In my context as a United Methodist pastor, most new pastoral appointments begin July 1st every year. This means I end up thinking about my worship year running from July through June. It feels right to kind of go along with the school year, so in April or May, I start thinking and praying about what our church needs in worship for the year ahead. Each year I map out the dates and holidays for every Sunday and then I start breaking the year up into series chunks. I thought I’d share the blank plan for anyone wanting to plan your year of worship. Here it is: 2017-2018 Worship Planner
I highlighted first Sundays as we traditionally have communion those weeks. I also bold-ed any date that was a 5th Sunday since we try to do an alternative to a sermon on those dates.
For the first half of my preaching career I was a very happy lectionary preacher. But I was reading a lot about church revitalization and one of the big suggestions was to preach in series. Sermon series engage congregations and keep visitors coming back for more. I started out using lectionary texts to develop series and then I branched out to church-wide book studies. I was very excited to discover the new book, A Preacher’s Guide to Lectionary Sermon Series.
Now that I’ve been preaching in series I don’t think I’ll ever go back! Having a plan to visually see how our sermon series will flow through the year has been awesome. I like to have an ‘open’ week or 2 between series especially after major holidays like Christmas and Easter. Most of all planning ahead has been a blessing to my ministry. I haven’t thought, “Shoot! What am I preaching on this Sunday?!” in years! Plus with a plan like this our music director is able to find pieces that support the themes, making for a beautifully focused worship experience each week.
Happy planning and prayers for all those UM pastors making moves!
I’m currently preaching a series on Robert Schnase’s book, Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations. This week we’re on ‘Risk-taking Mission and Service’ and I’m using Mark 2:13-17 as our scriptural focus.
We come seeking Jesus
our teacher and model for our faith.
We find him at the home of a known sinner
eating dinner with low-lifes and degenerates.
Jesus calls us sinners to follow him
to bring healing and hope to those who need it most.
Two years ago I decided to do a sermon series using popular movies. I thought it would be a fun series to do during the summer. It worked well during that time when people were in and out of worship because it wasn’t a series where each week built off the one before but it still had a unifying theme. We watched the movies together at church on Wednesdays but I made sure to include enough information about the plot in my sermon so seeing the movie wasn’t a requirement. I would also show the trailer or a clip from the movie for the Children’s Time during worship.
I titled the series Summer at the Movies: Finding God on Film and the overarching theme was that God is everywhere and we can find spiritual Truths in seemingly secular places. We also used all secular songs for our special music during this series. As Rob Bell says, “Everything is spiritual.”
The series went over so well I’m now planning it for the third year in a row! Here are my worship plans for the first two years I did the series. Click on the links below to download. Have fun and enjoy! Summer at the Movies worship plans
I’m currently preaching a series on Robert Schnase’s book, Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations. This week we’re looking at passionate worship and I’m using the scripture Acts 2:42-47 as our scriptural focus but this also references Jesus’ words from John 4.
Here is the prayer for illumination we’ll be using for the series we’re doing based on Robert Schnase’s book The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations. It references John 15:1-8 which is the theme scripture I’m using for this series.
Prayer for Illumination
God of love, plant us in the soil of your grace. Nurture us in the Truth of your Word, the vine of everlasting life. Enlighten us with the wisdom of your Spirit, which flows through us today and all days. Abiding in Christ we pray. AMEN