Lay Preaching Basics: A Practical Guide to Leading Worship.
Praise for Lay Preaching Basics
Review in Touchstone October 2018 by Rev Dr Lynne Wall.
(Touchstone is the monthly newspaper of the
Methodist Church of New Zealand.)
“If you have ever thought about becoming a worship leader or a lay preacher, this book is an excellent starting point. Rosalie Sugrue is a competent lay preacher of many years’ standing, who in this book has generously shared from her own treasure trove of experience, wisdom and creative resources.
In the first part of her book, Rosalie introduces the reader to the Bible by providing basic information about content, characters and concepts in both testaments. There is enough to stimulate the mind and encourage further exploration by referring to the up-to-date bibliography at the end of the book.
The author then moves to the nitty-gritty of how to plan a service of worship, giving general outlines and practical tips along the way. There are examples of orders of service, sermon outlines and pointers on presentation.
But this is not just a ‘how-to’ book. Rosalie reminds the would-be worship leader that worship must be meaningful and relevant for the particular congregation. As she reminds the reader, “It is about engaging the soul.” What might suit a café style service in the local parish will not be suitable for a rest home service of worship. She encourages the use of participation, silence, music and visual aids.
The rest of the book is a rich and varied selection of resources for use in worship, most of which are from Rosalie’s own pen. They are the fruit of her background and experience as a teacher and are tried and tested if used in the right context. There are ideas for the different seasons and festivals of the church year, time with children, themes for opening devotions, dialogues and plays, reﬂections and meditations.
The section of prayers and liturgical resources is particularly useful for the beginning worship leader. For example, there is a fine prayer for Disability Sunday which begins, “God of struggles, strengths and strategies, help us to cope with what we have…”
It is too easy these days to ‘copy and paste’ material from the internet, even reproducing whole sermons as one’s own. Rosalie reminds us that the sermon “Is the one piece of a service that cannot be taken from a book” [or the internet]. She suggests prayerful preparation and mulling over of one’s random thoughts on a passage of scripture which will help “You explore and ﬁrm up on what you believe.” This is what congregations want and need to hear.
This is a practical book which will inspire, encourage and educate anyone who has a calling to lead worship in their local congregation or region.”
“This is a guide to leading worship that experienced lay preachers, as well as those just beginning, will find useful, inspirational and easy to read. There are plenty of practical tips and ideas coming out of the author’s long experience as a lay preacher, and the checklists of what needs to be done before, during and after services are invaluable reminders.” Emeritus Professor Colin Gibson
“Rosalie has compiled a great resource for getting people started. In the first third of the volume she outlines information on key people and history in the Scriptures and offers a helpful step-by-step guide to planning and leading a service. In the rest of her book, Rosalie draws on the teaching tools and ideas she has developed as an educator and she provides a variety of service outlines and sample prayers, as well as a list of websites and books as additional resources.
Along with the endorsement and support of a congregation, this is a useful book to go hand-in-hand with study and spiritual formation for anyone who is considering the journey towards becoming a trained and competent Lay Preacher. I recommend it!” Viv Whimster, 2016–2018 Vice-President, Methodist Church of New Zealand.
“This book is just what New Zealand churches need to support the emerging lay leadership in worship services.” John Thornley, Lay Preacher, Palmerston North.
Do you want to learn how to preach and lead worship, but don’t know where to start? This practical guide by experienced Methodist Lay Preacher Rosalie Sugrue will get you going.
Or perhaps the preacher hasn’t arrived to take your service and you don’t know what to do. The first chapter – Help! The Preacher hasn’t arrived – shows you how to manage if this happens, by using the resources you have on hand.
In the first third of the book Rosalie outlines information on key people and history in the Scriptures and offers a helpful step-by-step guide to planning and leading a service. In the rest of her book, Rosalie draws on the teaching tools and ideas she has developed as an educator and provides a variety of full service outlines and many sample prayers, as well as a list of websites and books as additional resources.
From the Introduction:
In these times of aging congregations, an increasing number of parishes are becoming unable to support a full-time presbyter and untrained lay people are finding themselves being shoulder-tapped to lead services. Volunteers are the salt of the earth, but all volunteers need some helpful pointers to be of use, regardless of the task.
Leading a service is a serious responsibility. Ideally all worship leaders should undergo a comprehensive course in Bible study, church history, theology (study of God: Greek theos “God” and logos “reason”), Christian beliefs (faith and practice), homiletics (the art of preaching), and other religions.
Potential worship leaders deserve to be mentored into accepting increasing worship responsibilities before contemplating leading an entire service. But we often find ourselves in situations far less than ideal. The intention of this book is to consider practicalities and set out the basics of worship leading, as well as providing some essential background knowledge, samples and resources.
About the Author
Rosalie Reynolds Sugrue is a fifth generation West Coaster. Both her parents being fourth generation Coasters whose forebears came seeking gold. Rosalie’s great grandfather, James Reynolds, was a local preacher from Cornwall who preached to miners on the beaches and helped establish the first Methodist church in Hokitika. His wife, Eliza, signed the petition that gave women the vote.
Rosalie’s mother Elva Reynolds was a Methodist Deacon and also a lay preacher. Rosalie is a past president of the NZ Lay Preachers’ Association, and the inaugural facilitator of the Methodist Lay Preachers Network 2004, serving as a co-facilitator until 2008. She has led hundreds of church services in New Zealand and the UK. She has also led rest home services, family services, cafe style worship, house blessings and devotions in many other situations.
A wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and author now retired Rosalie has worked as a psychiatric nurse, teacher and motellier.
She has been active in Jaycees, the Methodist Women’s Fellowship, the Community of Women and Men in Church and Society, National Council of Women, the Churches’ Agency on Social Issues, Victim Support and U3A.
She continues an active role as a lay preacher leading one to three services every month in a variety of churches.