So You're Leading Worship

Worship doesn't serve a single, static purpose; rather, we gather for a multitude of reasons and needs. Whether it's on Sunday morning in a sanctuary or in a small group in someone's home, our people arrive for worship for many reasons: they long to be inspired, comforted, changed, opened, challenged, loved, forgiven, lifted up, seen, connected, or filled with wonder (among other needs).

By weaving together different components, a worship service serves the whole—the common good—and offers a shared emotional experience. Each worship component has its own relational purpose: a particular reason for connecting us to one another and That Which Is Larger Than Us.

In September 2023, our UU Institute released Worship for Transformation, an online worship course that constitutes UUA's most comprehensive worship training to date. Produced by Rev. Erika Hewitt and led by a teaching collective of fifteen UU religious professionals, this course enables worship teams (or individuals) to learn at their own pace.

Our Tool Kit for Worship Leaders is another helpful guide—albeit a very truncated one!—for learning how to plan and lead worship services.

Resources

The Shared Pulpit A Sermon Seminar for Lay People

By Erika Hewitt

From Skinner House Books

A workshop guide to develop preaching experience among lay people. This 8-session seminar includes a leader's guide, readings, sample sermons, and exercises to help first-time preachers polish their craft.

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Worship That Works Theory and Practice for Unitarian Universalists, Second Edition

By Wayne B. Arnason, Kathleen Rolenz, Nancy McDonald Ladd

From Skinner House Books

The second edition of this classic UU text includes revisions and new chapters on multicultural worship, multigenerational worship, and new models of services for contemporary practices.

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