A lot of planning goes into worship on Wednesdays and Sundays. Scripture lessons need to be chosen and sermons need to be prepared based on those texts. Pieces of liturgy and prayers need to be chosen or written. Hymns and musical selections need to be chosen that fit the scripture and theme of the day. Then, add in a holiday or special celebration like Baptism or Holy Communion, and you've got a full service with a lot to be prepared and planned.
Now, we'd love for YOU to do the planning. Not because we don't want to or love to, we do! But we are the priesthood of ALL believers and planning worship is one of the best ways to learn about worship. So, here you'll find materials and guidance on how to plan a Sunday worship service. You're in charge! And when you're done, we'll work with you to make your worship come to life at PLC on an upcoming Sunday!
1. Read the Scripture for the Day
Below, you'll find the entire liturgical calendar with all four scripture lessons assigned for the given day. The first calendar is for Year A (2019-2020) which concludes November 22nd just before Advent. The second calendar is for Year B (2020-2021) and begins with Advent on November 29th. You should be able to find the dates for any of the upcoming Sundays within these two documents.
2. Choose Hymns
After reading the scripture lessons for the day, consider hymns that may fit with the "theme" of the day. You'll probably notice in reading the Gospel text with all the other texts for the day that a specific message may be trying to be conveyed. You may notice themes like justice or praise, or we may be entering a season like Advent where the theme is focused mainly on that season. The document above has suggestions that may help you zero in on musical selections, or you can find your own in one of the ELW hymnals (if you need one, please contact the church office).
3. Write Prayers
Every Sunday we do something called Prayers of the People or Prayers of Intercession, a series of prayers for the church, the world, and all of God's people. These prayer petitions usually follow a format that goes like this:
A prayer reemphasizing the theme or message of the day
A prayer for the earth and God's creation
A prayer for nations, for justice, for leaders, for the people
A prayer for those who are hurting - ill, experiencing loss, lonely, lost, abandoned
A prayer for the church - local, global, leaders, people
A prayer for those who have died, and our hope in resurrection
Other prayers may be added for specific recognitions in the life of the larger Church and our own congregation (Teacher Recognition, Veterans Day, etc.)
The prayers are usually written in a format that first addresses God in whatever way the writer feels fits. Sometimes it's the same way throughout and sometimes it changes with each petition. The next part of the prayer is something God does or is doing. The final piece of the prayer is something we hope God will inspire within us or help us to do. It ends with, "Lord, in your mercy," and the congregational response of "hear our prayer."
For example: "Holy God, you are the light in our darkness. Guide us into opportunities to share your light with the world. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer."