How Finding Cost-Effective, High Quality Resources for Worship Planning is the Solution You're Looking For
Planning Church Services & Sermon Prep Can Be A Stress-Free Process—Really!
by Daniel D. Maurer, RCL Worship Resources
One of the tasks I always enjoyed when I served as an ELCA (Lutheran) minister in rural western North Dakota was planning a Sunday service. I also especially enjoyed planning special worship services such as for confirmation, graduation, or during Wednesday night lenten prayer sessions.
I guess it had to do with crafting the right words to the prayers and choosing the hymns, but it also had to do with putting together a message that I trusted was one that my congregation needed to hear. Listening for God's voice isn't always easy, and certainly at times can be frustrating, especially with faith communities that are struggling with finances or other pressing issues.
Back in 2000 when I was just beginning and I had recently graduated from seminary, I had to rely on my denomination's publishing house to provide worship-planning resources in order to get everything ready for worship. Nowadays, though, this has changed. Congregational leaders from various denominations including Lutherans, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Methodists and Presbyterians all have more options set before them than ever . . . especially when it comes to downloading resources online.
With the sometimes dizzying and varied choices pastors and/or worship leaders are faced with, the obvious question is where they should turn to effectively plan for worship in their faith context.
Here are some points that all faith leaders need to realize in today's world:
1. You aren't required to get materials from your denomination's publishing house.
This might seem a little obvious, but you'd be surprised how many pastors believe that, since their congregation belongs to a certain denomination, they MUST purchase worship-planning materials from their participating publishing house.
You don't have to!
The key is finding QUALITY resources at a right price. Sure, you can scour the internet to find some free stuff online, but a lot of the material will have dubious theology or low-quality writing.
At RCL Worship Resources, our writers and editors take time to craft the prayers, children's sermons, and other printable resources within our worship-planning packages. What's more, we focus on writing inclusive, gender-neutral language to reflect our progressive theological stance.
Another ironic point is that, since denominational publishing houses have to serve the "middle of the road" congregation, they often cannot push the edges theologically. Our people sometimes need to be challenged, and our resources reflect this attitude.
2. Downloadable church resources—it's where it's at!
No more waiting for the mail to be delivered. All you gotta do is get online, search for what you need and download it to your church's computer. It's as easy as that. Not only is it more straightforward than it's ever been, but it also saves on time and is environmentally responsible.
After you get your resources, you can print as much (or as little) as you need. Some churches are even going all digital in electing to not print bulletins at all, or offering their congregation the option to view a bulletin on a smartphone!
3. Streamlined writing and online resources offer you the best price.
You'll not only be saving your congregation the headache of having to copy and re-print everything from a resource book, but you'll also be getting the resources at a significant discount. That's because publishers of digital resources like RCL Worship Resources don't have the overhead that other more traditional publishing houses do.
Since everything is digitized and conveniently placed to download immediately, you'll be getting the best church resources you can receive at a significant discount. And there's even more, online producers such as RCL Worship Resources often offer multiple bundles to customize your worship service to get exactly what you need.
4. Free Preaching Resources
Last, and perhaps most importantly, RCL Worship Resources will continue to offer free preparation materials for pastors, clergy and preachers as they prepare their weekly message! Rev. Dr. Clint Schnekloth, a regular writer for Patheos and longtime blogger, has prepared content that can help you dig more deeply into the text, look at overarching themes you want to portray, and can simply offer a point-of-reference for your weekly proclamation. See for yourself now and visit weekly—the free links and video resources for preaching will also help you bolster the message you want to get at.