Worship Planning

Worship Planning

This resource guide was developed as a supplement to the conference, Meaningful Worship in a Changing Culture, presented by the Center and Calvin Institute for Worship. John Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute, recommends the following worship related resources.

Book of Common Worship.  Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993. 
A repository of classic and new prayer texts and orders of worship for Sunday worship, various services of the Christian year, as well as daily prayer, marriage, and funeral services.  Similar to recently published prayer books in the Episcopal, Methodist, Roman Catholic, and Disciples of Christ traditions, this book is accessible to worship leaders in a variety of traditions, including free-church, evangelical congregations, whose leaders can adapt these texts for local use.

Gaddy, C. Welton and Don W. Nixon.  Worship: A Symphony of the Senses. Volume 1: Resources.  Macon, GA: Smyth and Helwys, 1998.
The book begins with an essay on the importance of the arts and creativity in worship (not understood here as endless innovation but rather an attention to the sensuousness of worship).  Then the authors provide a collection of resources for worship planners for each season of the Christian year, including litanies, prayer texts, hymn suggestions, colors, fabrics, symbols, sermon titles, homiletical themes, organ, choral, and piano literature.  The book is useful also for churches who design all of their own materials, but want to skim other resources as a way of stimulating the imagination.

Reformed Worship.  Grand Rapids, MI: CRC Publications. 
A quarterly periodical with service outlines, sample prayer texts, litanies, musical ideas, artistic designs, as well as articles on various aspects of the history and background of various worship practices. Many congregations keep a complete set of back issues to provide a growing repository of resources for worship planners.  Each issue contains articles that are suitable for use as discussion guides for worship committees.

Webber, Robert.  Planning Blended Worship: The Creative Mixture of Old and New.  Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1998.
 A book with worship planning ideas for each section of the worship service: gathering, Word, Table, and the dismissal.  The book includes lists of songs, suggestions for creative adaptations of traditional practices, and sample texts for prayers and responses.  Each practical idea is presented in the context of Webber's analysis of the importance of recovering the genius of ancient liturgical practices and giving them voice in the language of contemporary culture.

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