Back to Search

Worship Planning

These resources will guide congregations in effective planning for worship services and programs.


6 Resources
From the Staff From the Staff
Talking About Racism
Many congregations are looking for resources to help them talk about racism. White congregations...
From the Staff From the Staff
Creating a Good Virtual Worship Experience
I’ve “attended” several synagogue and church worship services over the last...
From the Staff From the Staff
Program Planning and Congregational Learning
Your congregation is likely working on something new right now. You may be exploring the...
From the Staff From the Staff
Leadership and Management
Many congregational leaders know the importance of clear mission and vision statements. However,...
Projects That Matter: Successful Planning and Evaluation for Religious Organizations
This book describes a six-step process for designing and implementing a project evaluation,...
How Your Congregation Learns: The Learning Journey from Challenge to Achievement
This resource lays out a process for congregational leaders to move from identifying a...


Tim Shapiro

Tim Shapiro is the Indianapolis Center’s president. He began serving the Center in 2003 after 18 years in pastoral ministry. For 14 years, Tim served Westminster Presbyterian Church in Xenia, Ohio. Prior to his pastorate at Westminster, he was pastor of Bethlehem Presbyterian Church in Logansport, Indiana. He holds degrees from Purdue University and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Tim’s interest in how congregations learn to do new things is represented in his book How Your Congregation LearnsAfter his extensive work on the Center’s Sacred Space initiative, Tim co-authored the book Holy Places: Matching Sacred Space with Mission and MessageHe has also authored several articles, including Applying Positive Deviance and The Congregation of Theological Coherence.

Worship Planning Resources

Religious leaders of congregations in the modern era understand the need to keep up with changes taking place in society. People can be seen as sometimes having a shorter attention span, they might also have more pulls on their time, and it can often seem to be nearly impossible for people to completely disconnect from school or work. Because they are always connected, there might never be a good opportunity to sit down and be at peace. With this in mind, if the religious leader would like to keep people interested in what they have to say, then they may need to adjust their worship sessions accordingly. This is where worship planning resources can be helpful.

When looking for a way to make worship planning sessions a little bit more efficient, it might prove to be beneficial to take advantage of worship planning resources. There are plenty of resources available out there, including worship planning books. There are also articles, websites, organizations, and other media to fit the needs of congregations and their leaders in their various traditions. For example, religious leaders will probably want to start with their religious text. Across all sorts of beliefs and denominations, there exist plenty of religious texts that are broken up by the corresponding lesson that they communicate. Therefore, it might be good for these leaders to take a look at some of these sections and then use them to help plan their next worship session, as these can serve to form the foundation of their next sermon.

Naturally, there are other worship planning resources out there, as well. For instance, on the internet, one can find countless videos of religious leaders giving worship sessions on a wide variety of topics. And while religious leaders do not necessarily have to copy these other peoples’ worship sessions specifically, they can still look to them as a source of inspiration. From there, they can take their worship sessions and modify them to meet the specific needs of their own congregation.

Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with religious leaders facing a few challenges on the road to forming their next worship session. If they run into these issues, it may be helpful to just take a few minutes to review some of the resources that are out there. Then, they might consider the needs of their congregation. Perhaps they have had members of the group come to them for assistance with specific issues. This could help guide them, in this case, if they are looking for a topic to cover for their next worship session. Finally, they can also make use of valuable resources, templates, and examples out there that exist to help leaders figure out how they are going to develop their next worship session.

Worship Resources

In addition to using worship ideas to help plan their next worship session, it may also be a good idea for religious leaders to think about some of the worship resources that their congregation might benefit from. For example, a lot of worship sessions today can often tend to involve music. Of course, if a congregation is planning to incorporate music into their worship session, they may need to first make sure that they have the right equipment. To this end, it may be good to have them speak with the band and see if there is anything that they need. For instance, the band may be in need of new instruments, in order to orchestrate the next worship session. Or, the band might be in need of new speakers that can efficiently reach all the members of the congregation while they are playing. They might also need new lights, new microphones, or new sheet music so that they can effectively sing and fill the entire building. In some situations, a congregation might even need to install something called “baffles”, to help protect the structure of the building itself.

In addition, it may be good to think about using video equipment, as a lot of worship sessions today are able to take advantage of videos that are posted on the internet. This can also represent a great chance for the crew to take a few minutes to have a sip of water and moisten their vocal cords. Of course, a congregation is only going to be able to take full advantage of this if they have the appropriate video equipment. Perhaps one of the key pieces of equipment a congregation might want to consider investing in is a video projector. It might be good to also look into getting multiple video projectors, so that video can be displayed on multiple walls throughout the session, allowing everyone to access it.

When it comes to worship services, there are other resources that leadership might want to include, as well. For instance, if they are leading a worship service specifically for children, then they might find themselves needing a way to keep these kids interested. As an example, it might be helpful in this case to distribute pieces of paper with the information for the worship session on it, so that the kids can follow along. Or, they might even want to distribute worksheets and have the kids still come out as a worship session unfolds. No matter what type of congregation they lead, it can be good for religious leaders to ensure that they have the proper resources at their disposal. That way, they will be able to keep their congregation involved. When it comes to worship resources, it can sometimes be helpful to try and plan ahead.

Lectionary Worship Resources

There may simply be no way around it: society has changed significantly over the past few decades - and religious leaders everywhere might sometimes find themselves in need of assistance in finding specific passages or text from sacred books around which they can plan their worship sessions. It can be good for them to know that there is no shame in this and that they are not alone. Fortunately, there are plenty of lectionary worship resources available out there that can help them to find the right text around which they can begin to structure their next worship session.

When it comes to resources for lectionary worship leaders, one of the first places they could consider checking is their mobile device. In fact, there is a good chance that they may even already have one or more sacred texts on their mobile device as-is. Moreover, there also exist all sorts of handy mobile applications that can help them to go through the sacred texts quickly. And while they will probably have the sacred texts just about memorized, these applications can still help to group-specific passages together, allowing them to communicate important messages to the congregation through their sermons. It may be helpful to consider putting these mobile applications to use, in the process of finding the right passages.

Of course, there are other resources available as well. If religious leaders do not like taking advantage of screens, then they can instead use books that have been specifically designed for them. For example, they may want to use sacred texts that have footnotes in them. Then, can take advantage of the footnotes and use them to guide them while they read through the sacred texts. These footnotes can potentially be used to help figure out how they are going to plan their next sermon.

Finally, they can also reach out to other worship leaders for help. If, for instance, they have a topic coming up soon, and they don't really know how to plan a sermon around it, they might be able to talk to other worship leaders and see what they have done. For example, one leader may have a sermon coming up in the near future that focuses on the subject of building relationships with people from different cultures. If they aren't entirely sure how to approach this using sacred texts, they might do well to simply try and reach out to some other religious leaders, use the internet, and watch a few videos. These might be able to serve as a good source of inspiration, enabling them to now plan their next sermon effectively. Perhaps one of the main things they should keep in mind is the fact that they do not have to go through this alone, and that there is always someone out there who can lend a helping hand.

Worship Service Resources

If worship leaders would like to help keep their congregation interested, then it might be a good idea to get creative during their sermon. While there is always going to be a place for a key message, there may also exist a need to keep the congregation interested. Therefore, it can often be helpful to try and think outside the box, when thinking about worship service resources.

When it comes to worship leader resources, it might be worth thinking about the size of the room itself. Remember, the people at the back are likely going to have a hard time hearing the leader speak. If leadership wants to keep them involved, they may have to reach out to them, in this regard. It might be a good idea to think about using surround sound speakers to help bring the session to life, even in the back of the room. If the group uses surround sound speakers, then the people at the back are not likely to have a hard time hearing the sermon. That way, they may be able to keep interested, as well as feel encouraged to come back again in the future.

If the congregation is taking place within a particularly large room, then it may be good to take advantage of TV screens, as well. Audio and video equipment can come in many shapes and forms, and if leadership believes that the people in the back are going to have a hard time seeing the worship leader, then they may want to put up a few TV screens to help with this. Then, they can take advantage of closed-circuit television and allow the people at the back of the room to watch the speaker as they deliver their sermon. This can be yet another key way in which religious groups can work to help bring their worship service to everyone in attendance.

Lastly, there are several other worship resources that can potentially be put to good use as well. For example, the group may want to consider putting numbers of their leadership team to use during the sermon. They could be posted on the sides of the room, as the leader is delivering their sermon. Then, if someone has a question or concern, one of the members of the leadership team can be there, and able to help answer them. This could be a great way to help the religious organization or church stand out from the crowd in a positive way. If the group’s goal is to keep their congregation involved, it may very well serve them to try and make sure that they are truly taking advantage of all of the resources they have at their disposal.

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.