Homegroup Worship – a lifeless fire about to go out?
I’ve just finished a book by Steve & Mandy Briars called Homegroups: The Authentic Guide. The chapter on worship is worth summarising here. It starts:
“The topic of worship is one of the most contentious and fervently debated issues in church life. Should we only be singing the latest songs or raising the rafters with the hymns that have stood the test of time? Do we cast our vote of approval when we hear the beat of the drum or inwardly groan when the chords are struck on the church organ?”
The book references the Bible’s rich tapestry of references to worship – Moses rejoicing in praise after the Exodus, Jesus and the disciples singing a hymn after the Last Supper, Paul and Silas praising God in prison. But it then discusses the topic of worship in house groups.
“Worship in most homegroups is like a coal fire which is almost about to go out, lifeless with a few embers around the edges trying desperately to glow…..leaders struggle to know how to lead worship in small groups. You are trying to replicate the worship from your church fellowship meetings and it just doesn’t work.”
Steve and Mandy suggest four ideas:
Accept that you are only a small group of people and there is nowhere to hide
The time spent in worship needs to be appropriate to the group
Worship needs to be more than singing (and we would add that it doesn’t necessarily have to be singing)
Develop a desire for worship
Preparation – they recommend spending time prayerfully preparing the worship in advance so that it is fresh and spirit led.
Context – when we arrive at housegroup we are often buzzing from the day. Its good to start with silence and meditation in order to encourage everyone to relax and clear their minds and focus on God.
How to worship – now we often think there has to be sung worship, but what if no one in your group is musical? The Briars suggest:
Meditation – a theme really helps, start with a clip from a wildlife DVD
Reading from scripture
Prayers of praise and worship
Share testimonies and stories
Read from a book or poem
Listen to a piece of music
One option if you would like to sing is to use one of the backing track resources that are available. We designed the Musicademy worship backing band DVDs specifically for this purpose.
I hope you have found these thoughts helpful. Please do comment with your own experiences below.