When your pastor is unavailable, many churches will attempt to find a fill-in pastor from the Sunday Supply List. Sometimes, a Sunday Supply pastor is not available. Other times, churches will prefer to use their own members’ talents to have lay-led worship service. This list of resources is meant to help a member of a local congregation lead a Sunday worship service in the absence of an authorized minister.

Training Resources

Foundations of Worship Planning Workshop: Rev. Cheryl Lindsay, Minister for Worship and Theology for the United Church of Christ, led this “Foundations of Worship Planning” workshop on May 20, 2023. This workshop was designed to prepare lay leaders and refresh authorized ministers on the foundational principles of worship with an emphasis on practical application. Participants will gain tools and sharpen skills for planning meaningful worship that facilitates holy encounters. No previous experience with worship planning is necessary.

Stepping Into the Pulpit: Recently our Associate Conference Minister for Search and Call, Rev. Kevin McLemore, led a workshop with tips for lay leaders filling in for worship. The notes of that presentation are here.

Sermon Resources

A Sermon for Every Sunday: Free manuscripts of sermons and video sermons are available on their site. Sermons need to be credited.

Sermons That Work: A ministry of The Episcopal Church’s Office of Communication, Sermons That Work follows the lectionary and provides free sermons that can be used by local churches. Sermons need to be credited.

Together We Worship: This is a service from the United Church of Canada, a ‘sister’ church to the UCC. Together We Worship provides weekly bulletin templates, plus a video sermon that you can share in worship. Subscriptions are $100 per month. One Sunday’s service is $65.

WorkingPreacher: A ministry of Luther Seminary, Working Preacher works to inspire better preaching by offering timely, compelling, and trustworthy content for worship. It includes exegetical (research) material geared to the weekly lectionary.

Hymn Resources

Hymnary: Free database of hymns, including the hymnals that specific hymns can be found in. You can also listen to brief excerpts of the tune.

Hymnsite: Database with suggestions for hymns following the lectionary.

Singing the Lectionary: Hymn suggestions for every Sunday, based on the lectionary.

Worship Resources

BibleGateway: View, download, or search over 25 different translations of the Bible on this site. Convenient for printing out readings for Worship Assistants

Discipleship Ministries: United Methodist worship resources and planning info. Can subscribe for regular emails.

Enfleshed: This site includes a free collection and a paid option for weekly resources. Resources include liturgies, prayers, reflection prompts, and more.

LectionaryLiturgies: Free lectionary-based worship resource for every Sunday, written by Thom Shuman. Includes Call to Worship, Opening Prayer, Call to Confession, Prayer of Confession, Assurance of Pardon, Great Prayer of Thanksgiving/ Communion Prayer and Benediction. Can use, even if not including Communion in worship- just don’t use that prayer.

Liturgylink: Free searchable database with worship resources. Search for specific Sundays or for types of services.

Presbyterian Outlook Worship Resources: Presbyterian USA weekly prayers and liturgy following the lectionary.

Printable Lectionary Lists

Revised Common Lectionary: Can search, download and print Scripture readings for each Sunday as a PDF for print- ready to include in the bulletin. There is also artwork that can be shared free of charge with proper credit. Resources are digital.

Re-Worship Liturgy Resources: Free searchable database for worship resources. Search by scripture and theme and specific Sundays.

TextWeek: Free searchable database with scriptural references to films and art, and extensive collections of links to many other resources based on the lectionary or specific scripture. Note: this website has not been updated for over a year, but the resources are still valuable. Search by lectionary year and Sunday instead of by calendar dates.

United Church of Christ Worship Ways: Weekly prayers and liturgy following the lectionary.

Worship resources from the Church of Scotland: Free resource listing every Sunday. Includes scriptural background following the liturgy. Church of Scotland follows similar flow of worship and has similar worship experience and theological heritage as the United Church of Christ.