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Internet Resources for Theology Students: Online Worship Resources


Resources available from Charlotte and Morton libraries give deep, authoritative, and broad access to information that cannot be matched by internet material.  Students are encouraged to use library resources as much as possible.  Yet, with a careful and watchful eye there are times when internet material can be helpful, particularly with historical material.  The challenge is how narrow or broad should the subject of theology go?  In some ways, all subject areas in this subject guide are theology-based and it is artificial to separate them into different disciplines.  In other ways, if theology is so broadly defined, a subject guide can get so unwieldy that it becomes unmanageable.  I have taken a very practical approach by listing resources that would fall mostly into the area of a general theology class.  This is a start.  Many of the websites have lots of options and places to go.  I have tried to find the more impressive websites in order to save you some time and energy.  I hope you will agree.

Hymns/Hymn Stories

There can be no doubt that a comprehensive index of hymns and hymnals lives up to its title of being “a comprehensive index of hymns and hymnals.”  This notable online index of 5,183 hymnals and over one million published hymns is a project of the Christian Classics Ethereal Library and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship under the leadership of Harry Plantinga and Greg Scheer.  Drawing upon important resources such as Julian’s Dictionary of Hymnology, hymnal handbooks, and the entire contents of the Dictionary of North American Hymnology,the site is indeed impressive and comprehensive.

The Cyber Hymnal

This web site has over 3,700 Christian hymns and Gospel songs from many denominations. Hymn texts and MIDI files, together on one page. Organ sound. Listed by title. There are also indexes for special topics. Some pages offer the option of reading a brief biography of the composer.

Hymn Writers of the Church by Charles S. Nutter

This is an annotated resource, albeit older source, concentrating on hymns and hymn writers of the Methodist Church (before it became United Methodist). 200 Amazing Hymn Stories

This web site lives up to its title with background information on 200 (mostly mainline evangelical) hymns.



Includes words and MIDI renditions of all the hymns from the 1989 UMC hymnal.  It is helpful to hear hymn tunes when needed.

Oremus Hymnal

A vast website of hymns with text and/or MIDI file that comes from mostly an Anglican tradition.  Hymns can be found by first line or hymn tune.  They are also numerous hymn suggestions for the Sunday lectionary.


There are over 10,000 Christ­ian hymns, Author Bios, Composer Biographies, Hymn Histories and Gos­pel songs from ma­ny de­nom­in­a­tions. You’ll find lyr­ics, scores, MI­DI files, pic­tures, his­to­ry, & more.

Hymn Resources on the Internet

This website links to other websites dealing with hymn texts, hymn history, and other websites dealing with hymns.



1) Introduction (left column)

2)  Hymn/Hymn Stories (left column)

3) Worship/Preaching/Lectionary Aids (center column)

4) Lectionary Resources for the Church Musician (right column)

Worship and Lectionary Aids



Calvin Institute of Christian Worship


The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship is an interdisciplinary study and ministry center located at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary. They "offer a wide range of practical resources and scholarly works for congregational leaders, pastors, teachers of worships, students, artists, and all interested in worship. These resources serve as tools for preparing, planning for, and leading worship as well as for studying the history, theology, and practice of worship worldwide. The website provides free resources primarily in the form of articles, audio files, slideshow and video presentations, plus links to purchase Worship Institute books, cds, and hymnals: we have co-sponsored over 50 titles with five major publishers."




Vanderbilt Divinity Library: Revised Common Lectionary


This web site provides the full text of all three years of the Revised Common Lectionary There is no commentary in this easy to read format.



General Board of Discipleship: Worship


This official United Methodist web site is for worship and music planners, leaders, and participants.  Highlights the weeks lectionary text and offers worship aids, drawing mostly from UMC material.



The Text This Week


A top pick by some, this remarkable web site gives the reader a virtual study desk for lectionary preaching.  This site provides detailed resources for each of the Revised Common Lectionary texts, along with any differing choices for the week in other denominational lectionaries.  For each passage there are links to various online scripture sources, historical references and commentaries.  There is even a section on contemporary reference and commentary including links to other quality resources.


Sermon illustrations

Some of the information on this web site is free and some is not.  The wide range of sermon illustrations arranged in alphabetical order ranging from short sayings to stories is free.  You can also look up lectionary texts by putting in the dates you wish.


Sermons and Sermon - Lectionary Resources

This site has an immense set of links to other online resources.  There is a full set of the three-year cycle of Revised Common Lectionary (RSL) sermons.  A full liturgy is included with most of the sermons.  But the greatest value of this site is the collections of over 100 links to resources categorized under headings such as Prayer and prayer books, illustrations, journals, children stories, RCL sermons, non-RSL sermons, RCL list Servers, Sermons in advance, Hymn selection, etc.


Desperate Preacher’s Site

After the sniggering is over because of the name, one can find that this web site is helpful.  It offers about six weeks of RCL—three back and three ahead.  For each Sunday, one can click on each text and find an open discussion threat that host a conversation about the text before it comes up in the lectionary.  Sermons can be posted as well as other worship rubrics.  Matthew Henry and Wesley commentaries are available for use to help with a particularly passage.

The Book of Common Prayer

This site has the Book of Common Prayer from the present (1979) to as far back as the 1500’s.


A vast of array of evangelical children sermons arranged by OT (Books of Law and History, Books of Poetry and Wisdom, Books of Prophecy), NT, Pauline Epistles, General Epistles and Revelation, and Holiday and Special Occasions.

Presbyterian Daily Lectionary Readings

This Presbyterian website has lectionary resources with devotions and readings.


 United Church of Christ: Worship

This is the official worship web site of the United Church of Christ.  It has liturgy, prayer and preaching resources.  SAMUEL (Scripture and Memory: A Universal Ecumenical Library) includes the full texts of all readings appointed for each Sunday and Holy Day in the Revised Common Lectionary, plus a weekly focus scripture and “Sermon Seeds”—a brief pump-primer for lectionary preachers.


Center for Excellence in Preaching

A website that includes ideas for Sunday sermons, hundreds of sermon starters, audio sermons, recommended commentaries for every book of the Bible, and ideas from other pastors.  A quality Calvin Seminary website.

Clergy Resources

The stated purpose is for curious clergy, lectionary sermons, prayers, meditations, and administration aids.  There is quite an impressive list of contributors, including Bishop Will Willimon.  The website includes lectionary texts for the week, text exegesis, and lectionary sermons.

Working Preacher

This website is from Luther Seminary and is free (but donations are accepted).  It is a very helpful resource for working preachers and lectionary preachers.  I would highly recommend this website.

Re: Worship

This is a personal blog that is set up to help preachers and worship planners access good worship material on the internet.  There is a wealth of material.  It goes by the lectionary but those that don't follow the lectionary can put in the scripture passage and use the "reverse lectionary" to find resources for that passage.

Liturgy Link

The website says that they "seek to inspire the work of the people by designing an online space for creative collaboration and sharing of liturgy. In turn, this resource will inspire new ideas and equip pastors and congregations for the renewal of common worship." 


Day One

The website says that "Day1 is the voice of the mainline Protestant churches, presenting outstanding preachers from the mainline Protestant denominations..." it goes on to say that, "the website features an extensive library of lectionary-based sermons in text and audio, video resources, and helpful blog posts, along with other helpful information for lay persons and pastors."


 There are many Bible resources that can also help with worship.  Feel free to click "Online Bible Rresources" or go to the tab at the top of this library guide. 




Subject Guide

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Lectionary Resources for the Church Musician

The internet may be of only moderate assistance to those that wish to find lectionary and music aids online, particularly those that are free.  Most of the online aids provide the lectionary text with some worship aids, but very few have the music component that are part of worship planning handbooks.  Or, online resources come from music publishers that list music in their inventory so you will purchase the music from them.  That being the case, I have included a brief list of choral indices, worship planning handbooks, and journals at the end of the online list in order to give the reader additional options.  Here are a couple of the better online resources. 



CanticaNOVA, dedicated to providing new traditional music for the Roman Catholic Church, can be a gold mine for music directors working in Catholic and Protestant Churches.  Classical and mainstream composers are represented in addition to the publisher's own composers.  A liturgical and musical link is provided for each week.  There is a helpful long list of musical suggestion.


Music Publisher and Music Vendor:

Selah Publishing



Print Choral Indices, Music Planning Handbooks, and Journals:

Catalogue of Choral Music Arranged in Biblical Order--James Laster (Scarecrow Press, 1996)

Catalogue of Choral Music Arranged in Biblical Order/Supplement--James Laster (Scarecrow Press, 2002)

Catalogue of Vocal Solos and Duets  Arranged in Biblical Order--James Laster and Diana Reed Strommen (Scarecrow Press, 2003)

Choral Literature for Sundays and Seasons--Bradley Ellingboe, ed. (Augsburg Fortress, 2004)

Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching and the Arts.  Louisville, KY:  Office of Theology and Worshi[, Presbyterian Church (USA), 2001- .

Sundays and Seasons: Worship Planning Guide. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Press, 1995- .

The United Methodist Music and Worship Planner.  David Bone and Mary Scifres.  Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1994- .