Church Year and Lectionary Digital Calendar for 2015-16

Import the church year and lectionary into your digital calendar

Here’s a little tool to help you with your worship planning. Use the file listed below to import the Christian Worship Lectionary with supplemental readings into your digital calendar. Each event imports as a calendar event on the day it occurs. For example, Advent 1 will be imported as an event on Sunday, November 29th, 2015, and will include all the lectionary information.

Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like.

The file is in the ICS format and can imported into Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, etc.

Click here to download the calendar file.

Blessings on the work!

Rev. Jonathan E. Schroeder

Jonathan Schroeder is the pastor of Faith Lutheran in Sharpsburg, GA. He serves as the Moderator of the Institute of Worship and Outreach, pastor-at-large on the Synodical Council, and is actively involved in WELS School of Outreach and WELS School of Worship.

Full biography »

Getting ready for Holy Week 2015

Lent and Easter is such a busy time in the worship life of the Church! But it’s also a fantastic time for outreach. Easter is a holiday when unchurched people are likely to come to worship for the first time. Don’t forget to make use of all your resources to invite your prospects to worship with you on Easter.

Here are a few outreach items we’re working on here at Faith, Sharpsburg, during this week before Holy Week. Can you try any of these in your congregation? Can you expand any current efforts? These examples are offered for your consideration:

  1. Preschool. All the families are given printed invitations to Easter Sunday during their spring parties on the week before Holy Week. Tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday we scheduled parties for the preschool during the school day. These parties give us a chance to eat lunch and spend some time with all the preschool parents. The goal of these parties is to invite the parents to join us at Easter services. It’s great opportunity for outreach.
  2. Prospect List. The mailer inviting our prospect list hits mailboxes on Thursday. All 950 of our active prospects get a postcard inviting them to join us for Easter worship.
  3. Social Media blast. We are hitting Facebook with branded ads that connect to the prospect and community mailing (see #4). Boosting your post will greatly increase the number of people seeing it. Getting your folks to share it with their network is a benefit because it comes from a trusted source.
  4. Community Mailing. At last week’s Lenten Dinner and Devotion, we had the whole group count and sort postcards for us. We were able to get a mailing for our whole target area prepared in just about 15 minutes. Many hands make light work, and everyone got to be part of the outreach effort. That whole-target-area mailing will be delivered on Monday of Holy Week. Every home in our zip code will be invited to Easter with 14,000 mailed invitations. I have found that most prospects don’t plan ahead for worship.
  5. Congregational Canvass. After church this past Sunday, we invited the whole congregation to stuff invitations into door hangers to be used in our congregational canvass. We stuffed 1300 doorhangers in less than ten minutes. We will be doing a “no talking necessary, no training necessary” canvass this week. It’s just hanging up doorhangers. But we expect 70 people to come. It’s a great way to invite the community and it’s a great way to have people involved in outreach who might not think they have the gifts for it. Even better, it makes a large group of people very interested in the work the Holy Spirit might do in bringing people to church on Easter Sunday.
  6. Personal invitations. Finally, Vicar Caleb Schultz and I are also attempting to make personal invitations to our group of “most interested” prospects. This is our shortlist of about sixty families that we are trying to move toward enrollment in our next BIC. We simply stop by their house with a printed invitation. If they answer, we invite them to Easter services; if they don’t, we just leave the invitation with a personal note. This year I am playing with Geopointe for Salesforce. It’s a software add-on that allows you to build routed maps to for all your prospect calls. It also shows you prospects nearby. For example, last night I was on outreach calls and after visiting four homes, I realized I had more time before sundown. I just pulled out my phone and the Geopointe salesforce app showed me a number of hot prospects near to my location. Very cool.
  7. Don’t forget to enlist your congregational network of friends and neighbors. We will be sending an email to the congregation talking about the privilege of witnessing and encouraging them to invite their friends and neighbors to Easter services.

Such a busy time for worship and outreach. May God bless your efforts at both!

Rev. Jonathan E. Schroeder

Jonathan Schroeder is the pastor of Faith Lutheran in Sharpsburg, GA. He serves as the Moderator of the Institute of Worship and Outreach, pastor-at-large on the Synodical Council, and is actively involved in WELS School of Outreach and WELS School of Worship.

Full biography »

No Matter How You Slice It

There is more than one way to slice up the pie that is the Christian church year, our annual calendar that serves to focus God’s people on Christ’s saving work and word.

The simplest way to slice it would be to view the church year as two equal parts: one that focuses on the life of Christ (also known as the festival half of the year), the other that focuses on the teachings of Christ (the non-festival half). On the other end of the spectrum, the church year can be viewed as 60+ specific Sundays and festivals (plus any number of minor festivals and commemorations), each of which highlights a unique facet of Christ’s work and teaching. In between, the church year consists of six seasons (seven with End Time) with unique sights, sounds, and Scriptural themes that take us from one Advent to the next.

One of the other ways in which the church year can be organized is around the three great festivals that punctuate the Christian year: Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. It’s often been said that those three festivals highlight the saving work of our Triune God. Christmas celebrates the love of the God the Father in sending his Son. Easter celebrates the saving work of God the Son. Pentecost celebrates the work of God the Spirit, who breathes life into the Church on earth.

When organized in this way, the church year is viewed from the perspective of three periods of time. The time of Christmas includes the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. The time of Easter includes the seasons of Lent and Easter along with Holy Week. The time of the Church includes the day of Pentecost and all of the Sundays that come after it. This is the way the church year is organized in Christian Worship on pages 157-159 and explained in Christian Worship: Manual on pages 369-384.

Regardless of how you slice it, the Christian church year has and will continue to serve as an invaluable tool for uniting Christ’s church on earth around the gospel as it gathers for worship at the start of each week.

As we continue on that journey together and with Christians all over the world, the next period of time that looms on the horizon is the time of Easter. As that time approaches, we share this resource as one way to help God’s people see the connection and progression from Ash Wednesday through Ascension as we remember Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection.

Click here for the PDF of the Time of Easter Resource

God’s blessings as you continue your annual remembrance of what our Savior has done!

Rev. Jonathan P. Bauer

Jonathan Bauer serves at Good News Lutheran Church, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.

Full biography »
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