Worship Guide for Small Churches
When churches are new, and even in the life of an established congregation, there will be times when you don’t have anyone to lead worship. Don’t worry, it is possible to worship God without a worship team. While I enjoy anointed worship music, I’ve learned that we must worship God in spirit and in truth.
John 4:24 – “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Every Christian’s goal should be to worship God in all things, at all times. We should be able to worship under all circumstances. Worship is being aware of, and responding to, the presence of God.
Having an awesome worship experience is good, but that should not be the only consideration. The worship setting can help us “get in the mood,” but it should not be the measuring stick for how great your church is.
Worship Tips for Small Churches
- Worship without instruments. An enthusiastic person leading the congregation in heart-felt worship can be very powerful. Having singers, musicians and sound equipment is not a prerequisite to having an anointed worship service. Some denominations don’t use instruments and have beautiful worship services. If you find someone who loves the Lord, can carry a tune, and is bold, that’s really all you need.
- Learn how to play an instrument. This may sound crazy to those of you who are not musically inclined, but learning to play piano “by ear” is really not that difficult. I had to learn how to play piano very quickly after we accepted a position at a small country church. It’s surprisingly easy to put a worship set together using basic chords. Of course having a little natural rhythm helps.
When I was learning to play, our oldest son said, “It’s kind of like playing drums on the piano!” If piano isn’t your thing, simple guitar worship tabs are another option. I was never able to stick with guitar long enough to get through the callous stage, but some people find it easier and more convenient than playing piano.
- Use praise and worship split tracks. Yes, they are old school, but split tracks allow you to adjust the level of the lead vocal, allowing you to play both vocals and instruments, or completely mute the vocals when you have singers but no musicians.
The biggest drawback with split tracks is the canned nature of the worship. Unless you have a talented sound person, being spontaneous is out of the question. It can be done, and I’ve been in services that used this method very effectively, but it does have its challenges. That said, if it’s your only option it’s definitely better than no worship at all!
- Recruit singers and musicians. Even the smallest churches have a few singers or musicians hiding in the back row. It’s been my experience that the most anointed members are the last to come forward. Letting the first volunteers lead worship has always been a disaster for us.
Early in our ministry my husband and I allowed a few people to be on the worship team without knowing if they were called. It didn’t work out very well. Take your time and do it right. Remember, it’s much easier to give authority than take it back! A few questions to ask yourself before allowing someone to lead worship:
- Are they faithful? If a person can’t be faithful in basic things like attendance, or if they are not willing to help in other areas besides the glamorous ones, they should not be on the worship team (Luke 16:10-12).
- Are they spiritually mature? The person you choose must be a Christian and have an understanding of the gospel. Also, anyone wanting to be in any ministry should feel God has called them.
- Are they gifted? A lot of pastors make the mistake of thinking if a person’s heart is right it doesn’t matter if they can sing or play an instrument, however, God requires our best (1 Chronicles 15:22). They should at least be able to sing on key or be proficient in the instrument they play.
- Are they willing to be taught? If they are rebellious, have a negative spirit, are argumentative, or have a huge ego, don’t allow them be on the worship team. Yes, a person should have talent, but most importantly they must have a servant’s heart and be humble.
- Are they ministers or entertainers? Don’t put someone on the worship team simply because their talents dazzle you. I know singers and musicians with tremendous abilities who can’t operate under the anointing. They may be able to entertain you, and even help build your church, but they can’t lead people into God’s presence.
Regardless of the ministry position you are seeking to fill, pray about whether the person you are considering is called to be a leader in your church. What works for one church may not work for another. God always brings what our churches need, when they need it.