New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

"A Liturgy for Morning Prayer," Upper Room Worshipbook

Used by permission from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. This prayer appears in “A Liturgy for Morning Prayer” in Upper Room Worshipbook.


Today’s Reflection

A denominational-focused marketing approach works only among people with a high level of denominational loyalty. In the United States, we typically find this level of loyalty only among recent immigrant groups from places with a strong denominational presence, such as Presbyterians from Korea or Methodists from Samoa. A doorstop-visit campaign works only in communities with a lot of people who are at home during the day and who are willing to interrupt their work to entertain visitors. With changes in productivity demands on US households, most people are working more hours each week, working even while they are at home, and heavily scheduling their nonworking and after-work hours. A denominationally credentialed planter being immediately accepted as a capable pastoral leader requires a society that has both a high regard for clergy and a high respect for institutional authority. Both of these factors have signicantly decreased in the United States, especially among middle-class, suburban dwellers.

—Bener Agtarap & Curtis Brown, Ready, Set, Plant: The Why and How of Starting New Churches (Discipleship Resources, 2021)

Today’s Question

When have you helped start a new church or mission? Join the conversation.

Today’s Scripture

Barnabas went to Tarsus in search of Saul. When he found him, he brought him to Antioch. They were there for a whole year, meeting with the church and teaching large numbers of people. It was in Antioch where the disciples were first labeled “Christians.”
—Acts 11:25-26 (CEB)

Prayer for the Week

Holy God, thank you for the opportunity to plant a new faith community. Help me to have wisdom and discernment as I develop relationships with the people in this community. Guide me to stay close to you through prayer and Bible study and to love the people who cross my path. Amen.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Join us for Spiritual Formation in Today’s World: A One-Year Online Offering from The Academy for Spiritual Formation. The first 3-day session begins on August 24, 2023. Learn more and apply here.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.


  • Julie Posted May 19, 2023 9:19 am

    A lot of cleaning and organiziing to do today. Yesterday, I rearranged my schedule to accommodate an afternoon appointment. However, the person never showed up and I called them to determine what had happened. Another meeting is scheduled but I am not happy.

  • Jill Posted May 19, 2023 1:44 pm

    I have not been involved in either of these capacities. What an undertaking – certainly one is called to this. Leadership must be clearly defined and understood.
    My throat has been bothering me a bit today – and I am a bit concerned as we have 6 staff members who are covid + currently. My energy feels good – hoping maybe it’s just a cold.
    Will need to carefully consider weekend plans as tomorrow is my nephew’s birthday party and I am supposed to ride with dad. Dad and I are also supposed to golf Sunday afternoon. I have some covid tests at home if I take a turn for the worse.

  • robert moeller Posted May 19, 2023 3:59 pm

    I also have not been involved in starting a church. The closest I came was when two churches said they wanted to merge. Sadly it didn’t happen, neither side trusted the other.
    Tough to recognize that organized denominations and pastors are less respected. I can understand that with the UMC-LGBTQ issue, child molestation history, and the Indigenous peoples loss of culture and children. Certainly a lot of wrong has been done in the name of Christ. Without God’s love, mercy, and grace there’s no hope. We acknowledge the error of our ways, repent, ask for forgiveness, and without it would be lost.
    Sorry to learn that an appointment at Julie’s didn’t happen, that 6 staff members are Covid +, and Jill has a sore throat. Hope things turn out for the better.
    Am working my way through the directions to install a dishwasher. Some things I know I can do, others are beyond me. My new lens was put into my glasses and now vision is improved. Thank You, Lord. Made it to Friday morning Zoom fellowship too.

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