Home Worship Planning Planning Resources Beginning Worship Planners Start Here

Beginning Worship Planners Start Here

Are you new to worship planning or perhaps new to the Discipleship Ministries worship website? Here are some places to start to get you going toward effective planning for worship where you are.

Official United Methodist Worship Resources
All the resources at /lead-your-church/worship are designed primarily to support the official ritual, hymns, and other worship resources of the denomination that have been approved for use in all United Methodist congregations by General Conference. These official resources provide a "strong center" for worship across our diverse church.

Come, Let Us Worship: The Korean-English Bilingual United Methodist Hymnal (Nashville: United Methodist Publishing House, 2001 ISBN 0-687-08513-6). The official Korean United Methodist Hymnal and worship book.

Mil Voces Para Celebrar (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996; ISBN 0-687-43183-2). The official Spanish-language hymnal and worship book.

The United Methodist Hymnal (Nashville: United Methodist Publishing House, 1989). The official English-language (primarily) hymnal for The United Methodist Church. It also contains official basic resources for Sunday worship, sacraments, weddings, services of death and resurrection and the daily office (morning and evening prayer).

The United Methodist Book of Worship (Nashville: United Methodist Publishing House, 1992). The official book of worship for planners and leaders of worship. This volume includes a wide range of resources for worship throughout the Christian year and for observances of special days.

Unofficial United Methodist Worship Resources
These titles broaden the scope of General Conference-approved resources but do not include General Conference approval or the expectation that they be used by all congregations.

The Africana Worshipbook Series, Edited by Valerie Bridgeman and Safiyah Fosua. (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2006, 2007 and 2008, four volumes). A series of collections of worship resources reflecting the Africana traditions (US, Caribbean and African) for each of the three years of the Revised Common Lectionary ( A, B, C), plus a fourth volume of companion essays.Worship resources in the books are also made available on CD for easier use in worship bulletins and projected presentations.

The Faith We Sing (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000.). Contains a significant collection of newer hymns, songs for praise and worship, global music, and old favorites that expand the range of congregational song. Available in several editions: pew, accompaniment, simplified, choral, worship planner, guitar, audio, CD-ROM, MIDI, enlarged pew, hymn festival, compact disc accompaniment, presentation, Braille, American Sign Language.

Fiesta Cristiana (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2003 ISBN 0-687-02159-6). Spanish-language United Methodist book of worship.

Hymns from the Four Winds (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1983 ISBN 0-687-18126-7). A collection of Asian American hymns.

Songs of Zion (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1981 ISBN 0-687-39120-2). A songbook from the African American religious tradition.

Upper Room Worshipbook: Music and Liturgies for Spiritual Formation(Nashville: Upper Room Books, 2006 ISBN 978-0-8358-9874-4). Contains new liturgies for daily prayer and Holy Communion along with a wide selection of new and traditional music in many styles -- Taizé, gospel, world music, and traditional hymns.

Worship & Song(Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2011). A collection of worship and music resources, print and online, not previously published in any print collection for United Methodists.

Zion Still Sings (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007 ISBN 13/UPC 9780687335275). A collection of music from African-American religious traditions.

Theology and Practice of Worship in The United Methodist Church: Official and Commissioned Resources
These resources provide General Conference-approved teaching documents and General Conference commissioned study guides about United Methodist worship and the sacraments.

By Water and the Spirit: A United Methodist Understanding of Baptism.
Official teaching document on baptism.

By Water and the Spirit (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2001, ISBN# 978-0-88177-201-1). A six-session study guide for adults and older youth of the denomination's official teaching document on baptism.

I Belong to God (Akron, OH: Order of Saint Luke Publications, 2007, ISBN# 978-1-878009-58-6). A six-session intergenerational study guide for all ages, infant through senior adult, of the denomination's official teaching document on baptism. From Order of Saint Luke Publications.

This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion

-- An official and comprehensive statement on the theology and practice of Holy Communion
Click here for the document in pdf format.

This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2005. ISBN# 0-88177-457-X). A study guide for adults and older youth of the denomination's official teaching document on Holy Communion.

This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion, A Study Guide for Children and Younger Youth (Akron, OH: Order of Saint Luke Publications, 2006, ISBN# 978-1-878009-54-0). A study guide of the denomination's official teaching document on Holy Communion designed for children and younger youth.

Living into the Mystery: A United Methodist Guide for Celebrating Holy Communion(Discipleship Ministries, 2007). A step-by-step guide describing a diversity of practices for celebrating Holy Communion that are compatible with our church's teaching on the sacrament. Available for download and purchase from the Upper Room Bookstore. Available exclusively from the Upper Room Bookstore.

Sacramental Faithfulness: Guidelines for Receiving People from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons, LDS) --The official teaching document and practices for United Methodist congregations to receive members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as baptized or professing members, approved 2000; renewed 2008.

Theology and Practice of Worship in The United Methodist Church: Unofficial Resources
These resources expand on and support official worship and teaching resources and are recommended to be part of the basic library of worship planners throughout the church.

Come, Come, Everybody Worship (Akron, OH: Order of Saint Luke Publications, 2007 ISBN# 978-1-878009-60-9). A six-week study of the basic pattern of worship in The United Methodist Church that helps children learn ways they can actively participate throughout the entire Sunday service. Includes reproducible learning materials so no "student book" is required.

Companion to The United Methodist Hymnal, edited by Carlton Young (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993 ISBN 0-687-09260-4). Offers background on every hymn tune and text in The United Methodist Hymnal as well as information regarding music in The United Methodist Church.

The Hymns of The United Methodist Hymnal, edited by Diana Sanchez (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989 ISBN 0-687-43149-2). Helps pastors, musicians, and other leaders of worship to appreciate and use the hymns in the hymnal and to discover fresh ways to sing and to accompany them.

In Spirit and Truth: United Methodist Worship for the Emerging Church by Ed and Sarah Phillips. (Akron: OSL Publications, 2005, ISBN 10878009-53-2). A guide to the principles and practices of United Methodist worship.

Patterned by Grace: How Liturgy Shapes Usby Daniel Benedict. (Nashville: Upper Room Books, 2007, ISBN 978-0-8358-9905-5). Explores how the patterns that underlie the rituals of daily prayer, Sunday worship (word and Table), baptism, Holy Communion, and the Christian calendar invite and sustain us on the way of discipleship to Jesus Christ.

United Methodist Altars, Revised Edition, by Hoyt L. Hickman (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1984, 1996 ISBN 0-0687-00562-0). A manual for all who do the work of altar guilds and a resource for pastors and worship chairpersons.

Worship: The Gifts of God from the People of God. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2008 ISBN# 978-0-6876-4901-3). Part of the Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation Series. Provides guidance for worship committees with a particular focus on forming a congregation-wide worship planning team with a longer planning horizon to help worship become more creative and truly the "work of the people." A companion PowerPoint presentation is available.

Worshiping with United Methodists Revised Edition, by Hoyt L. Hickman (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006. ISBN 13/UPC 9780687335268). An introduction to United Methodist worship for personal or group study.

Guidebooks and Resources for Planning Worship
These resources provide hands-on guidance for the process of planning worship in The United Methodist Church and tools for planning worship week to week.

The United Methodist Music and Worship Planner (Nashville: Abingdon Press ISBN varies). Published annually with lectionary readings printed in full text, suggested colors, hymns, anthems, contemporary, instrumental music and prayers.

The United Methodist Program Calendar (United Methodist Communications, 888-862-3242). A helpful tool for planning worship in the context of the larger programs and ministries of the church. Lectionary readings are listed for each Sunday and special day.

The Worship Workshop (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002 ISBN# 9780687046348). Marcia McFee's guidebook for worship planning teams committed to creating worship with deep integrity and creativity.

Online Worship Planning Resources
These online tools have been found valuable by many pastors in The United Methodist Church and beyond. This is not an exhaustive list. For many more links to these kinds of materials, see our weekly Worship Planning Helps at /lead-your-church/worship.

Lectionary Readings and Related Artwork at the Vanderbilt University Divinity School Library Provides full texts of the Revised Common Lectionary readings for every Sunday and major feast day of the church year plus a selection of classic artwork related to the texts each week.

The Text This Week. One of the most comprehensive collections of links to online lectionary-based resources.

Creating Worship with Deep Soul includes a rich variety of planning resources, links to some for free, many others for on an a la carte or annual subscription basis, developed by Marcia McFee.

Online Tools for Creating Worship Orders
www.worshipplanning.com and www.planningcenteronline.com provide both free and subscription versions of web-based, collaborative worship planning tools, including ways to generate and collaboratively edit orders of worship, track the use of songs over time, and work ahead several weeks (in some versions, months) at a time. All provide free trials periods for the full (paid) version. Free versions tend to allow for fewer users, less online storage, and fewer search/tracking features (check each package for details), but could serve a small- or medium-sized congregation's needs quite well.

Sundays and Seasons (Lutheran) is a subscription-based service (based on congregation size) that gives access to all the materials in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's family of congregational singing and liturgy resources (from 1978 to the new 2006 Evangelical Worship hymnal) to create bulletins and projection slides.

LifeWayWorship.com (Southern Baptist) is a worship planning tool, primarily useful for planning worship music sets, with links to every text and tune in the 2008 Baptist Hymnal/Worship Hymnal and its "extended" version, 975 in total. This resource lacks liturgical texts, but includes mp3 samples of all the music to get a sense of how one piece connects to another. It is free to use. You pay only for downloads of mp3s of specific arrangements you select.