Online worship planning resources are a technological gift for worship planners, preachers, and musicians alike. Some sites allow access by subscription only, but many others are available for free. Here are just three online resources I find invaluable for planning worship.
Textweek.com is “a virtual study desk for students, teachers and preachers.” And, I’d add, for bulletin editors, creators of children’s bulletins, and deliverers of children’s messages. Organized by Bible text, the site provides links for preachers (journal articles, scholarly research, and even a movie concordance!) and musicians (hymn and anthem suggestions), as well as those planning bulletins (public domain images), children’s messages, and children’s bulletins. Most of these inspirational suggestions come from the Catholic and Lutheran traditions.
For Reformed worship resources, surf the website of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. The site offers helpful worship planning resources, including model liturgies used by the Institute. A valuable partner to this site is Calvin Theological Seminary’s Center for Excellence in Preaching, offering resources for the preacher from the Bible or from Reformed confessions.
While these websites frame the larger theme and components of worship, for specific song choices go to Hymnary.org. This database catalogs thousands of songs searchable by title, composer, theme, meter, keyword, or Bible text. Once a song is selected, the site displays musical arrangements for piano, instruments, handbells, organ, or choir. With some songs it is even possible to modulate the music and print it in a new key. This is extremely helpful, for example, if a B-flat clarinet would like to play with the opening hymn.
Of course this list of worship and music planning websites is not exhaustive. As you become aware of the talents and preferences of your particular worshiping community, you’ll discover other sites that are more useful for you. That’s the work of the Spirit: taking all things—our planning, our thoughts, and our resources—and pointing them to Christ.