I Recommend..: Worship Leaders List Their Favorite Planning Resources

Reformed Worship asked eleven pastors and worship leaders which resources they use most often when planning worship services. The group included eight pastors, one college professor, and tivo seminary professors, representing three denominations: the Christian Reformed Church , Reformed Church in America , and Presbyterian Church (USA) The variety and diversity of responses was interesting. Only a few resources were named by more than one person; they are indicated with an asterisk (*). Comments that several respondents added to their recommendations are included in italics.


Gathering. Unit for Worship, Mission, and Evangelism, Division of Mission in Canada, The United Church of Canada, 85 St. Clair Ave East, Toronto, ON M4T 1M8. Includes comments on the Bible lessons and suggestions for appropriate hymns, choral anthems, and related organ music. Often includes suggestions for involving children.

*Handbook of the Christian Year. Hickman, Hoyt, et al, editors. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1986. Includes complete services with historical backgrounds for the entire church year.

Minister's Annual Manual for Preaching and Worship Planning, The. Lois and Manfred Hoick, Jr. Austin, TX: Church Management, Inc., 1989.

Sourcebook Series, The (Advent, Christmas, Triduum, Easter). The Archdiocese of Chicago. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications.

To Celebrate: Reshaping Holidays & Rites of Passage. Ellenwood, GA: Alternatives, 1987. Includes ideas for celebrations both at home with the family and with inter generational groups within the church. Many of these ideas can be incorporated in creative worship.


*Bread for the Journey and Flames of the Spirit. Ruth Duck. New York: Pilgrim Press, 1981,1985. Two collections of worship resources, many keyed to the lectionary.

Common Lectionary. New York: Church Hymnal Corp., 1983. Use as a resource for collating various Scripture readings and Psalm selections.

Fresh Winds of the Spirit. Lavon Bayler. New York: Pilgrim Press, 1986.

"Handbook for the Common Lectionary. Peter C. Bower, ed. Philadelphia: Geneva Press, 1987. Contains brief abstracts of the lessons for the day with suggested metrical Psalms, hymns, and anthems.

Minister's Annual Manual for Preaching and Worship Planning, The. Lois and Manfred Hoick, Jr. Austin, TX: Church Management, Inc., 1989.

*Preaching The New Common Lectionary. Fred B. Craddock, et al. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1986. This set has three volumes for each of the three years covered by the lectionary. It usually offers excellent exegetical material on the texts.

When We Gather. James G. Kirk. Philadelphia: The Geneva Press, 1985.

Whispers of God. Lavon Bayler. New York: The Pilgrim Press, 1987. (Years A, B, C)

Worship Resource. Flora and Wayne Irwin Lift. Byron, CA: Pulpit Resource, Inc. One volume for each year of the lectionary cycle. Includes responsorial psalms, introits, doxologies, offertories, and hymn suggestions for each Sunday.


Abound in Hope. Multiply the Gift. Ann Weems. These two booklets, put out by the Mission Funding Unit of the PC (USA), include liturgical material with a stewardship focus.

All Desires Known. Janet Morley. Wilton, CT: Morehouse-Barlow Co., Inc., 1988.

* All The Seasons of Mercy. Diane Karay Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1987. Prayers and litanies keyed to the lectionary.

Book of Alternative Services, The. Toronto: Anglican Book Centre, 1985.

*Book of Common Prayer, The. New York: Church Hymnal Corp., 1979.

Canticles and Gathering Prayers. John P. and Suzanne Toolan Mossi. Winona, MN: St. Mary's Press, Christian Brothers Publications, 1989.

Contemporary Prayers for Public Worship and More Contemporary Prayers. Carl Micklem, ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1967 and 1970.

*Daily Prayer: Supplemental Liturgical Resource 5. Office of Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1987. Includes the best of the Taize community prayer book Praise God, which is now out of print, along with many other resources.

*Diary of Private Prayer, A. John Bailie. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1949.

Lectionary Worship Aids. (Series A) Heth H. Corl. Lima, OH: C.S.S. Publishing, 1980. Provides theme, call to worship, collect, prayer of confession, and hymns for each Sunday.

New Hymns for the Lectionary. Thomas H. Troeger. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Hymns based on Year B lessons.

No Longer Strangers. Gjerdin, Iben and Katherine Kinnamon. Geneva: WCC Publications, 1983.

Pray to the Lord. Commission of Worship, Reformed Church in America, 1988.

Prayers for Today's Church. Dick Williams, ed. London: CPAS Publications, 1972.

Prayers. Michael Quoist. New York: Sheed & Ward, 1963. Prayers of a French Roman Catholic priest.

*Service for the Lord's Day, The. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1984.

When We Gather. (Year A) James G. Kirk. Philadelphia: Geneva Press, 1983. Provides call to worship, prayer of praise and adoration, prayer of confession, assurance of pardon, prayer of dedication, and prayer of thanksgiving and supplication for each Sunday.

*Where Cross the Crowded Ways. Ernest T. Campbell. New York: New York Assoc. Press, 1973. Unfortunately out of print, but the work is worth a search in the library. Excellent introduction and model prayers.

Woman Prayer Woman Song. Miriam Therese Winter. Oak Park, IL: Meyer-Stone Books, 1987.

Worshipbook—Services, The. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1970.


Dare to Run. Ken Bible, compiler. Kansas City, MO: Lillenas, 1989. Gathers some of the most easily singable contemporary Christian music in a songbook format. Supported by inexpensive words-only edition and a split-channel cassette.

Everflowing Streams. Ruth C. Duck and Michael G. Bausch. New York: The Pilgrim Press, 1987.

Faith Looking Forward. Brian Wren. Carol Stream, IL: Hope Publishing Company, 1983.

Fill Us With Your Love and Other Hymns from Africa. Tom Colvin. Carol Stream, IL: Agape, 1987. Infectious and powerful. Especially good to teach to children because many of the hymns are repetitive or use a call/response format.

Gather. Chicago: GIA Publications, 1988.

Gather to Remember: Songs, Psalms, Service Music. Michael A. Cymbala, ed. Chicago: GIA Publications, 1982.

Glory and Praise. (Volumes 1,2, and 3). North American Liturgical Resources.

Hymnal for Worship & Celebration, The. Waco, TX: Word, 1986.

Hymnal 1982, The. New York: The Church Hymnal Corporation (Episcopal) 1985.

Hymns and Their Uses. James Aydnor. Carol Stream, IL : Agape, 1982.

Lead Me, Guide Me. Chicago: GIA Publications, 1987. Resource for congregational (and choral) music from the Afro-American tradition.

Lutheran Book of Worship, The. Minneapolis: Augsburg-Fortress Press, 1978.

Music from Taize. (Volumes 1 and 2, vocal and instrumental editions) Chicago: GIA Publications.

Praising a Mystery. Brian Wren. Carol Stream, IL: Hope Publishing Company, 1986.

Psalms for the Church Year. Marty Haugen and David Haas. Chicago: GIA Publications, 1983. Part ofGIA's Celebration Series for choir and/or cantor and congregation. The congregation's responses are printed in easily reproducible form in the back of the book and permission to reproduce these comes with purchase. These psalms are all keyed to the lectionary.

Singing Faith, A. Jane Parker Huber. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1987. Nice because the tunes are all familiar and permission to reprint the hymns for worship use is given with purchase. Huber deals with some contemporary themes which aren't well covered in many older hymnals.

Songs of Zion. Nashville: Abingdon, 1981. Good articles and music from the Afro-American tradition.

Songs for Worship. John Michael Talbot, compiler. Chatsworth, CA: Bird wing, 1985. Includes the best of JMT's own work plus many other fresh, powerful and easily learned worship songs.


Behold the Lamb. Arden Mead. St. Louis, MO: Creative Communications for the Parish, 1985. One of a series of worship cards put out by CCP, this is a hymn setting for Holy Communion designed for use during Lent.

Great Fifty Days Banner, The. David H. Zuber. Colorado Springs, CO: Merriwether Publishing Ltd., Contemporary Drama Service, 1980. The same sort of kit as the Lenten Banner (below) toith symbols of the Great Fifty Days for use on the eight Sundays of Easter.

Lenten Banner, The. Gary R. Shiplett. Colorado Springs, CO: Merriwether Publishing Ltd., Contemporary Drama Service, 1979. Full size patterns for a Lenten banner which uses symbols of the passion. One symbol is added for each Sunday of Lent and also on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Scripts to be used in worship by those who attach the symbol are included. This banner has the potential to be the Lenten equivalent of an Advent wreath.

Our thanks to Joel Boot (Grand Rapids, MI), Robert De Young (Clifton Park, NY), Allan Groen (Edmonton, AB), Al Hoksbergen (Lansing, MI), Diane Maodugh-Pitzer (Holland, MI), Bert Polman (Hamilton, ON), Jack Reiffer (Champaign, IL), Laura Smit (Clayton, NJ), Roger Van Ham (Grand Rapids, MI) Jay Weener (Holland, MI), and Carol Westphal (Williston Park, NY).

Reformed Worship 17 © September 1990, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.