For this question I want to expand on the traditional definition of worship. Here it means complete submission to the Holy Spirit, total surrender, including sacrifice of the junk that is in us. The small group point person is the starting point for worshipful submission throughout the ministry. Our example trickles down through our leadership, so our personal submission and surrender to the Lord is a critical factor to everyone we lead. We must continually put ourselves on the altar as living sacrifices (see Rom. 12:1), knowing that God wields the knife as a surgeon, not an assassin. The following habits have kept me going for thirty-five years in ministry:
• Quiet time. Whatever it takes, I make it happen. I am a terrible reader, so I use audio via the Drivetime Devotions app. Ten minutes of Scripture sets the table for me to reflect with the Lord. Spend time with God to be used by him.
• Tithing and time. When God owns your finances ,he owns you. When God owns your calendar, he owns you. Giving is worship.
• Community. Authentic human relationships—especially with those who love you in ways that improve you—make you more Christlike.
Worship helps you and your leaders connect the ministry dots so every- one “gets it.” Helping all your leadership connect with God will do more than a hundred times as much as training. So in sustaining your ministry, keep yourself and your leaders in close touch with your best advocate, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit held first century churches together through – out all the chaos and turmoil, and he will do the same for yours. You may think you control your ministry, but it is his ministry, and he controls it. Plan for and expect meaningful experiences that allow God to do what only he can do, and it will make your job a lot easier!
Train your leaders to plan small group worship with care so it doesn’t seem like a waste of time but rather an integral part of group members’ spiritual health. When God commanded us to observe a Sabbath as part of submissive worship, he certainly didn’t consider that a waste of time. We fear that taking a day off from work will put us behind. But God can do more with six days than we can do with seven. All other time devoted purely to God is equally meaningful and will renew us in ways we never thought possible. I myself struggle to believe this. But if I worked and rested my way, instead of God’s way, I’d trash my marriage, my kids, even my ministry.
We encourage small groups to enjoy worship in numerous ways, both in group meetings and in members’ lives seven days per week. Some groups may celebrate the Lord’s Supper, delving deep into related Scriptures and prayer, so that members aren’t limited to the brief experience in weekend services. Some groups also use:
- Scripture meditation. Someone reads a Scripture passage, then members silently dwell on the meaning and application of the teaching before sharing how it spoke to them.
- Video. The large selection of worship on video provides many options to play before or in response to Bible study.
- Singing. If your group has the talent, go for it. (If my small group sang, that would be our last meeting and the video would go viral!)
- Communion. This is powerful if your church polity allows it.
This is an excerpt from Steve Gladen’s book “Planning Small Groups With Purpose”