Tenth Sunday After Pentecost 2017 — Planning Notes

August 13, 2017 (Year A)
by Taylor Burton-Edwards

Preaching Hymns Planning Additional Resources


Reading Notes

NRSV texts, artwork and Revised Common Lectionary Prayers for this service are available at the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.
Leccionario en Español, Leccionario Común Revisado: Consulta Sobre Textos Comunes.
Lectionnaire en français, Le Lectionnaire Œcuménique Révisé

Calendar Notes

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost: STEP OUT...INTO FAITH
The color from now until Advent is green, with two exceptions: All Saints Day or Sunday (November 1 or 5)  and Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday (November 26). 

All Month          Back to School Resources
August 13         New Series Launch: Three Steps in the Christian Walk

All Month          Season of Creation (2017 resources forthcoming)
September 4    Labor Day (USA)
September 15-
October 15      Hispanic Heritage Month (USA)

All Month           A Season of Saints (2017 resources forthcoming)
October 1         World Communion Sunday
October 6-8     Children’s Sabbath (2017 resources forthcoming)
October 15       Laity Sunday (2017 resources forthcoming)
October 31       Reformation Day (500th Anniversary)

November 1
       All Saints Day
November 3       World Community Day
November 5       All Saints Sunday
                            Daylight Saving Time Change Song (Fall)
November 11     Veterans Day
November 12    Organ and Tissue Donor Sunday
                           International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
November 19    Bible Sunday (National Bible Week November 19-26)
November 23    Thanksgiving Day
November 26    Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday
                           United Methodist Student Day

December 1      World AIDS Day
December 3      Advent-Christmas Series (Year B) Begins (Forthcoming)
December 21    
Longest Night/Blue Christmas
December 24    Christmas Eve (evening)
December 25    
Christmas Day
December 26    Kwanzaa
December 31    Watch Night/New Year’s Eve


January 1        New Year’s Day/Holy Name of Jesus
January 7        Epiphany Sunday AND Baptism of the Lord
                         Season after Epiphany Series Begins (Forthcoming)
January 11      
Human Trafficking Awareness Day
January 14      Human Relations Day (Special Sunday with Offering)
January 15      
Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday
January 18-25 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 21      Ecumenical Sunday

For Your Planning Team: STEP OUT...Into Faith

In the Series and Launching the Next Series

We come today to the beginning of a new, three weeks series “#ThreeSteps in a Christian’s Walk.” This series picks up in Romans where “The Apostle’s Tale” series left off.

Generally speaking, effective three part series are of two types. One is “three step series,” a brief journey that moves in stepwise fashion, each step continuing in the direction of the one before it to a final conclusion, like a three act play. The other is a “three point series,” where three different, if related, points are made and summarized at series end.

Despite its name, “#ThreeSteps in a Christian’s Walk,” this series is a three point series. At this point in the summer (in the Northern hemisphere), folks in your church may be in and out enough between vacations and school starting or about to start that trying to do a three step series may be more frustrating than helpful. While you should certainly briefly summarize the main point of each preceding weeks in the services after today, you don’t have to try to make them flow “logically” or energy-wise into one another. Each can be relatively self-contained, it’s own high point, week after week.

Part of what will make the series coherent is the flow out of the just completed series. We concluded “The Apostle’s Tale” metaphorically on the “solid ground” of God’s promises. The question for this series is how we “move” or “step” on this ground. We “step out” (this week), “step toward” (next week), and “step forth” (week 3). Each of these kinds of steps is different and involves us with different people and relationships.

Visually, in addition to the basic .jpg files offered for your use, the series graphic could be three same colored (maybe black)  sets of shoeprints, each heading in a slightly different direction, on a simple white background, with a different one of the footprints given a different color each week while holding the other two black that week.  Or, if you want to go a bit more colorful and complicated, for this first week, also use an image of a precarious looking footbridge over a chasm or a rushing river, such as this one in Pakistan.  

In terms of music, consider using “Step by Step” (Worship & Song 3004, CCLI #915125 for the longer version popularized by Rich Mullins called “Sometimes by Step”) as a theme song you may use in a different way each week. For today, in a more modern (or even country bluesy side), also think about using Chris Falson’s “I Walk by Faith” (CCLI # 464834) or for a more folky sound, Jeremy Camp’s “Walk by Faith” (CCLI # 3903041), or for a more hymnic feel, Henry Alford’s “We Walk by Faith” (TFWS 2196).

Additional Resources

2014 Planning Helps for these readings

Ecumenical Prayer Cycle: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger


Categories: Year A, Tenth Sunday After the Pentecost — August 13, 2017

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