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Build-Your-Own Worship Service (or Series) on Engaging Scripture

As a faith practice, engaging Scripture immerses us in the true story of God's faithful love so that we become more like Jesus as we grow in recognizing God, ourselves, and the world around us.

Pick and choose from the ideas below to shape a worship service or plan a series. Also see our Worship Service on Engaging Scripture and Intergenerational Activities on the Faith Practice of Engaging Scripture.

Sermon Supports

Music Suggestions

(We’ve indicated the songs from our hymnal Lift Up Your Hearts with “LUYH.”)

  • “Blessed Assurance” (“This is My Story. . .”) (LUYH)
  • “Build My Life” by Pat Barrett
  • “I Love to Tell the Story” (LUYH)
  • “Speak, O Lord” by Keith and Kristyn Getty (LUYH)
  • “Word of God, Speak” by MercyMe

Worship Ideas

Below you’ll find ideas that can be modified and woven into a worship service as a way for people to experience this practice.

Note: Encourage people to try these ideas at home by saying after a corporate experience, “The way we just engaged with the Bible is something that you can also do at home. Try it this week!”

Illustrate it. Using the projected image of a painting (such as Fishing Boats on the Beach at Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer by Vincent van Gogh), explain that engaging Scripture is like immersing yourself in a work of art; the longer you look at it and the more you zoom in, the more you become aware of additional details—brush strokes, textures, colors, and more. Engaging Scripture is a way to immerse yourself in God’s story.

Connect with the story. Prior to reading a Bible story, ask people questions that will help them connect their lives and experiences to the passage. For example, before reading from Matthew 14:13-21 about Jesus feeding a huge crowd, invite everyone to picture the following in their mind:

  • a time when you were weary and all you wanted to do was be alone but someone needed your help. How did that feel? What did you do?
  • a time when you were enjoying an event so much that you stayed longer than intended and past the time when you’d normally have eaten. What was that like?
  • a time when you were expected to solve a problem that you didn’t know how to solve. How did that feel? How did you respond?

Point out that when you’re engaging with Scripture at home, it can be helpful to ask: Where am I in this story? How is this alike or different from my life?

Ask questions. After reading a Bible passage or story, invite people to reflect on the passages either individually or in pairs using the following questions (which have no right or wrong answers): What did you notice about the passage/story? What do you wonder about the passage/story?

Make it personal. Invite, in advance, two or three differently aged people to share in 3-5 minutes a verse, passage, or story from Scripture that has been particularly meaningful to them and why.

Be attentive. When possible, read a passage twice. Ways to do this: use the same translation or read from two versions; arrange to have two different readers; read and sing those passages that have been set to music; read it and view a video version; pair it with an excellent children’s storybook Bible.

Lectio divina. Provide each person with a printed copy of a short passage and a coloring pencil. Explain that lectio divina (Latin for “divine reading”) is a way to listen to God as you read the Bible, and then lead all ages through the steps* below.

  • As the Scripture passage is read aloud, notice what words or phrases stand out to you. (Encourage new readers to pair up with experienced readers.) If you’d like, doodle around them on your page.
  • As the passage is read again, pay attention to the parts that caught your attention earlier. Wonder what God might be trying to show you.
  • Tell God the thoughts or questions you have about the passage. If you’d like, you could write or draw your prayers to God. Invite God to speak to you too.
  • Sit quietly with God for a moment, resting in God’s deep love for you.

*The above steps are drawn from pages 10-11 of Faith Practices: Holy Habits That Help Us Love God and Our Neighbor, Listen to the Spirit, and Become More Like Jesus.

Take-it-Home Resources

Encourage and equip people to continue exploring this faith practice by providing them with a resource to take home. Some ideas:

Digital Images You Can Use

Use these memes for PowerPoint presentations, social media shares, print pieces, and so on.