It’s great to learn from other churches, to be inspired by bigger and better, but what about the smaller settings? What if you are leading in a smaller church? What if your stage area is more traditional, without grand lighting or state of the art tech?
If you watch many tutorial videos, follow #worship on social media or hear about it from others, you may feel like you’re not anywhere close to successful.
But the truth is, a majority of the worship settings are smaller. There is a vast army of worship leaders, musicians and vocalists who lead in all kinds of settings in thousands of smaller groups all over the globe. For the sake of numbers, maybe this is anywhere from 40 – 150. A vast majority of congregations are in this size range.
I have written before about some of the things that you need to be aware of as you are leading, with energy, in a smaller setting. But here are three other thoughts. You may not have a huge budget, a large talent pool, incredible production, but Jesus is still the ultimate worship leader, the Holy Spirit is still present and you have these three advantages:
Of course there are beautiful relationships in a larger church, too, but it’s just different in a smaller setting. The college group who worships together with an acoustic guitar knows each other personally. They are together nearly everyday. The small church members have probably been together as a church for years with strong and connected family heritage and shared memory. And this affects the presentation.
In a huge congregation, the only relationship some attenders have with the worship team is from the stage. It’s purely based on sound, presentation, production and skill. A connection does grow, but there isn’t a personal knowledge. That’s why it’s important for people to be in a small group. The larger the church, the smaller it must grow to connect everyone. The worship often serves as a small group feel and the bond grows deeply among those members.
But if the stage presentation falters, so does the opportunity to connect. You literally are connected through your stage presentation and ministry. In a smaller setting, the relationship is there and stable. It will carry the worship, music and presentation, even without the grand lighting, tech and video that isn’t normally possible. Your church can offer relational connection and it’s powerful. People who are part of your church can be known, loved, missed and cared for on a different level. This will always be a niche for the smaller settings of worship.
God wired each of us up with distinct and unique personalities. For some people, a more reserved, informal and simpler setting for worship is preferred. For these folks, all the commotion that goes into a full scale, larger church setting is too much….from the size, to the level of conversation, connection, volume and everything else. There is an entire population who prefers a smaller setting for worship and only the smaller styles of churches can usually offer that well.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR INVOLVEMENT
I once heard that a large number of pastors come out of smaller churches. If that’s true, it could be because there are more opportunities for students to participate in smaller setting vs large ones. Not that we shoot for lower expectations, but in a sense, the larger a ministry, the systems, requirements and expectations grow with it. At some point, no high school student will ever get the opportunity to truly lead in a larger church because they wouldn’t be able to afford to offer that opportunity. It may not be a match for consistency. But in the smaller settings, we can take more risks, involve more people and if need be, recover quickly (most related to the heavy relational component). As a leader in a smaller setting, encourage young people and new people to get involved, to learn music, to help with tech, and whet their appetites for serving in ministry within the church.
As I close this post, a caution to say I believe God has all sizes of churches situated in the right places to reach the world. Worship is one of the primary things we do, but in case any of these sounded like I’m agaisnt large churches, I’m not. Just wanted to point to some of the encouraging differences for the smaller settings and the leaders who serve.
No matter where you are serving, I encourage you to give you all! Be content, keep making things better and enjoy the season God has you in right now.