Worship Music in Small Groups?

July 16th, 2013

Does your small group have a time of worship when they meet?

So often we think of worship music as something reserved for the weekend church service and never consider that it could be part of our small group gatherings. The idea of singing in an intimate setting where someone might hear us is intimidating enough to wipe the idea off the schedule! And yet, so many people are moved and inspired to worship God through music. It seems we might be missing an opportunity for worship when we don’t include song in our small group.

Think about a typical small-group gathering. So often people come through the door, their minds cluttered with their calendar or their heart racing with the emotions of the day. Rather than offer a quick opening prayer and diving in to the Bible rushed, a short time of worship through music first may be the better option. A ten-minute time of worship will prepare the hearts of those in the room to experience God, hear His voice, and set Him as the focus.

You can facilitate worship music in your small group. No music expertise needed; no talent necessary! Here are some ideas to choose from:

Prepare the Space

As the group arrives, have worship music playing softly. This will set a worshipful tone. Or, if the group has a guitarist, ask them to play softly as people arrive. Keep this going until you open in prayer then proceed with the study as usual.

Singing Together

Select songs that everyone knows and print some song sheets. Do you have a musician who could sing or play an instrument to lead the songs? Could you ask someone from your church’s worship team to join you and lead the worship for one evening? These options would be great, but the fact is CD’s and iTunes will work just as well. Let the recordings lead the worship time. And the louder you play them, the more likely the small group is likely to sing – they won’t feel their voice is singled out.

Be Still Together

Dim the lights in the room, play some instrumental worship music, and as group members arrive, give them a slip of paper with instructions that encourage them to find a comfortable space to sit and relax and open their Bible to the passages of the study for the evening. Encourage them to read these and pray through them during a time of silence before the opening prayer.

A Prayer of Praise

Choose two or three worship songs in advance and play them for the group. Encourage each person to listen and write down what lyrics are meaningful to him or her. When the last song ends, lead the group in a prayer of praise, praying back to Him the lyrics that ministered to them.

Take Communion Together

Communion is not just for “big church.” Communion can be a personal practice as well as one for a small group. Purchase whatever elements are needed from the grocery store, or you can get portable communion sets at most Christian Book Stores. Choose a song the group can sing or listen to in preparing their hearts for this sacrament. Read the gospel account from Mark 14 or Luke 22, or from 1 Corinthians 11. As you read the passage, take the elements. After this, lead the group in a time of remembrance and thanksgiving, having the group members share what Jesus means to them. Close in prayer.

Worship with the Word

Choose in advance a Psalm for each member of the group to read, or have them bring one of their choice. If you are choosing, some suggestions might be, Psalm 29, 33, 65, 84, 92, 96, 98, 100, and 148. With background music or not, have the members read their Psalm aloud as a time of worship. Reading God’s Word aloud is powerful for both the reader and the listeners. God is glorified by this simple act. No singing required!

Share A Song

Whether you do this in one gathering or over the course of many weeks, ask each person in your small group to bring a favorite Christian song. Play each piece of music, and let the person who chose it explain why it is meaningful to him or her. The songs evoke worship and the sharing brings about an intimacy in the group that might not have occurred otherwise.

This is worth a try! Consider the unique identity of your group and select what you think might work best. It could be you will land on one idea that really works for your group and you will incorporate it weekly. Or, variety might be what your group likes most. Whatever it is, you will discover that worship music in the small group setting is enriching to the group and fosters a devotion to God and His Word in a distinctive way. Don’t miss it!

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