Exploring worship

“O come let us worship and bow down let us kneel before our maker for he is our God” Psalm 95:6-7

The Exploring Worship course provides a basic worship leading course for deaneries, parishes and benefices. It trains people for leading different types of non-eucharistic worship and understanding the elements required of worship in the Church of England.

Who is the Exploring Worship for?

If you:

  • Are prayerful and enjoy worship
  • Want to find out more about corporate worship
  • Are prepared to try new things
  • Are willing to stand up in front of people and yet not make yourself the centre of attention
  • Can be audible
  • Are willing to do some preparation for each session

then this might be the course for you. The course is a practical course and participants will need to prepare for an participate in the sessions but only to a level that you are comfortable.The course does not commit you to leading worship but it does include a practical element in which you can try leading worship in a safe environment.

Leading Worship is a ministry on behalf of the church, so you will operate under the guidance of the incumbent. This may involve becoming familiar with styles of worship that are not natural to you but are of benefit to your worshipping community.

What will I learn?

The Exploring Worship course consists of eight sessions. It starts with five core sessions, followed by two specific sessions chosen by the leaders as relevant to the group. Finally, it concludes with a practical session.

  • What is Worship
  • The elements of a Worship Service
  • Creating a Worship Service
  • Being a Worship Leader
  • Who do we Worship
  • Two specific sessions relevant to your churches
  • Putting it into Practice

Each session is two and a half hours long and your deanery tutors will decide on sessional arrangements. Those who complete all eight sessions get a Certificate of Completion.

The two specific sessions are chosen by the tutors and might cover subjects like:

  • Leading intercessions
  • All age worship
  • BCP Matins/Evensong
  • Messy Church worship
  • Healing services
  • Taize services

How does Exploring Worship work?

The course is provided by the diocesan office and run by deaneries. It may be lead by clergy or Readers with the assistance of any existing Lay Worship Assistants. If you are interested in the course, talk with your clergy or Readers to see if a course can be delivered in your deanery.

Each student receives course material and there is some preparation work. You will need an hour or two per week. During the course you will be asked to visit another church’s worship service and so will need a free Sunday to do so.

You will need the permission of your incumbent or minister in charge to attend this course.

The course provides part of the training for Lay Worship Assistants but is open to all. Parishes are also welcome to use individual sessions from the course, such as ‘Leading Intercessions’ as stand-alone sessions. If you feel called to become a Lay Worship Assistant after the course, there is a further session to be held with your minister, an assessed service and appropriate safeguarding .

Exploring Worship replaces the former Lay Worship Assistants Course. It was piloted during early 2019 and is now available for deaneries upon request of the diocesan office. The name has been changed to allow more people to benefit from the course without necessarily going on to become commended Lay Worship Assistants.

Below you will find a leaflet about the course that you can print and distribute.

Who to contact

Charmain Gilmour, Ministry Training Team Administrator


Becoming a Lay Worship Assistant leaflet

Exploring Worship leaflet

Participant's pre-course booklet

Exploring Worship bibliography

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