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Part 5: Small Group Resources

Worshipping in Your Small Group

by Lynn Mather Breitenbach

Worship in a small group setting can be very different than in the large group setting, especially if you have folks who are insecure about their own worshiping. The first thing to do is to put people at ease by letting them know that we are all beginners in worship. Then help them by having a structure prepared to help them worship. Then model what you want your small group to do. This may mean that you have to step out of your own comfort zone. Use this as a challenge to grow deeper in worship.

It might be wise to have a discussion or Bible study on worship one evening in your small group and then end your meeting in worship. The following is a suggested outline for a discussion on worship. Here are nine general statements about worship:

Worship is inseparable from life.

Worship flows out of redemption.

Worship is Christ-centered.

Worship recognizes Christ's worthiness.

Worship involves prayer.

Worship is a blending of man and God.

Worships speaks to God of God.

Worship is celebration.

Worship is eternal.

Use this as an outline for discussion. You don't have to use them all; choose which ones you wish to discuss in your group. Share the statement and ask a series of questions about that statement. For example,

"Worship is inseparable from life." How is worship inseparable from life? Can you think of a Scripture that says that? How is this statement true in your own life?

You will have to prepare questions and Scripture ahead of time. You may use my questions for each, or prepare some of your own. The idea is to allow your small group members to discover the answers themselves. When the discussion is through, choose one or more of the following exercises and worship together.

Prayer

Begin worship with prayer. Prayer is the entrance to our worship. It prepares the soul for worship, expresses the spirit in worship, and interacts with God, which is worship. There are three types of prayer in worship:

 

  • Petition Prayer—releases God to action, includes supplication and intercession
  • Communicative Prayer—informs God of our attitudes as well as our desires, includes thanksgiving and praise
  • Communion Prayer—we fellowship with God in all of His actions. Includes submission and adoration, is a blending of God's spirit with ours.
Your goal is to help your small group reach communion prayer, that expression of our deep inner feelings about God to God. Don't worry that this doesn't happen at once; it takes a lot of time to reach this place.

Exercise: Have one person prepare, ahead of time, a call to worship prayer. Have one or two prepare communicative prayers of thanksgiving and praise. Have them come to small group prepared to read their prayer in worship.

Proclamation

Proclaim aloud the person and works of God.

Exercise:

Have a time in worship where your small group members, one by one, speak out:

 

  • the names of God
  • attributes of God
  • or finish the sentence, "Lord, I thank you for..."
Psalms

The psalms are the best resource for developing worship in your small group.

Exercise:

 

  • Have your group members turn to a Psalm and instruct them that during worship they are to speak their praise from that Psalm. Some good Psalms for this are 23, 27, 40, and 103.
  • Pray through a psalm with your group.
  • Have each person write his/her own psalm during the week (maybe as a quiet time exercise), or during your small group meeting. Give them a chance to read their psalms during worship.
  • Hymns

    Bring a hymn to small group and use it as worship. You don't have to sing it, unless you want to., but read the words as praise to God. You'll discover how worshipful the hymns are. Ask your pastor if he has any hymnals available for your use.

    Use worship choruses the same way. Prepare some worship songs and, instead of singing them, have everyone say them together or have each person read one, expressively. Remember to listen to the words and say them as praise to God.

    Testimony

    Testimony is a good praise-producing activity. Have members share their prayers answered during the week, one or two special things God did for them this week, the one thing about Christ that made them follow Him, one attribute of God that was demonstrated to them this week, etc. Then have a time of praise where everyone praises God for the thing that was shared. This means everyone will have to take notes to refer to in worship and remember to put emphasis on the testimony time as a time of praise.

    Positive Confession

    Confess your faith in God. Confess Jesus Christ as your Lord. Confess your willingness to serve Him. Confess your love for God. Have a time of confession where your small group can put into practice "positive" biblical confession.

    Confession of Sin

    This is an important part of worship. Sometimes we need to give our group members time to prepare their hearts for worship.

    Exercise:

    Give them a time of silent prayer and instruct them to confess their sins to God. Then lead them in a prayer of forgiveness.

    Service to Others

    This should be an ongoing attitude in your small group. Being servants to each other as worship is something you should always emphasize. Pray for each other during worship. Remember Jesus said that when we serve another we are serving Him, and so it becomes worship to Him.

    Exercise:

    Wash each other's feet. Divide the group into pairs and have a foot washing service. This is especially good at the end of the year or the end of the quarter along with communion.

    Other Ideas: Visit a nursing home as a group, or volunteer to work at a food bank or something similar, emphasizing that as we serve others we are serving and worshiping Jesus.

    Responsive Readings

    Exercises

     

  • Psalm 136 is an excellent responsive reading. Have one person speak the descriptive verse and the group respond with the repeating verse.
  • The Apostle's Creed is good to read together, then use as a basis for your worship time. Remember to listen to the meanings of the words.
  • Choose an appropriate psalm and have each person read a verse, or alternate verses (you read one verse and the group responds with the next). Remember to stress listening to the words and worshiping God through them.
  • Worship Cassettes

    If you have a small group in which singing is a challenge, use worship & praise cassettes to worship with. People will be able to sing with a recording and not feel exposed. Make sure the tape has a progression of worship songs that suits your small group and the theme you wish to express, and make sure everyone knows the songs. If you own a number of tapes, make one especially for your group by recording the songs in a special order.

    Your Imagination

    Use your imagination to come up with your own worship exercises. Mix and match these exercises to create a worship service in your small group. Here are a few things to remember:

     

  • Worship's number one goal is to bless God, not us. Our blessing is a by-product of worship. Remind your small group of this often.
  • Get everyone involved. Don't do everything yourself. Of course, you will have to do most of the planning, but seek to give your leadership away. Make worship a group activity.
  • You are preparing your people to worship in the large group setting. Encourage them to use what they are learning in the large group meeting.
  • Model what you want your small group to do. Love and adore God as you worship in your small group, and the others will follow.

  • Confessional Statement of Membership for Hillcrest Chapel

     

    Introduction: The confessional statement for the membership of Hillcrest Chapel is a goal that we will endeavor by the aid of Christ to fulfill. The phraseology employed in this confession is in no way imagined to be inspired, but it is designed to show you your possibilities, your potential, and hopefully, instill in you a picture of how the members of the Body of Christ function when they are mature and healthy. Consider it a "relational picture" of the Body of Christ in action as each part does its work and relates to the other members (Eph. 4:11-16).

    This confession will never be used as a club or an absolute standard by the leadership of this church. Nor should it be used to sponsor any form of legalism in our relationships with one another. "For in Christ we have been made free of the law of sin and death, and He has made us alive to walk in newness of life." Thus it isn't a strict "law" adherence that we are focusing on in this confession. That will bring only condemnation. It is, however, the "spirit" of this confession that we hope will encourage you to make the necessary commitment to follow Christ and minister effectively to your partners in His Body.

    If you succeed in fulfilling portions of this confession, then "to God be the glory, great things He has done." If you fail, then as the confession suggests, seek Christ's liberating power through His Word, the Holy Spirit, and the counsel of other confessional partners to return to the truth of God's Word.

    Shall we join hands in this great adventure of relationship? If I fail you, will you forgive me and help me? I do want to be your confessional partner—someone you can trust.

    Pastor Bob

    Confessional Statement:

    Having been led by the Spirit of God, I have received Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. According to Scripture, I have been born again through the Holy Spirit and have publicly confessed my faith in the Word and in Baptism (Rom. 6:3-5; 10:8-10). I also subscribe to the Statement of Doctrine of Hillcrest Chapel and do now enter into this confession with other members of this church. I recognize that I am justified before God by FAITH, not the law and acknowledge that the essential thing is faith expressing itself through love (Acts 5:6). Accordingly, I now endeavor by the aid of my Savior (Phil. 2:13; Zech. 4:6):

     

  • To love, accept, and forgive my confessional partners as Christ Jesus has first loved, accepted and forgiven me—Eph. 5:1-2; I Tim. 1:5; Rom. 15:7; Matt. 6:12,14-15; Col. 3:12-14; Eph. 4:2, 32; I Pet. 4:8.
  • To continually affirm, build up and live in peace with each partner even though at times I may disagree with their words or actions concerning disputable matters—I Cor. 14:1-23; Rom. 15:1-4; Rom. 12:16,18; Eph. 4:3.
  • To hold myself accountable to my confessional partners (Eph. 5:21) for my words, actions and the use of my gifts—I Cor. 12:13; Rom. 12:3-8; I Pet. 4:10. If hindrances to my spiritual life are discovered, I will seek Christ's liberating power through His Word, the Holy Spirit, and the counsel of my confessional partners to ensure my personal life and ministry continues to grow toward maturity—Zech. 4:6; John 8:31-32; Gal. 6:1-2; Prov. 24:11; 27:9; II Tim. 3:16; Heb. 5:4-6:3.
  • To prayerfully and lovingly fulfill my responsibility to confront when necessary my confessional partners (Eph. 5:11) for their words, actions and the use of their gifts when contrary to the Spirit of the Word of God—I Cor. 12; Rom. 12; I Pet. 4:10-11. I want to be of assistance to them in growing to the fullness of what God has designed them to be—Gal. 6:1-2; II Tim. 2:23-26; Matt. 18:15-20; Prov. 15:23; 27:17; 28:23. Likewise, if my actions, behavior, or attitudes become inconsistent with the Word of God as set forth in the Bible, then I agree to submit to the discipline of the Assembly as defined by the Scriptures—Matt. 18:15-17; Rom. 16:17; I Cor. 5:9-13; I Thess. 3:11-15 and Article II, Section 4 of the By-Laws of Hillcrest Chapel.
  • To dwell with my fellow members in a spirit of openness (II Cor. 6:11-13), sensitivity, honesty (Eph. 4:15; Prov. 24:26; II Cor. 1:8-11), confidentiality (Prov. 11:13; 16:28; 20:19; 25:9), compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love and holiness—Col. 3:12-14; Eph. 4:1-6; Heb. 12:12-14; I Thess. 5:15; Prov. 15:1. This will help us all to experience unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
  • To minister to my confessional partners by meeting needs in Jesus' name—Acts 2:41-47. As God enables me, I cheerfully make available my time, my prayer (I Tim. 2:1-2; Col. 1:19; I Thess. 5:17; James 5:16) and my resources (II Cor. 9:7; I John 3:16-18), and I will endeavor to make this one of my priority commitments—Gal. 6:10).
  • To pray (Col. 1:9-12; James 1:5-6) for the advancement of our church in knowledge, spirituality, and fruitfulness (John 15:8,16; Eph. 1:15-19a; 3:14-21), and to pray for our worship, training and teaching—Phil. 1:9-11.
  • To give regularly (I Cor. 16:1-2; II Cor. 8:7; 9:6-8) and cheerfully of my finances as God prospers me for the support of the pastors of this church (I Tim. 5:17-18; Gal. 6:6) and the ministries of the Body such as the relief of the needy (I John 3:17-20; James 1:27; Gal. 6:10), and the spreading of the gospel over the earth—Matt. 28:19-20; 10:8.
  • To take initiative to serve faithfully in some ministry of our church—James 1:22-24; 2:28; I Cor. 12: Matt. 22:39. I will take care to assume only such ministries as can be effectively performed (I Cor. 4:2); and I will attempt to improve my ability for service by a prayerful study of God's Word and by taking advantage of training opportunities supplied through the church—II Tim. 2:15; Eph. 4:7,11-12.
  • To maintain my family worship, my family prayer, my family Bible Study and a variety of other family activities that will help maintain our unity and growth in Christ Jesus—Eph. 5:22-6:4; Col. 3:18-21; Deut. 6:4-7; Prov. 22:6
  • To be an active ambassador of Christ Jesus to the lost multitudes of the world (II Cor. 5:20-21; Matt. 28:19-20) and will attempt by my example (Matt. 5:14-16), words and actions, to win souls to Christ Jesus—James 5:20; Prov. 11:30b. I will encourage unchurched believers to find a place of biblical instruction, worship and caring—Heb. 10:24-25.

  • Types of Hillcrest Small Groups

    NMC/Nurture Groups: A group gathered for worship, nurture, and caring

    Ministry Teams: Formed from scratch—five to 10 members who want to do a mission/ministry. They provide nurture, too, if needed.

    University Core Groups: Meet for nine months. Training of leaders and formation of groups administered by Campus Fellowship.

    BaseCamp (18-35): Single nonstudents, ages approximately 18-35, administered by Singles Pastor

    Scribe School Follow-up: Approximately 10-week school that follows seminar. Meets for general discussion and for small group "interpre-squads" each week to study a book of the Bible.

    Assimilation Groups: Formed to aid the assimilation of newcomers, e.g., Beginnings and Basics. Short term, approximately six weeks.

    Short Term Classes/Groups: Adult Equipping Seminars/classes, e.g. Pre-engagement, parenting class, Sunday night adult classes

    Mission Teams: Existing groups that have a mission. Ask them to add nurture of members to their meetings and become a Ministry Team.

    Application Groups: Meet 4-6 weeks to apply Sunday messages. Some continue on afterward to form new groups.

    Movin' On (35+): Single nonstudents, ages approximately 35+. Administered by Singles Pastor.

    Student/Apprentice Leaders: Student/apprentice leaders assist in the leading of assimilation groups and then meet for training and interaction with pastor/supervisor for one hour.

    Men's/Women's Groups: Meet during the week during morning or afternoon, usually not at night. Administered by pastors/staff.

    Short Term to Long Term: Some short term groups continue on to form long term groups, e.g., Basics, Beginnings, Application groups.

    Support Groups: Formed for those who need support, training, recovery in particular need areas. Administered by Hillcrest Staff and through Bridging Counseling Ministries.

    High School/Junior High Small Groups: Formed after rapport has been established by High School/Junior High counselors. Meet during the week, dismiss in summer.

    Merged Groups: Groups who may lose members, or two small groups who don't reach optimum size, may merge to form a larger and stronger group.

    Spiritual Friendships: Two or three people who meet regularly to form deep and accountable friendships.


    "Framework" Planning Guide

    1. Our leadership team is: (one person may fill more than one role)

    Leader/ Shepherd_______________________________________________

    Co-leader(s)__________________________________________________

    Administrator (Grapevine, phone calling etc.)_______________________

    Worship/ song leader___________________________________________

    "Apprentice"__________________________________________________

    2. We have planned to meet together for ____weeks, after which time we will review our "contract" and evaluate the group.(From ________to________)

    3. We will meet each week as follows:

    Location______________________________________

    Day of week___________________________________

    Begin/ Close time_______________________________

    4. Our specific goal during this period is:

    5. Our study will be based on (list Bible book, theme, sermon response, etc.):

    6. Here's our plan regarding:

    Refreshments—

    Child Care—

    Members' commitment to attendance (followup of absentees, etc.)—

    7. We plan to do the following ministry outside our group :

    8. We'll celebrate the end of this "contract" by (potluck, family night, etc.):

    9. Describe your plans regarding new members during this period:


    Ideas for Childcare

    Each small group must decide to what degree children will be involved. There are many different approaches you might take with your group. You need to think through the possibilities and design a plan that fits your needs. Here are a few possibilities:

     

  • Trade off with another group or individual. For example, "I watch your kids on Tuesday night while you attend your group, then you watch mine on Wednesday evening while I go to my group."
  • If you meet in a home that has a separate large room, one member of the group, on a rotating basis, cares for the children. This allows the children to be involved with part of the meeting (i.e. worship) and then be dismissed.
  • Hire one or more sitters to care for the children in a home separate from the one where the group meetings are held. Group members, whether or not they have children, participate in the payment of the sitter (e.g., $2 per child per night).
  • Have periodic "family nights" when the evening is planned with children as the focus (this is their night).
  • Leave it up to each family to make plans for the care of their children on small group night.

  • Small Group Grapevine

     

    Pastor/Leader: Meeting Place:

    Co-Leader/(s): Day/time:

    Apprentice/(s):

    Mission Advocate:

    List number of times your group met during the month of

    Current Group Members/Name/Address/Phone #: *List Address/Phone Changes: (Children in Parentheses)

    Hillcrest people under our group's care (former group members, special needs, etc.)

    Name: Address: Phone#

    Pastoral Care Concerns List any of the following:

    1. Praise report 2. Problem areas/individuals 3. Answered prayer

    4. What has your group done this month to minister to those outside your group?


    Bibliography

    Coleman, Lyman, Serendipity Training Manual for Groups, Serendipity House, Littleton, Colorado, 1989.

    George, Carl F. Prepare Your Church for the Future, Revell Company, Tarrytown, New York, 1991.

    Hestenes, Roberta. Using the Bible in Groups, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1983.

    McBride, Neil F. How to Lead Small Groups, Navpress, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1990.

    The Navigators. How to Lead Small Group Bible Studies, Navpress, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1986.