Friday, July 26, 2013

Worship and Liturgy Resources - The Essentials

Yesterday, I completed the whirl-wind educational experience known as "Licensing School", a big step in the UMC on the road to ordination; upon completion and appointment by the Bishop you are bestowed the title "Licensed Local Pastor".  It is now a required step for all that are moving onto Elder or Deacon, but for many becoming a LLP is actually the goal and they continue their education through Course of Study.

There were thirty or so folks in class, most from Central Texas, but others from Southwest Texas and one from the North Texas Conference.  All of us are serving in a variety of circumstance, many as Lay Supply in smaller churches already, some in larger churches serving in youth, young adult, children, and music departments waiting for appointment or just taking the class as part of the ordination track while in seminary, others serve as volunteers and unpaid staff.

Most discussions were panel-led with some great pastors and laity serving in the CTCUMC.  After attending, one thing I felt was needed was a list of essential resources for worship ministry.  Nothing frilly or overly theological (you seminarians and fellow liturgy nerds know what I mean).  Just good resources for the folks who don't have time right now to dig into the heavier things while they barely have time to prepare a sermon, much less worship plan.

It'll blow your mind how many quarter and half-time supply pastors we have serving while holding down one or two other jobs to support a call to ministry.  I met several, and they are my new heroes.  I also understand, more than ever, how fortunate I am to have landed in a great full-time job, surrounded by stellar mentors who pour into me every day.

So, here's my list of essentials.  What would you add?

Books

United Methodist Book of Worship (1989)
Goes without saying, but still needs to be said.

Worship and Song (Liturgies and Prayers) (2011)
This is the latest hymnal supplement adopted by the United Methodist Church.  A great resource for seasonal and topical calls to worship, offertory prayers, corporate prayers, confessions, and new creeds.  If you're going to buy this one, it's probably good just to go ahead and purchase the leader's version as well, but this volume of just liturgy resources is cheap.

Christian Year, Christ’s Time for the Church
A seminary level book that’s completely accessible.  Stookey breaks down each season of the church year. Great to read as a whole or just as prep for upcoming worship planning.  Before planning worship for any season, I choose the chapter from this book to wrap my head around the task.

The New Handbook of the Christian Year
A comprehensive UMC resource breaking down the Christian year, complete with liturgy and worship suggestions.

Upper Room Worship Book
A great resource for different types of liturgies (daily prayer, evening prayer, healing services).  Tons of music and sung psalter with a wealth of world, traditional, and ‘contemporary’ music.

Websites

GBOD Worship
Predominantly oriented towards lectionary preaching churches, there are resources for each week including sermon helps (with great ideas towards building lectionary-based sermon series), and hymn suggestions with semi-contemporary resources.

Ministry Matters
A UMC website with fantastic worship resources (among other practical things), click the worship tab for worship resources.  For each week of the lectionary, there are calls to worship, offertory prayers, etc.  Yearly subscription is $99 for access to the online library (worth it)

Worship Together
One of the best contemporary music resource sites out there, it brings together artists of the Passion Movement, Hillsong and many others.  It offers a whole lot of free stuff, including mp3 downloads of the most recent songs by their artists, including song stories.

CCLI - www.ccli.com
A music licensing company, with avenues for video and streaming licenses as well.  You have to have a license to perform anything not in one of our hymnals (or anthems that have been purchased by the church) - or you could get sued.