Lent is a time to refocus and reframe our practices, clearing spaces in our minds and hearts to see and grasp anew the self-giving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. But for those involved in preparing worship for Lent this is a busy time of trying to balance preparing for Holy Week with church programs and initiatives that are in full swing. It may seem as though the work is piling dangerously high. We are tired. We are weary. We are worn. Yet week in and week out we find ourselves in the trenches of our busy and relentless church life.
Instead of getting lost in the same practices of survival during this season of Lent, what would taking time to refocus and reframe our practices during Lent look like? What would streamlining our practices involve? What practices would allow for more time to go deeper and further in Scripture study, sermon preparation, and worship service planning?
The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship has created a new website that might help busy preachers and worship leaders delve deeper into Scripture and planning during Lent. PreachingandWorship.org is a search engine that provides easy access to excellent online resources for preparing sermons and worship services for a wide range of denominations and traditions—a bit like a Google, Bing, or Yahoo, but specifically designed for preachers and worship leaders. This means that if you normally go to several websites each week to research your Scripture passage or topic, you now can streamline those multiple searches into one search that will automatically pull resources from a wide range of excellent resources.
Ways to Reframe Your Practices
Week after week, preachers need to say something—which means they need to know something about a lot of things. Topical studies (preachingandworship.org/topical_studies) are short entries (under two thousand words) on a multitude of Biblical topics. The studies offer the most important, applicable, and preachable Scripture references, then dive into the essence of each issue, offering examples or sermon starters along the way. Consider reframing your practices this Lent with topical studies by:
- starting your research process by searching for your sermon topic in the full list of topical studies (preachingandworship.org/topical_studies).
- reading the Scripture passages mentioned in the topical study on Lent (preachingandworship.org/topic/Lent).
- studying all the topical studies—a constantly growing list!— to deepen your biblical knowledge (preachingandworship.org/topical_studies).
PreachingandWorship.org is a search engine. You can look up the liturgical season, your Scripture passage, a biblical character, a topic, or a lectionary week. You can also customize your search results according to resource type, such as sermon illustrations, articles, commentaries/exegesis, audio/video, service outlines, elements of worship, sermon starters/outlines, songs/hymns, images, or children’s resources. Consider reframing your practices this Lent with the search engine by:
- reading a variety of resources from many different denominations to deepen your knowledge of the church and of your particular subject or Scripture passage. You never know what gems you might find when you venture outside your comfort zone!
choosing one element from your normal worship
service to research and pray about.
- searching for images and accompanying meditations to guide your devotional practices this Lent. Consider starting your day by using these search results to center yourself in God’s word with a visual reminder of a Scripture passage.
PreachingandWorship.org is a website built with busy preachers and worship leaders in mind. The technology behind the website can best help reframe your practices if you create an account on the website. The site will gradually adapt itself to your practices by:
- learning the types of resources you click on—and those you don’t—to gradually give you more of what you prefer. Over time, you’ll even see results geared toward the denomination that you select (optional) when you sign up for an account.
- allowing you to save links that you can access from any mobile device or computer whenever you log into the site.
During this busy Lenten season, it’s easy to fall into the trap of survival mode. May you find time to refocus and reframe your practices this Lent, allowing yourself time and space to go deeper into God’s word and think deeply about your practices. PreachingandWorship.org is only a tool, and it cannot reframe your life, but it can help streamline your practices, allowing room for growth in this season of focus and preparation.