Overwhelmed Series Prayer for Illumination

Here is the unison prayer for illumination we’ll be using for our Overwhelmed sermon series:

God of all, open our hearts and minds to find your Truth in all places. Teach us your unforced rhythms of grace that our lives might reflect your Wisdom. With Christ as our guide we live and pray. AMEN

And here is the image I made for us to use on our bulletin covers:

overwhelmed cover

Happy planning!

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Overwhelmed Sermon Series

Not sure what to preach on for the rest of the summer? Struggling to plan ahead? Drowning in the work of ministry? Feeling overwhelmed? Well, you’re in the right place.

I’m excited to share with you a new sermon series on feeling overwhelmed. I believe offering peace and rest is one of the great gifts The Church can provide for over-worked culture.

Download it here: Worship Plan for Overwhelmed seriesoverwhelmed ad

I’m using this series as a lead-up to the start of school and our ‘Back to Church Sunday’. It seems like a good time to offer words of comfort and hope for those of us who feel chronically overwhelmed. I will definitely be preaching to myself for these 5 weeks!

I will be sharing prayers and a Call to Worship for each week, so stay tuned for more!

I adapted this theme from Rev. Amy Probst at Mafair UMC in Kingsport TN.

I hope this will enrich your ministry! Blessings & Peace to you!

Pentecost 2017 Communion Liturgy & Call to Worship

 pentecost cover 

The Day of Pentecost will soon be here! This year at my church we’re celebrating Pentecost by having a birthday party for The Church! And since we’re having a party we’ve declared June 4th ‘bring a friend to church Sunday’!

I love that Pentecost falls on a Communion Sunday for us this year. Celebrating Holy Communion seems like the best way to remember and celebrate the birth of Christ’s Church. If you’re looking for a Communion liturgy for Pentecost (with modern language) I’ve got you covered: Pentecost 2017 Communion Liturgy

I’ve also included the Call to Worship we’re using below.
Enjoy celebrating the Spirit this Sunday!

 
The Call
The day of Pentecost has arrived!
   And we are all gathered together in one place
ready to remember and celebrate the birthday of Christ’s Church
   and to receive again the gift of the Holy Spirit!
God, bless us that we will truly be Your Church,
   on fire with Your Holy Spirit!
And work through us in all we do as a church
   that we might truly be a gift to the world.

Artwork by Veronica Dimae, “Pentecost,” 2010.  (Australia)

Call to Worship for Extravagant Generosity

I’m currently preaching a series on Robert Schnase’s book, Five Practices of Fruitful CongregationsThis week we’re on ‘Extravagant Generosity’ and I’m using 2 Corinthians 9:1-2, 5-11 as our scriptural focus.

The Call
Our God, Creator and Sustainer of all life
   instructs us to give generously and cheerfully.
We come, giving the funds, time, and gifts God has given us
   cheerfully and without hesitation or pressure,
Trusting that in our upside-down life of the Gospel,
   our wealth is measured not by what we have but what we give away.
We give joyfully as an act of our faith trusting you great God,
   to bless your church, your people, and your creation through our giving.  

Call to Worship for Radical Hospitality

I’m currently preaching a series on Robert Schnase’s book, Five Practices of Fruitful CongregationsThis week we’re on ‘Radical Hospitality’ and I’m using Luke 15:11-32 as our scriptural focus.

The Call
God rejoices at our presence here today
   and welcomes us home with a celebration.
We come from different places bringing different needs
   and God’s love accepts and provides for us all.
God, help us extend your extravagant welcome
   and share the gift of true Christian hospitality. 
Related image

2017-2018 Worship Planner

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!

Church year

Call to worship for Risk-Taking Mission & Service

I’m currently preaching a series on Robert Schnase’s book, Five Practices of Fruitful CongregationsThis week we’re on ‘Risk-taking Mission and Service’ and I’m using Mark 2:13-17 as our scriptural focus.

The Call

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.