By Darin Browne
Being a praise and worship leader in a small group or church may seem light years away from some of the huge church worship meetings you see on television, but in fact they have many things in common.
During my career as a praise and worship leader, it has been my privilege to lead worship, sing and play the guitar in a variety of meetings, from huge stadiums filled with tens of thousands of people right through the small home groups, where a few faithful believers gather to worship and fellowship. I’ve been a praise and worship leader in conservative churches as well is in Pentecostal churches and in every sort of church in between, and I’ve done this in my home country of Australia, the US, throughout Asia, Africa and Europe.
I have discovered that, regardless of the size of the audience, basic principles can be applied which will yield positive results in almost every situation, regardless of your church denomination, the size of the audience or the number of people on your worship team.
The small group praise and worship leader has one clear advantage over the praise and worship leader who is leading thousands of people: intimacy! While I enjoy leading worship in front of large audiences, there is something very special about leading a small group deep into the intimate and anointing of worship, where it is almost as if you are a small group sitting at the feet of the throne. However, this does not mean that the techniques and tips which apply when ministering to a large audience are no longer applicable. A house church or cell group is in fact the ideal place for the young praise and worship leader to learn, grow and train in the art of worship leading.
Many of the tips and techniques which we use on stage in front of large audiences have equal application for a small group. The ability to flow from one song to another, going up keys, blending songs together, singing in harmonies and so on all apply equally to a small group as they do to a large. In fact, because worship leading in a house church or small group is more intimate and usually only has a guitar or two, a piano or a quiet rhythmical instrument, the discerning praise and worship leader is presented with a golden opportunity to explore and develop vocal harmonies, open worship and high praise in a way that is simply not available in the big church environment.
I recognize that across the world, the vast majority of praise and worship leaders are plying their trade in small churches. Even for myself, when I come home from ministering internationally where I have been traveling in ministering in front of tens of thousands of people, I lead worship in my home church in front of only 50 or 60 people. And you know what, I love both experiences!
In the Worship in a Nutshell series I have just produced a book called worship leading in a small church, in an effort to encourage the praise and worship leader in home church, cell group or small church. In fact, all the things that I teach regarding worship on the larger stage of can also be applied to worship in a small group and many of the management issues regarding worship team members are also applicable. If you are a praise and worship leader, you can download this book for free and develop your praise and worship leader skills and techniques.
But above all, if you are a praise and worship leader in a home church or cell group, I want to encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing. You are no better or worse, or more or less worthy than the praise and worship leader who ministers every Sunday in front of thousands. We are all on the same team, we are simply playing in different positions! You deserve the same recognition, the same understanding and the same level of training as the Mega-church worship leader, and the same support from your team members, your pastor and your congregation. Even in a small group, the right training will make you a better praise and worship leader, so check out our site for tips, techniques and training they can enhance your worship ministry.
Darin Browne is an internationally known Praise and Worship leader who has been leading worship for over 20 years in a variety of churches across most denominations in many countries around the world. He is the worship director for Bill Newman International Evangelistic Ministries.