Maybe as the calendar turns to a new year, you finally got that video editor lined up. You have an increased tech crew even if they are volunteers — but they are faithful and you are no longer troubleshooting all of this technology alone. Dear pastor, this is something to celebrate.
It can be more challenging to find weekly worship resources where you don’t feel like you are starting from scratch every week. It has become increasingly popular to share in the gifts of creatives who are creating music, art, poetry and prayers to tie a whole season together.
There is lots of goodness out there and I want to be sure that you have all of these wonderful gifts at the tips of your fingers for Lent or future planning. I confess to you that I have never used any of these materials as a congregational leader but have witnessed some of their wonder as a worshipper.
Sanctified Art is the first of these kind of package deals that I ever came across. Lots of my dear clergy friends use them and that’s enough of an endorsement for me — but I’ve been delighted to experience their gifts this Advent with my sweet Texas church.
It’s really lovely stuff for a team that describes itself with “dreams to fill the Church with more art, inspiration, creativity, and God-breathed mystery.” Each season, they offer a new theme with original music, poetry, prayers, a printable devotional, sermon starters and graphics. There is even a preacher’s group that meets digitally every week! They are just about to release their newest resources for Lent but you can see the whole catalog of wonders for Lent here. They call their packages bundles and they come in all different shapes and sizes for the needs of every congregation.
Illustrated Ministry is another that has been around for a while. I watched on social media as its founder, Adam Walker Cleveland, began doodling at conferences and soon imagined this whole new ministry. Their resources are not as comprehensive as other packages mostly because they are thinking more about faith formation at home.
That shouldn’t be a strike against them though — because the creativity and thoughtfulness that goes into each of their products is truly wonderful. They don’t offer complete packages like some of these other creative efforts but they do provide really thoughtful materials to engage the inner creativity of every age. All of their resources for Lent can be found here.
This is the Day just launched in the middle of Advent — which seems bold and audacious for two United Church of Christ pastors in a busy, busy season. And that’s exactly what their resources seem to be with a seven week womanist series unlike anything I’ve seen in other packages. They don’t have anything that is particularly designed for Lent yet but these packages are priced so well that it would be well worth your time to check back and see what more wonders appear in their shop.
Barn Geese Worship is another new collaboration among some talented Lutherans. Their good work first caught my eye because they’re funny. They play with the geese theme in such silly and delightful ways.
That creativity extends to the kind of worship curation they share. Like the other packages listed here, they offer special prayers, preaching prompts and hymn suggestions. Unlike the other resources, their good work in available through the Creative Commons License and simply asks of a donation for their many gifts. They are set to release their Lent materials called You Are Here on December 27th. In the meantime, there is a compelling invitation into the series on their homepage.
Update: As planned, the materials for Lent released today but these talented Lutherans also announced the arrival of their new Market Stall. With this new store feature, they are moving into a paid model for their resources — and at very reasonable prices including a discounted rate for clergy of smaller churches that are paying for these assets out of their own funds. So their previous materials are all free but their newer resources including You Are Here is now a paid resource.
enfleshed is unlike any other of these packages and if I’m honest — they are where I’d put my congregational dollars.
All of their liturgical resources are centered on justice-making and body centered. They seek “to create and facilitate ‘spiritual nourishment for collective liberation‘” — and that is where we all need to be right now.
Theirs are prayers that push me and challenge me in all of the right ways though I confess I’ve never had reason or ability to subscribe to liturgy that matters. They don’t have all of the bells and whistles of other packages here. There’s no art or poetry nor are there any musical suggestions but they have a full liturgy for each week and a set of sermon prompts that I can only imagine how good they would be.
Worship Design Studio by the talented Marcia McFee is a long-time favorite of clergy though I’ve never used it myself.
It’s been many things over the years but always been a reliable resource for creative resources for clergy.
It has gone a recent renovation perhaps because Marcia has been busy teaching at San Francisco Theological Seminary. WDS 3.0 is “NOW a private social community platform! You are never alone. You never have to start from scratch.” It’s a flat fee for the whole year but has a ton of perks for this one-time purchase.
SALT Project has been doing digital ministry long before the pandemic. They have been crafting Emmy-winning films that have caught the eye of many clergy so you might already know of their good work including their recent launch of the Theologian’s Almanac to offer weekly commentary on the Revised Common Lectionary over on their blog.
They also don’t offer all of the bells and whistles for your worship planning but they do offer wonderful gifts to inspire a series for the season in their printable resources. They are a resources I have turned to again and again as a pastor and a parent.
Brim Project is a collaboration of a church musician and “self-professed Worship Junkie.” They first created a book together by the same name which led to this expanding ministry of resources for churches of all shapes and sizes.
I confess that this is the one that I know the least about but I am a curious lurker who admires the talents of these two women. There is no hint yet for their plans to Lent that I can see — but hopefully you’ll find their other treasures including a series of free offerings here.
I bet there are other talented souls offering packages to inspire worship. What did I miss? Where else do you turn for inspiration and guidance so you don’t feel like you’re constantly innovating all by yourself, dear pastor?
And yes, I write prayers too but we are in this together — and we need each other. We need each other more than ever.