and by Easter our written alleluias will have grown into nature’s alleluias: flowers! I’m hoping this will also give us a nice, progressing visual for each week of our Growing Faith Lent Series.
Update: the seed paper instructions state you need to soak it over night, so I did a test. I wrote Alleluia on half a sheet and soaked it over night. It has held together and the word Alleluia is still visible. My plan is to soak several sheets over night and take them to church in a ziploc bag so they stay moist. The instructions also say to tear them up before planting so that’s what I will have the kids do during children’s time. You could also have them bury a dry sheet and then dig it back up after church, soak it, tear it, and re-bury/plant it without them knowing!

I will keep posting ideas and resources to support this series so be sure to follow the blog and Get Lit Worship Resources on Facebook so you don’t miss a post!

You can find lots of other resources for Lent throughout the blog.

Happy planning! (And happy planting!)

 

Growing Faith Lent Series

Growing Faith

I’m excited for our sermon series this year for Lent! We’ll be spending the season Growing our Faith by encouraging the same level of care we give to our gardens to be given to our faith as well. We’ll be using a song from The Porter’s Gate Worship Project called We Abide We Abide in You to compliment this theme. I’ll also be utilizing the Palm Sunday Responsive Reading I shared a few years ago in place of a sermon on Palm Sunday. I will continue to share communion liturgies and other resources that support this series so be sure you’re following the blog and Get Lit Worship Resources on Facebook so you don’t miss a post!

Download the worship plan pdf here: Growing Faith Worship Plan

You can find lots of other resources for Lent throughout the blog.

Happy almost Lent and happy planning!

Christmas Sunday & Epiphany Resources

Many of us are still in the thick of Advent 4 and Christmas Eve preparations so I’d like to share some resources and inspiration that might make your life easier and allow you to have some rest post Christmas.

Cookies & Carols Worship Sunday, Dec. 29 at 10am

For Christmas Sunday, we traditionally hold a Christmas carol hymn sing. This year we’re calling it Cookies & Carols and encouraging relaxed attire (PJs even!). We’ll be worshiping in our social hall so we can enjoy our cookies, cocoa, and coffee while we sing. It will be a standard worship service for us with a hymn sing in place of the sermon. But I up the ante a little and ask everyone to answer a question as they make their hymn request. This year’s question will be: What is the best gift you received this year, for Christmas or at any point through the year? 
We’ll start the service with Joy to the World, read Luke 2:25-38, sing Spirit-Child Jesus from Worship & Song #3062, and close with Go, Tell It on the Mountain in the United Methodist Hymnal #251. It’s a wonderful, relaxed service that doesn’t require a sermon! (yay!)

For Epiphany this year, I’m tying in the new year/new decade to think about what unexpected places God is leading us, just as the magi were led to return home by a different route. We’ll be using the traditional magi scripture Matthew 2:1-12. Our music director made the discovery that the song Shine (Heaven Let Your Light Shine Down) by Collective Soul is actually the perfect Epiphany song! We’ll be singing it as a praise song. I also came across this perfect Epiphany poem just today:
Those Hours by Joyce Sutphen

There were moments, hours even,
when it was clear what I

was meant to do, as if
a landscape had revealed itself

in the morning light.
I could see the road

plainly now, imagining myself
walking towards the distant mountains

like a pilgrim in the old stories—
ready to take on any danger,

hapless but always hopeful,
certain that my simple belief

in the light
would be enough.

star wordsIt’s become tradition at my church that on Epiphany everyone receives a Star Word (a word to guide your year written on a star shaped paper). It’s been really fun to see what words people get, how it plays a role in their year, and how it might guide them. I give them to the kids first during children’s time and then have the kids pass them out during the first hymn. We pray over them and then just choose them at random. I encourage everyone to take it home and put it somewhere they’ll see it every day. Follow these links for a list of suggested words and more information about Star Words.

Finally, here is a Call to Worship I adapted and used for Epiphany last year (updated for 2020):
Call to Worship (adapted from Rev. Andy Bryan)

God, we come to worship in this new year hoping it will be better.
Guide our thinking and doing and help us remember:
2019 will be kinder,
if I am kinder.
2019 will be more compassionate,
if I show more compassion.
2019 will be less anxious,
if I offer more grace.
2019 will be more just,
if I advocate for more justice.
2019 will be less contentious,
if I speak more gently.
2019 will be less violent,
if I more actively work for peace.
2019 will be more loving,
 if I demonstrate love more freely.
Guide us by your Light,
that we may bring your Light to the world.

I know there are lots of great Christmas & Epiphany resources out there so feel free to share your favorites as well! Hopefully in our sharing we can help make worship planning easier for us all during this busy time of year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Planning!

House of Bread Prayer for Illumination

Here’s the prayer for illumination that we’ll use each Sunday before the scripture readings during Advent this year. It compliments our Bethlehem House of Bread Advent Worship Series.

Prayer for Illumination
God who is with us, guide us by your Word. Help us to again receive you in the flesh. May the Promised One lead us in wisdom and truth and may we be sustained by Christ who is the Bread of Life. AMEN

There is also a perfect new song for this series from the Porter’s Gate Worship Project called Jesus, Bread of Life (feat. Diana Gameros). We plan to play it each week just before worship begins.

 

Check out the other resources for this series:
The Great Bethlehem Bake-Off Pageant
Bethlehem Advent Bible Study
Advent Wreath Options

The Great Bethlehem Bake-Off Pageant

I think I’m most excited about this component of our Bethlehem House of Bread Advent Worship Series. While this children’s Christmas pageant compliments our theme for Advent this year, I think it would work wonderfully with any Advent theme. Check out this fun and simple Christmas pageant I wrote and feel free to adapt as needed for your setting (you can easily make it longer by adding some carols interspersed throughout). I’d love to know if you do this pageant and see a recording of your version! I’ll share the recording of ours which will be preformed on Advent 4!

Click here to download: The Great Bethlehem Bake-Off Christmas Pageant Skit

Check out my other Advent resources here:
Hanging of the Greens Worship service
All Earth Is Waiting Advent Series
Fear Not Advent Series
The Gift of Yes Advent Series
Advent Wreath liturgy options
Bethlehem Advent Bible Study

Have fun and happy planning!

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Bethlehem Advent Bible Study

This is a first! This is the first time I’m not sharing a liturgy resource but a Bible Study! It’s been many years since I wrote a Bible study but when I couldn’t find what I was looking for I decided I just needed to write it myself. So here it is! This study will nicely accompany the Bethlehem House of Bread Advent worship series we’re doing this year but it would also work well on it’s own. It’s 4 weeks with just a front and back page each week for each participant.

You can download this fun Bible study here: Bethlehem Advent Bible Study

Check out my other Advent resources here:
Hanging of the Greens Worship service
All Earth Is Waiting Advent Worship
Fear Not Advent Series
The Gift of Yes Advent Series
Advent Wreath liturgy options

Enjoy and happy Advent planning!

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Advent Wreath Options

There are lots of liturgy options for Advent wreath lighting during worship and here’s a few more!

One of things I find is missing from our (mainline Protestant) worship service is a time for sharing. Testimonies are powerful for those who share them and hear them. Sharing about our faith is also something we need to practice in the safety and comfort of our churches so we’re ready when the Spirit moves us to share with someone outside of church. To this end, two of the three Advent wreath liturgies below include an opportunity for those leading the liturgy to share something personal related to the themes for each week (hope, peace, joy, and love). One option is the more traditional call and response liturgy. Let me know what you think and if you plan to use or adapt any of them for your Advent worship service this year! Click the links below to download.
Happy planning!

Advent Wreath Litanies – Traditional
Advent Wreath Liturgies – Breathing in Hope, Peace, Joy, & Love 
Advent Wreath Liturgies – Testimonies (We used these to coincide with the All Earth Is Waiting Advent series)

Check my other Advent resources here:
Hanging of the Greens Worship service
Bethlehem House of Bread Advent Worship Series
Fear Not Advent Series
The Gift of Yes Advent Series

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