How do Words Enhance or Hinder Worship?

By Mary Ann Weber

I’m a word person. I’m fascinated by how words are put together to make phrases and sentences. What do they mean? What do the words convey? Take this phrase: “Did you eat today?” Say it out loud four times, each time emphasizing a different word. Notice how the meaning changes, even though the same words are spoken. Fascinating!

All of this tells me that words are to be considered carefully and I thought about this as I was working with worship resources this week. MennoMedia offers a bulletin series subscription for congregations to receive bulletin covers for each Sunday. They are offered with or without worship resources printed on the back. You can read more about them see samples here and below.

The congregation where I spent my formative years did not use preplanned worship resources. I noticed that each Sunday, the prayers and words were similar to ones said the previous Sunday. It was predictable and did not tap into my love of words.

When I moved to another area I got involved with a different congregation. The worship leaders and pastors gave great thought as to what was spoken during the service, and I came alive! The poetic phrases, the images that came to mind, the careful nuancing of words, all enhanced my worship. A whole world opened up to me.

I keep these congregational stories in mind as I work with worship resources. How will words enhance, or hinder, worship? How will words lead someone into the presence of God? How will words encourage community and discipleship?

Some people are gifted in writing worship resources. Some people prefer to use resources written by others. Hymnal: A Worship Book, Sing the Journey, and Sing the Story, are all designed to lead congregational worship.

Along with quality song selections, each book includes good worship resources to be used during worship services and throughout the church calendar year.

Words for Worship and Words for Worship 2 pay careful attention to words and how they fit together. Take a look at these books the next time you plan a worship service.


How do you use words during worship? How do they invite people into God’s presence?


Visit the Congregational Resources Section of the MennoMedia store to find many of these items.


Mary Ann Weber
MennoMedia Managing editor