Music Ministers – PREPARE!

By Brendan Lai-Tong

Those of you who are music ministers know how challenging it is to coordinate musicians, music and schedules to fit the needs of your church. We recently asked Judy Pringle from Canadian Choral Centre for her expert opinion on the matter.

Judy has served in the Church Music Ministry for over 30 years as a choral director, organist and pianist. In addition to church music, Judy enjoyed a professional singing career on stage and television.  In 1984, Judy founded Canadian Choral Centre, a retail music store in Winnipeg, Manitoba of which she is President.  In 2012, Judy joined Sheet Music Plus’ team as Director of Choral Marketing.

We asked Judy if she could provide us some examples of what she has used to be a more prepared and successful music minister.  Here is her response:

Judy Pringle - Canadian Choral Centre

Judy Pringle – Canadian Choral Centre

Early in my church music ministry I served at Trinity United Church in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.  The dedication and enthusiasm of the choristers, combined with both pastors’ desire to coordinate the spoken word with music, made service planning a joy.

It was at Trinity I became convinced it was my responsibility to coordinate repertoire with the Scriptures of the Day.  I sought out lectionary resources, maintained records of music used each Sunday, noted what worked and what did not, and ensured the music supported the theme of the day.  It is a practise that has served me well for thirty years.

A lectionary resource I highly recommend is PREPARE! An Ecumenical Music & Worship Planner published annually by Abingdon Press.  PREPARE! uses the Revised Common Lectionary and is designed to give you as many ideas as possible about a given worship service.

Prepare! An Ecumenical Music & Worship Planner 2013-2014

Prepare! An Ecumenical Music & Worship Planner 2013-2014

Here are the main features:

  • Calendar format that helps you plan the entire choir year, from SEPTEMBER through AUGUST
  • Suggestions for ANTHEMS, INTROITS, SOLOS, PRAYERS, VISUALS, and much more
  • Eight or more suggested HYMNS for each service keyed to thirteen major denominational and ecumenical hymnals, including:
    • The Faith We Sing
    • Hymns for the Family of God
    • Lutheran Book of Worship
    • The United Methodist Hymnal
    • Worship III (Roman Catholic)
    • The Presbyterian Hymnal
    • The New Century Hymnal (United Church of Christ)
    • The Hymnal 1982 (Episcopal)
    • The Baptist Hymnal
    • The Chalice Hymnal (Disciples of Christ)
    • Voices United
    • Renew! Songs and Hymns for Blended Worship
    • Songs for Praise and Worship Singalong Edition
  • Complete lectionary TEXT of the Old Testament, Psalm, Epistle, and Gospel readings
  • REPRODUCIBLE worship planning forms
  • Resources for HOLIDAYS and SPECIAL DAYS

As a music retailer I have sold hundreds of copies of PREPARE!, and my customers can’t wait to get their hands on the new publication each spring.

Good news!  PREPARE! 2013 –2014 is in our warehouse and you can order your copy today!  And may I suggest you order two copies – one for yourself and one for your Pastor.  You save 8% on your order.   Work together to create a unified service of worship.  Everyone will reap the rewards.

We hope you found this information helpful. For those of you who are music ministers, what are some resources that you use to be prepared musically for the church calendar year?


Brendan Lai-Tong is the Assistant Marketing Manager at Sheet Music Plus and holds degrees in trombone performance from University of Miami and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

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