Build-Your-Own Worship Service (or Series) on Celebrating
Through the faith practice of celebrating we delight in circumstances, relationships, and occasions that help us remember and anticipate God's abundant goodness, creativity, faithfulness, beauty, and love.
Pick and choose from the ideas below to shape a worship service or plan a series. Also see our Worship Service on the Practice of Celebrating and this list of Intergenerational Activities on the Faith Practice of Celebrating.
- Foundational Essay: The Practice of Celebrating: Delight in Action
- Bible passages
Psalm 103:1-5—Celebrating God’s abundant blessings
John 2:1-11—Celebrating a joyful event
Luke 15:20-24—Celebrating reconciliation
Revelation 7:9-13—Celebrating what is to come
- Recommended Resources from the Faith Practices Project
(We’ve indicated the songs from our hymnal Lift Up Your Hearts with “LUYH.”)
- “All Creation” by Brian Doerksen
- “Come, People of the Risen King” by Keith and Kristyn Getty
- “Glorious Day” by Kristian Stanfill
- “Hallelujah, Salvation, and Glory” by A. Jeffrey La Valley Music (LUYH)
- “Hear Our Praises” by Reuben Morgan (LUYH)
- “Joy” by Rend Collective
- “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” by Henry Van Dyke (LUYH)
- “Praise the Lord, Sing Hallelujah” by William J. Kirkpatrick (LUYH)
- “Psalm 150” by Boswell and Papa
- “Psalm 150” by the Psalm Project
- “Raise a Hallelujah” by Bethel Music
- “Rejoice” by the Modern Post
- “Table of Plenty” by Dan Schutte (LUYH)
- “The House of the Lord” by Phil Wickham
- “To God Be the Glory” by Fanny Crosby (LUYH)
- “We Will Extol You, God and King” by Greg Scheer (LUYH)
- “We Will Feast in the House of Zion” by Sandra McCracken
Below you’ll find ideas that can be modified and woven into a worship service as a way for people to experience this practice.
- Decorate your worship space. Use streamers, flowers, banners, children’s art, and so on to create a celebratory worship space.
- Acknowledge pain. Recognize that not everyone will come to worship that day ready to engage in joyous celebration. Carve out space to pray for and acknowledge what we can’t celebrate in that moment. Along with the bright colors of any added worship visuals, you might use subdued colors to represent what we’ve lost and what we grieve about.
- Engage the senses. Include opportunities for people to express joy as they move their bodies. Incorporate additional instruments. Follow worship with a feast or serve a celebratory snack. (If your worship service occurs on or near Pentecost, include a “Happy Birthday, Church” cake!)
- Tell the whole story. Celebrate each part of God’s redemptive plan for the world as you move through each of these stories together: creation, fall, Christmas, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Re-Creation. For a fully scripted service in this format see our Worship Service on the Practice of Celebration.
- Write a psalm. Using the format of Psalm 136 with its repeated refrain “His love endures forever,” write a psalm together celebrating the gifts of God each person has experienced. Encourage the celebration of ALL gifts—a new tooth, the way a spider makes a web, a home to rent, a new life, the end of chemo treatments, meals received during a time of loss, and so on. Write the psalm individually or in trios (providing templates to be filled in) or as a whole group. Read the various stanzas aloud together, followed with a round of applause for God as part of your celebration!
- Read a picture book. Matthew Paul Turner’s When God Made the World, Bradley Wiggar’s Thank You, God, and Kadir Nelson’s He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands are examples of books that invite both a celebratory “Yay, God!” response and a reminder to celebrate God’s creation and God’s care for “everybody everywhere.”
- Blow bubbles. End your worship with a joyful celebration outdoors. Distribute mini bubbles and invite people to delight in blowing bubbles together outdoors.
- Celebration wall. Provide each person with a colorful pad of sticky notes or balloon-shaped papers and invite them to state what they are delighting in today, posting their notes to an area designated as your “Celebration Wall.”
Encourage and equip people to continue exploring this faith practice by providing them with a resource to take home. Some ideas:
- Mini bubbles or a bubble wand.
- A simple treat for an at-home celebration. One church we know of provided people with a packet of PopRocks!
- A fun-shaped pad of sticky notes to use as “Celebration Notes” and an encouragement to create their own “Celebration Wall.” Or use a “Celebration Jar” (repurposed jam jar) and paper strips on which to note daily celebrations.
- 5 Ways to Celebrate with Your Family for households with children.
- The booklet Faith Practices: Holy Habits That Help Us Love God and Our Neighbor, Listen to the Spirit, and Become More Like Jesus.
Digital Images You Can Use
Use these memes for PowerPoint presentations, social media shares, print pieces, and so on.