Worship matters — really!
Looking for ways to engage more lay people in your congregation’s worship? The “Worship Matters” series from Augsburg Fortress invites your congregation to grow into a richer understanding of the foundations and practices of Lutheran worship.
With a focus on the principal weekly gathering around word and sacrament, “Worship Matters” explores the foundational questions about why we gather, how we encounter God in worship, and how that encounter shapes our response in both our communities and our world.
In his foreword to “Why Worship Matters” (Augsburg Fortress, 2004), Mark S. Hanson, former presiding bishop of the ELCA, writes: “Worship is central to the Christian life. The crucified and risen Christ is present at the center of the assembly gathered around the means of grace. Through the word proclaimed and sacraments celebrated, the Holy Spirit is at work. Lives are changed. Sins are forgiven. The alienated are reconciled. Strangers are welcomed. Unbelief gives way to faith. God is praised. Worship matters!”
“Leading Worship Matters: A Sourcebook for Preparing Worship Leaders” (Augsburg Fortress, 2013) is filled with practical, succinct, easy-to-use tools and resources to plan, execute and evaluate worship leadership training. More than 30 contributors have provided helps and training materials for assisting ministers, readers, intercessors, acolytes, ushers, greeters, communion ministers, altar guild, tech ministers, musicians and cantors, and children’s sermon ministers.
The sourcebook also includes a section of brief helpful topics for a variety of worship leaders and those who care for the worship space, including “Why Be a Worship Leader?” “Processions 101,” “Hospitality in All Things,” and “Microphones: Possibilities and Pitfalls.”
An accompanying CD-ROM contains sourcebook materials intended for group use in editable, customizable text files, and the companion DVD contains short video segments featuring real lay worship leaders reflecting on why they serve in particular roles.
Help for reading Scripture
To strike the heart of the hearer with the power and peace of the word of God is the goal of reading Scripture in worship.
In “Getting the Word Out: A Handbook for Readers” (Augsburg Fortress, 2013), author Christopher George Hoyer provides practical helps, preparation exercises and spiritual wisdom for readers. The handbook also includes a pronunciation guide for the lectionary readings.
“Getting the Word Out” invites readers to approach this role not just as a task but as a ministry to the whole assembly. Whether a beginning or seasoned reader of Scripture, readers of this handbook will find help and encouragement for preparing to read in worship.
The assisting minister’s role
The assisting minister provides, alongside the presiding minister, a consistent presence guiding the assembly’s worship, from gathering to sending. Christian Scharen, author of “Serving the Assembly’s Worship: A Handbook for Assisting Ministers” (Augsburg Fortress, 2013), provides a brief history of assisting ministers in Christian worship, answers what makes an effective assisting minister, and takes readers on a step-by-step walk through the role with lots of tips and encouragement. Leadership as an assisting minister is a significant role and will only improve by knowing some history and theology of the liturgy alongside practice with competent teachers.
Increase the comfort level of volunteers and those you invite to participate in worship. Download samples, watch videos and learn more about the full “Worship Matters” series by visiting www.augsburgfortress.org.