To help pastors and congregations as they focus on online worship services for the foreseeable future, the Minnesota Conference has created a variety of pre-recorded sermons and collected other liturgical resources. You are free to download, share, stream, or otherwise use these in your online worship services.
If you are looking for information on starting live streamed worship or taking other parts of church life online, including important copyright considerations, check out these virtual church resources. If you would like to see examples of how other Minnesota churches are creating online worship, check out one of our many churches offering live stream worship services.
'Hope Made Real' complete worship service (can be used Dec. 27, 2020 or later): Where is your hope anchored? You're invited to a worship service that explores that question. Our five district superintendents each share a personal story of hope made real in their lives, and their messages are interspersed with incredible musical arrangements provided by United Methodist Churches throughout Minnesota. As we prepare to enter a new year during a global pandemic, this is an uplifting message of hope and possibility.
Note: You need to have a CCLI license in order to upload or stream this worship service to your own platforms or pages. If you do not have a CCLI license, you are welcome to have your congregation watch the service at 9:30 a.m. on the Minnesota Conference Facebook page (or simply share our post to your page and they can watch there).
View and download: Star of Hope and Intention (for those watching to use with worship service) / Order of worship / Transcript of key messages
A Service of Lament, Confession, and Repentance includes an eight-minute, forty-six second silent observance of the Lord’s Prayer in solidarity with the last minutes of George Floyd’s life. Portions of this service were part of a denomination-wide online service that took place June 24, 2020 at umc.org/endracism.
The Dakotas-Minnesota Camp and Retreat Ministry created a great Camp Sunday worship video that can be used in lieu of your church's regular virtual worship service. Led by camp site directors across the Dakotas-Minnesota Area, it highlights the beautiful area camps, and includes some fun camp songs. A corresponding order of worship can be found here.
To download one of the sermons below, click on the Vimeo logo on the bottom-right side of a particular sermon video screen; on the Vimeo page that appears, click the "Download" button (just above the video description).
Bishop David Bard, resident bishop of the Michigan Conference and the Minnesota Conference’s interim bishop in 2021, shares his commitment to working with Minnesota United Methodists toward a more vital and vibrant Methodism in Minnesota; to keeping before us our gospel imperatives of growing in love of God and neighbor, reaching new people, and healing a broken world; and to helping us live into the aspirational vision we adopted in 2019. He also reminds us that the journey will be step-by-step. There will be potholes on the way. Even so, with every step, there is grace. Step by step, grace upon grace. View sermon transcript.
Bishop Bruce R. Ough reminds us in this Christmas sermon that even as we remember and celebrate God’s very first in-person encounter that took place in a Bethlehem stable over 2,000 years ago, God is seeking an in-person encounter with each of us this very day. Jesus makes it possible for God and us to meet face-to-face. Jesus makes it possible for God to tell us God loves us for who we are. Jesus gives us an in-person encounter with unconditional, unmerited love. View sermon transcript.
Rev. Cynthia Williams, River Valley District superindentent, gives a sermon that includes a scripture reading of Jeremiah 29:10-14. She explores what has happened in the past year and invites us to ask, "God, where are you in this?"
Rev. Laurie Kantonen, superintendent of the North Star District, offers this sermon on the Book of Esther. She reminds us that although we didn't choose these circumstances for our ministry, this is our moment.
Rev. Fred Vanderwerf, Southern Prairie District superintendent, seeks to answer the question, “Why church?” And even more specifically “Why church in the Wesleyan/Methodist stream?” Using Mathew 16:13-20 and key points of wisdom gleaned from Bishop Ough, Fred seeks to remind people who find themselves in the midst of pandemic, politics, and polarization, that the church remains God’s hope for the world.
Rev. Cynthia Williams, River Valley District superindentent, tells us, "It is in turning to the Lord that we receive peace and can experience a subversive joy in times of trouble." Rejoicing in the Lord is an antidote for the anxious heart! This message is for Advent and anytime throughout the year. It includes a scripture reading of Philippians 4:4-7.
Rev. Cynthia Williams, River Valley District superindentent, tells us that in the places where the wine has run out, we must be the water jars that Jesus abundantly uses to bring transforming grace into our communities. This message is given as a consideration for Human Relations Sunday, the Martin Luther King Weekend, or anytime throughout the year. It includes a reading of John 2:1-11.
Isaiah Friesen: This sermon is a meditation on Jeremiah 1:4-10. Isaiah Friesen is the Minnesota Conference's environmental justice organizer and a seminary student. The theme of this meditation is To uproot and dismantle, to build and to plant. Isaiah offers historical and theological context for Jeremiah's prophetic ministry (disorientation, injustice, exile), then Isaiah speaks to his own sense of God's call to himself and to the church in this moment to be part of dismantling (i.e. racism, Doctrine of Discovery), building and planting (i.e. new models of ministry, new churches, new discussion groups).
Rev. Dr. Fred Vanderwerf, Southern Prairie District superintendent, preaches on Matthew 5:43-48. He says that Jesus wants us to be made holy. This sermon explores what Vanderwerf believes is essential to our holiness—finding the fullness of the gospel through loving our enemies and living in community with people who think, believe, and vote different than us. This sermon includes the scripture reading of Matthew 5:43-48.
Bishop Bruce R. Ough delivers a sermon based on Revelation 21:1-6 (CEB). In it, he asks us to consider: During the season when we are sheltering in place in our homes, what does it mean for our homes to be the home of God, the place where God's promised presence is made manifest? Is it possible that this forced togetherness is turning our homes into a place where we grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus?
Rev. Cindy Gregorson, director of connectional ministries, delivers a sermon based on Acts 2:43-47. Wondering when life will return to normal? Wondering where God is in the midst of the suffering and hardship of life? These are the questions you might be wrestling with in these pandemic days. You are not alone! Cindy shares her journey about what she is learning from how God shows up and sustains us in the midst of difficult times.
Rev. Dr. Fred Vanderwerf, Southern Prairie District superintendent, names the discomfort we are experiencing in a world that has moved from convergent to divergent culture. In that liminal space, possibly exacerbated by COVID-19, we can find freedom in claiming a new story—God’s story—for He has given us a new song to sing! This sermon is based on Acts 16:16-30.
Rev. Cynthia Williams' sermon, based on Ezekiel 37:1-14 (The Message), focuses on how God is with us in times of despair to breathe fresh breath, transform us, and give us dreams and new vision that we may experience life anew. Therefore, we stand ready always to give a reason for our hope.
Rev. Ben Ingebretson, area director of new church development, preaches on Galatians 5:22-23. Circumstances have a way of closing in on us at certain times in life, making us feel trapped or suffocated. In those times, God has given us a way to be lifted above the stuff life throws at us. Consider again the nine fruits of the Spirit. These qualities may be exactly what we need today.
Rev. Bill Eaves, the 2019 Annual Conference preacher, gave a powerful sermon last year that's still very relevant today. He talked about how we're called to be a "both/and church." We can listen deeply to our scriptures and study them with best tools available to us, and we can also work for the liberation of our LGBTQ neighbors. We can put our full trust in Jesus and follow His word, and at the same time stand up against injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.
The Ministry Lab, an ecumenical organization that supports innovation in faith communities and is supported by the Minnesota Conference, offers regular video sermons called Visual Word that congregations can use anytime.
Rev. Cynthia Williams offers a brief call to worship for online worship services. In it, she asks God to ground us in God's love, joy, peace, and presence.
Rev. Cynthia Williams offers a prayer for online worship services. In it, she asks God to save us, answer us, rescue us, and turn to us in these difficult days of the pandemic.
Rev. Cynthia Williams offers a prayer for online worship services. This prayer concludes with The Lord's Prayer.
The Ecumenical Water Initiative led this virtual prayer conference to pray for the health of our waters and the health of our neighbors during this time of uncertainty. Find written copies of these prayers, which you are welcome to use in your church's worship services.
These resources are from outside of the Minnesota Conference. They are all either in the public domain, or the creators have given blanket permission for use in online worship. Please give appropriate credit/attribution.
Worldwide Virtual Christmas Choir Videos: Watch as hundreds of United Methodist come together with unified voices to celebrate the birth of Christ our Savior. Please feel free to download the videos to use in your Christmas Celebration services.
Christmas Hymns 2020: Hilltop UMC in Mankato recorded five Christmas hymns and has made these recordings free and available for use by any United Methodist church in Minnesota. Your church will need a CCLI license to use some of these hymns. Please credit the musicians of Hilltop UMC when using the recordings.
Praise Song for the Pandemic [Video]: This beautiful four-minute video, lifts up many of the groups impacted by the pandemic in a moving way and features powerful images throughout. Find more short videos and films at The Work of the People (paid subscriptions unlock a whole host of video resources).
A Prayer for a World Facing the Coronavirus [Video]: This 90-second video prayer reminds us that as we are not alone in our feelings and we can ease our own fears by praying for others. It is created by United Methodist Communications and is free to download.
Hope: Living with Confident Expectation [Sermon Series and Curriculum]: Where do we find hope when our world is turned upside down? What do we hold on to when we’re worried about our health, our families, our jobs? What can we count on in the face of uncertainty, isolation, fear, and even death? Church of the Resurrection has created a five-week sermon series—and corresponding graphics, videos, discussion guides, and curriculum for all ages—that are free and can be used by any church.
A Litany Amidst the COVID-19 Outbreak [Litany]: The Earth & Altar blog/magazine shares a beautiful written litany that honors and acknowledges the many groups particularly impacted by the coronavirus.
Public Domain Prayers [Written Prayers]: This vast collection contains about 1,400 prayers written between the first and 21st centuries. Prayers are searchable by era, theme, and season of the church year. The prayers come from many Christian backgrounds and are vetted for doctrinal standards in line with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. You are free to read these prayer out loud during online worship or reproduce them in print.
Public Domain Hymns Piano Accompaniment Recordings [Audio]: These piano accompaniment recordings are offered freely by UMC Discipleship Ministries. All recordings are of public domain hymns found in the United Methodist Hymnal and The Faith We Sing.
Have you found or created other worship resources that you think should be included in this list? Or do you have questions about using the resources on this page? Email email@example.com.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church