We had so much fun with our recent sermon series on the theology of Mister Rogers. We kicked it off with the documentary about Fred Rogers called Won’t You Be My Neighbor? We also included a special Sunday Prayer Walk where we had a shortened worship service and then went out to pray for the families in our neighborhood. We also brought out the puppets a la Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for children’s time each week. You can find my original puppet skits here: Puppet Skit on Loving our Neighbors Puppet Skit on Feelings Puppet Skit on Losing Puppet Skit on Love
Here’s the prayer for illumination I wrote for the series: God of our global neighborhood, guide us in your Truth and teach us again the lessons we need to learn. Through your loving instruction, may we be good neighbors and follow in the Way of Christ. AMEN
Last year I heard about a pastor doing a long series on Holy Ghost stories in the bible. I loved the idea but wanted something shorter and more experiential. So, I developed a 4-week series on the ways we experience the Holy Spirit. It was a huge hit! I invited different people to share their own Holy Ghost stories during worship which really added to series. We did it as a summer series and tied it to telling ghost stories around the campfire, but it would also work great for an October series leading up to Halloween/All Saints.
Health and fitness has become its own culture and much like the Church, these programs seek to help people tackle the challenges of personal growth and improvement. Any good plan will tell you it’s not a quick fix, it’s not a diet, but learning a new way of life that often means unlearning old habits and beliefs.
Lent is the perfect time to train in our faith. This series approaches the journey of spiritual growth like a health and fitness plan for the soul. Using the theme of ‘taking up our cross daily’ and following Jesus, we’ll be exploring daily practices for spiritual growth while balancing Christ’s call to bear our crosses with his promise that his ‘yoke is easy’ and his ‘burden is light’.
Download the entire 7-week worship plan here: Cross Fit Faith Lenten Worship Plan
I developed this 7-week sermon series for our church to help us engage with what can often be some divisive topics. Many people in our churches likely fall into the category of people condemned in the Bible, myself included. We’re ‘All in the Family’ already. So how do we reconcile those condemning scriptures with the message and example of an all-loving Jesus? The first two weeks of this series lay the groundwork for the deeper discussions of tattoos, divorce, wealth, female clergy, and same-sex marriage.
If you’re looking for inspiration on tackling the tough issues in worship, download the worship plan here: All in the Family worship plan
We’ve decked our sanctuary with a chain of paper people and found a similar image for our bulletin cover. I’m planning on having us sing We Are Family at least once before the series is over! Bringing some fun into worship is always awesome but especially important for a series like this.
As I was preparing for Advent, I was struck by the various characters in the Christmas story and how they all gave us a great gift by saying “yes” to God. God gave us all the greatest gift in becoming one of us. But just like an unopened gift, we have to say ‘yes’ and accept this great gift God gives. Our series this Advent will help us consider how we receive and give the gift of ‘yes’.
As United Methodists, our mission is to “Make disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world.” While that sounds great, few of us know how or feel equipped to ‘make a disciple’. If we really want to help people find a relationship with our Creator then what we can do first is be their friend! So we’re re-framing our mission and breaking it down into 4 parts for this month-long series: Make a friend; Be a friend; Bring a friend; Support a friend.
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!
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!
This year the leadership team at our church read Robert Schnase’s book The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregationsand we wanted to share the great information and inspiration he provides with the rest of the congregation. I decided to use the season of Easter to preach a series on this book. Focusing on these five practices will help us prepare for the big event we had planned on Pentecost. Pentecost is traditionally known as the birthday of The Church so we thought, let’s throw a big birthday party for The Church and use Pentecost as our ‘bring a friend to church’ Sunday!
You can download my worship plan for the series here: Five Practices Worship Plan
I will be posting the prayers and Call to Worships we use in the weeks ahead.