Small Town Worship

Every Monday I post one of The Basics. The Basics are simple steps every church can take to grow. They are the same steps that led my church from 87 people in attendance to over 700. These steps have helped my church see hundreds of people saved and baptized in just a few short years. Most of these steps you can take this week without even having a board meeting. These are The Basics.


If I were to ask you what’s the one area in your church that could use the most help, what would you say? If you pastor in a small town like I do, I’m betting you would say worship.

I know worship can have many meanings, but for the sake of our discussion here, I’m talking about the singing that happens during service.

If you were being honest, how would you rate your worship?

I have to say be honest because in the church world often times we have the attitude of Paula Abdul when she was a judge on American Idol. She didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so she told everyone they were good.

This strategy works well for one person…the singer. It stinks for everyone else who has to listen to him or her.

I know that sounds harsh, and maybe I sound more like Simon Cowell, but there’s a lot at stake here.

Many people will choose to stay or leave your church based on the quality of the worship.

Isn’t that shallow? Maybe, but it’s reality.

Now, before you get frustrated and start thinking up all the excuses about how you don’t have any musicians or you can’t afford to pay a worship pastor, let me clarify something.

Your worship doesn’t have to be at the quality of a Hillsong Church or Elevation Church. In most cases in small towns, it just needs to be a little better than average.

Where do I find a band? I’m not saying you even have to have one. When I was in college I attended student services a Church of Christ put on and the worship was acapella. It was a much better worship experience than the churches I had attended in my hometown which all had bands.

If you have musicians on stage that can’t play, they’re hurting the experience not adding to it.

So, do we do away with all musicians? Not necessarily. I think that can work for some churches, but I think most people like music being a part of worship.

Here would be my suggestion. Find at least one person who can sing. They don’t have to be great, but they need to be better than average. Let that person sing along with a track until you can find capable musicians.

Isn’t that like karaoke? Yep, and it’s the same thing tons of professional artists do every week.

My bet is that you have at least a couple of people in your church that can sing. They’re probably not going to volunteer because they’ve seen what you’re allowing on stage and they don’t want to be a part of it. Find out who these people are and try them out.

If you can’t identify anyone to sing, go and visit a local college or high school talent show. I guarantee you’ll find someone who can sing, and there’s a good chance they love Jesus. Ask them to come sing at your church. If finances allow, offer to pay them to start leading worship for you.

It could be the best investment you’ll ever make.

If you pastor a small town church, what are you doing for worship? How do you find talented people?

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