Sermon and Service Package Available
For the second year in a row, the CRCNA is providing a special-worship service package to help congregations and to offer pastors and worship leaders a break this holiday season.
“Advent can be a very stressful time for church leaders,” said Katie Roelofs, worship content specialist for the CRCNA’s Congregational Ministries. “Advent services, Christmas programs, and extra events can take their toll on pastors and others helping with worship planning.”
A lot of work goes on behind the scenes in many churches at this time of year, she explained. This can be exhausting for paid staff. And in congregations without a senior pastor the burden can be even greater because it falls on volunteer leaders.
With the goal of giving worship leaders a break after the busy holiday season, the CRCNA is offering a sermon and service package featuring a ready-made liturgy, song suggestions, and a sermon available on YouTube designed for worship on Sunday, Jan. 1. To access a downloadable copy of the sermon and the accompanying liturgy, worship leaders are invited to fill out this Google Form.
This year’s service was made in partnership with Rev. Matt Ackerman at the University of Michigan Campus Chapel in Ann Arbor, Mich. His sermon offers a unique narrative on John 1 that was part of the congregation’s Advent series published in the most recent issue of Reformed Worship. You can see a preview of this sermon online.
A similar sermon and service package was offered last year. First CRC in Brandon, Man., was one of many congregations to make use of the material.
“As we don’t have a minister right now, this was very welcome,” said the prayer coordinator at First CRC in a follow-up survey. “It provided much-needed relief for our council. The sermon video was very clear visually, and the sound was clear. I tailored the suggested congregational prayer for our use, so that part was welcome too. Our worship team leader coordinated and used much of the rest of the service.”
At Calvin CRC in Ottawa, Ont., lead pastor Rev. Craig Hoekema was away the first Sunday of 2022. “Guest preachers can be hard to find at that time of year,” the church reported. “The liturgy with lots of song choices was easy to adapt to our context. This was a great idea. Thank you for doing it.”
And at Bethany CRC in Muskegon, Mich., Rev. Tara Foreman was able to turn to the sermon and service package at a time of urgent need. “I ended up testing positive for COVID . . . and this [sermon and service package] was a gift,” she said.
CRCNA staff are hoping that this year’s package will meet similar needs.
“Worship is an important element for all CRC churches – it is one thing that can bring us together. We hope and trust that this special New Year’s Day package can be a resource that not only unites churches with other believers this season but also gives their staff and volunteers time to rest and refresh to start the new year,” said Roelofs.
To access the service, worship leaders are invited to fill out this Google Form.