People frequently ask me about resources for readings, prayers, and other spoken texts for worship services. At my church Sojourn, our worship service planners and even our songwriters use The Worship Sourcebook, published by The Calvin Institute Of Christian Worship (editors Emily Brink and John Witvliet).
This 800+ page reference book includes sample service readings for every standard element of a worship service (such as the Call To Worship, Offering, Lord’s Supper and Benediction) and a section on central themes of the Christian faith, drawn from the Nicene creed and the Christian Calendar.
For instance, say you want to plan Advent-themed worship services in the four weeks before Christmas. The Advent section of The Worship Sourcebook includes over 40 pages of material, including an explanation of Advent, scriptures and statements of faith applying to the theme of Advent, and readings for Advent worship services, categorized in sections like:
Call To Worship
Opening Responses (including the Advent Candle Lighting)
Prayers of Confession
Assurance of Pardon
Prayers for Tithes/Offering
Prayer of Thanksgiving for the coming Messiah
and more. You’ll find similar sections for Christmas, Lent, Easter, and for days like “Trinity Sunday” (a great chance to teach the doctrine of the Trinity while leading your people in worship). You can include these readings word-for-word in your service, or you can adapt the language to suit your congregation. At my church Sojourn, we’ve done both.
I mentioned that some of our church songwriters also use The Worship Sourcebook for ideas and inspiration. Say you want to write a new song for Easter, but you’re stuck on what to say. Just look in the Easter section of The Worship Sourcebook and you’ll find so many ideas that you may end up writing enough Easter songs to fill an album.