Nancy M Raabe

Workshops, Essays

Resources for Church Leaders

Nancy Raabe 2/19
Rev Nancy M Raabe

Rev Nancy M Raabe is available to your congregation to lead forums and workshops of interest to church leaders and members.  Contact Nancy here to discuss and arrange your sessions.  Here is a sample of topics that Pastor Raabe makes available to your group.

Music Ministry:  Learning to Lead from the Piano

Vibrant worship hinges on music that is played with style, understanding, and conviction. Geared to congregations in which piano is the primary instrument, this presentation addresses the development of strategies for hymn playing that enliven and empower congregational song. These include identifying and conveying the inner character of a hymn, selecting appropriate tempos, crafting introductions and transitions that indicate clearly when the congregation is to sing, and exploring creative approaches to specific stanzas.


Shades of Red (and Green and Blue): The colorful story of our modern Lutheran hymnals

Lutheran patriarch Henry Muhlenberg’s dream for Lutherans in America was “one church, one book.” Indeed, for most of our history the hymnal was a powerful agent of unity, bringing denominations together and uniting disparate groups into larger bodies. It was the goal of planners of the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) to fully realize Muhlenberg’s dream at long last. Instead, the “green book” became an agent of fraction. What happened and why? How did the ELCA and LCMS come to be farther apart than ever? Does any hope for unity remain?

Developing an Effective Home Communion Ministry

It is particularly critical for leaders of aging congregations to maintain close relationships with their homebound members. Introducing or expanding your home communion ministry is a wonderful way to accomplish that. This presentation focuses on how to launch and sustain such a ministry, from getting out the word to recruiting communion deacons to developing a liturgy, organizing visits and reports, meaningfully engaging with recipients, and prayerfully administering the sacrament.

Uncovering Hidden Treasures in Evangelical Lutheran Worship.

You may think that your congregation prefers not to deviate from its core of some three dozen familiar hymns. But in fact they may be eager to explore new horizons. This presentation identifies lesser-known hymns in ELW that brim with character and purpose, and suggests ways in which they may be warmly welcomed into your worship life. Special emphasis will be given to hymns for Advent, Lent and times of lament. These may include “Each Winter as the Year Grows Older” (ELW 252), “Unexpected and Mysterious” (ELW 258), “As the Dark Awaits the Dawn” (ELW 261), “As the Sun With Longer Journey” (ELW 329), “In Deepest Night” (ELW 699), and “Bring Peace to Earth Again” (ELW 700).

"Circling" into the 21st Century

Ladies’ circles have long formed the backbone of many Lutheran congregations. In place of these small associations of like-minded women, consider launching a women’s group with a broad vision that transcends definitions of age, interest, and experience. Women young and old, corporate leaders, stay-at-home moms, and most others find themselves on an equal footing as they ponder common spiritual issues in deep and prayerful conversation. Forging and strengthening relationships in such an inclusive context will bring new life to your congregation. This presentation proposes strategies for forming, leading and sustaining such groups.

Let the Liturgy Live!

If you are craving new life in your liturgical worship, look no further than our cranberry hymnal.  Evangelical Lutheran Worship contains not just three but TEN settings of the communion liturgy, each with its own highly distinctive character.  When presented to your congregation with passion and conviction, they can greatly enliven the Sunday morning experience.  Used seasonally, they can bring definition and purpose to special times in the church year.  Geared to pastors and musicians, this session focuses on Settings 6 - 9 and offers tips for how to successfully introduce them into your congregation's worship life.  Areas to be addressed include tempo, pacing, accompaniment styles, challenging performance issues, and the creastive use of instruments.    

Pastor Nancy Raabe offered the following to those in congregational leadership.


Faith and Vocation Fellows, at ELCA Lutheran Campus Ministry, Madison WI (2018)

Leader, presentation and discussion for UW-Wisconsin students, to encourage a deeper analysis of the worship history and practices of Lutherans in America


Singing the Psalms:  Old Words, New Life   (2012) 
A blog entry for the Prelude Music Planner, discussing how to introduce Psalms into your worship, and best practice ideas as to how to prepare and present the Psalms during the liturgical year. 

Live presentation as
The Psalms in Our Worship Life:  Why We Can't Live Without Them   (2012)
At the 2012 SynodFest of the Southern Ohio Synod of the ELCA. 


These essays appeared in the Resource Center column of the ALCM Grace Notes, or her Prairie View column in the ALCM newsletter In Tempo.  In them, Rev Nancy M Raabe addresses concerns and offers suggestions that may be used immediately by fellow pastors, church musicians, and all worship leaders.

"Thy Strong Word":  Theology That Sings   (2017)  Download pdf

Let Creation Sing   (2017)  Download pdf

Liturgy, Structure, and Life   (2016)  Download pdf

Silence is ... Filled With Sound   (2016)  Download pdf

"Low Sunday"   (2016)  Download pdf

How Hymn Commissioning Can Work in Your Congregation   (2015)  Download pdf

Five Keys to New Life in Your Congregation   (2012)  Read it

Stewardship and Music Ministry   (2011)  Download pdf

The Offertory:  Revive, Refresh, Renew   (2011)  Download pdf

Five Things About Worship:  A Refresher for Musicians   (2010)  Download pdf

Sing for Creation:  A Hymn Festival of Thanksgiving    (2010)  Download pdf    Download in word

ALCM CDs:  The Congregational Song Series    (2010)  Download pdf

The Coming of God Into Our Midst:  A Bonhoeffer Hymn Festival for Advent    (2008)
Download in word

Most of these items are (c), Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.