OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis week we ask the Matriarchs to give us some practical inspiration for our work as pastors.

Dear Matriarchs,

What are your best/favorite/essential go-to resources for ministry? Categories might include worship liturgy, sermon writing, programming, leader development, spiritual development (pastor and congregation) and congregational vitality.

Let’s hear from our Matriarchs:

Sharon Mack Temple
I will start by highlighting ministry resources that are easily available on the RevGalBlogPal blog:

11th Hour Preacher Party — Saturday discussion of resources and processes as we finish up for Sunday

Narrative Lectionary and Revised Common Lectionary Resources — posted Tuesday in plenty of time to inspire preaching

And, of course, our feature Ask the Matriarch — like having a great community of mentors ready with support and advice for sticky situations.

Bonus: Click on the “Ministry Resources” tab at the top of the RevGalBlogPals.org home page and explore what’s there.

Heidi Rodrick-Schnaath
I am a big fan of the RGBP resources, the ELCA’s “Sundays and Seasons” which gives seasonal ideas along with weekly electronic files, WorkingPreacher.org and TextWeek.com. I am a better preacher when I am reading fiction and watching interesting stories in film and tv. I need to keep up with the news both in print and electronically. When dealing with the lectionary I almost always rely on the text before and after the appointed section along with Biblical helps in order to understand the context. When the gospel starts with “After this” or “Then” I need to understand the whole story. I find “Feasting on the Word” to be a good resource. There may be nothing novel about my list but I find it interesting when there seems to be a common thread in a given week. Where are the intersections between church stuff and the community around me? Even the weird little twinges of ideas may lead to something else. As a result, Google is my friend.

Tracy Spencer-Brown
What Heidi Rodrick-Schnaath said. [SMT: Yes!]

Kelley Wehmeyer Shin
I am grateful for so many ministry resources both online and in print. My favorite online resources are:

  • RevGalBlogPals
  • TheTextThisWeek
  • WorkingPreacher
  • Narrative Lectionary 
  • Facebook group

And although each of these are free to all, I have financially supported each of these (NL does not take donations) at different times.

My “go to” printed resources in order of favorites and most used:

  • Feasting on The Word (Commentaries, Worship Companions, and Wedding Resource)
  • Interpretation Commentaries
  • New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary
  • and most recently, Robert Alter’s Hebrew Scripture translation and commentary

Sarah Howe Miller
For spiritual disciplines, I like Phyllis Tickle’s Divine Hours & the Irish Jesuits app Prayer to Go. … and geocaching 

Martha Spong
In my years as a parish pastor, the greatest resources for me were human: a Lectionary discussion group that met weekly, and a series of clergy support groups. The Lectionary group stretched my thinking about the texts and helped me develop my preaching preparation as a spiritual practice. The support groups met once or twice, offering shared wisdom and mutual accountability; the most helpful were those with a paid facilitator.

Kathryn Zucker Johnston
RGBP website and resources (I’m not just saying that), especially any time we’re back in either one of the lectionaries, I’m all over the blog. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention my clergy group that’s been meeting together for over twelve years now, which means we’ve also accumulated over ten years of knowledge and ideas in a Dropbox file that’s indexed by Scripture. As for sermon-writing, the most important thing has been demanding from myself and others the time early in the week to reflect and write. At this point in my career, I’m the bigger enemy of that than others are.

Thank you, Matriarchs, for sharing so generously! Your shared experience is a valued resource for our ministries.

How about you, dear Pastors? What resources are most meaningful in your ministry? Share your own good ones in the comments below.

Are you anxious about a big project or new program? Send your questions to AsktheMatriarch (at) gmail (dot) com and let us help you with some ideas.


Rev. Sharon M. Temple is a United Church of Christ pastor living in Austin, TX. She is a contributor to the RevGals book There’s a Woman in the Pulpit and blogs erratically at Tidings of Comfort and Joy.


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

One thought on “Ask the Matriarch: Our Favorite Ministry Resources

  1. In addition to the printed resources mentioned by others, I like the Social Science Commentary books by Bruce Malina. There are six books in this collection, covering nearly all of the New Testament. The clear and detailed descriptions of the cultural context of a particular passage is valuable for my own understanding and also for helping my parishioners to make the connection between the text and their own lives.

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