Dr. David Horton interviewed NC Baptist Worship Ministries Strategist, Kenny Lamm, for a new course that will be offered at Fruitland Baptist Bible College. The interview’s content is so relevant to smaller-membership churches that it was adapted for use here. The interview deals with (1) how churches can stay relevant in their worship practices today to reach young and old alike, (2) how to find resources when you don’t have enough musicians to lead worship and (3) ways to get the training your worship leaders need to lead your church well.

PODCAST: Worship Ministry in the Smaller-Membership Church

by Kenny Lamm and David Horton

Podcast Highlights:

A lot of our small churches, in hopes of reaching new people and staying more relevant to the times, are seeking to adjust their worship to a more blended style–incorporating the old hymns and some more modern worship music. This can be a difficult transition. What advice would you give them?

    • Worship styles that formerly engaged the people, now often seem to be meaningless ritual–just going through motions. Many small churches are declining, plateaued and looking for ways to make changes–ways to reach younger people–ways to remain relevant to the communities around them. Some leaders think all we have to do is change the music and we will turn the church around!
    • Think about the term blended worship. What is it? Why does this style of worship not normally work? It can also cause major conflict in the church. Kenny talks about the shortcomings of blended worship.
    • Unified worship – the better way.
      • Kenny shares this description of biblical worship by Jim Altizer (The Making of a Worship Leader): “The Apostle Paul described the body of Christ not in a homogeneous way, but as being composed of old and young (Titus 2:2–6); rich and poor (1 Cor 11:21–22); of varied giftedness (1 Cor 12:4); mixed in race, gender and status (Gal 3:28; 1 Cor 12:13). It is tempting to simplify things by narrowing or targeting the population of your Church, but Paul makes the case that homogeneity (sameness) actually cripples the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:19). Unity, on the other hand, verifies both the Truth and love of God. Unity within diversity is the way of Christ. Consequently, when outsiders see the proverbial ballerina, punked–out teenager, brain surgeon and custodian all worshipping together, they are convinced of the real Jesus, and of his love for his people. They know something supernatural is going on.”
      • Quote by Chuck Swindoll (The Church Awakening): When self-centered desires reign supreme, there will never be unity in the body of Christ, much less in worship. But when self-sacrifice is the priority, unity falls into place.
      • Kenny presents a concept of unified worship that is different from blended worship–one that brings together all generations. It’s so much more than the way we program our songs. It’s not enough to use old songs and new songs in one service.
      • There are dynamics outside of just the corporate worship time that builds unity. You must invite your people to do life together in various ways, such as:
        • a mission project intentionally putting young and old side by side working together
        • senior adults “adopting” a young person to spend time with, pray for, etc.
        • times of fellowship and fun with intergenerational groupings
        • small groups of varying ages studying a book of the Bible or a topic
        • ministry teams with young and old serving together as greeters, tech team, or worship team, etc.
        • creation of prayer partners linking young and old
        • creation of an intergenerational choir, with participants sitting with people of another generation
        • any activity or ministry project that puts together young and old
      • How we really engage all our generations in worship also involves the songs we select, the keys we sing them in, how we interact with people from the platform, and much more.
      • Corporate worship is the primary means of discipleship in the local church.

      How about those churches that no longer have anyone to play an instrument to accompany congregational singing? What solutions do they have if they cannot find someone to do this? And if a church wants to add more modern worship songs to their services, what can they do if they do not have a band?

      • Blog: Worship with Limited Musician Resources
        • Piano and/or organist-led technology solutions
        • Band-led worship technology solutions – mp3s
        • Virtual worship bands
      • Help from larger churches loaning musicians

    How can a bi-vocational worship leader get training to be better equipped in their calling?

      • Fruitland Baptist Bible College and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary have partnered with NC Baptist to offer advanced worship leader training. This is a comprehensive class that covers everything from understanding the biblical basis of worship and the role of a worship leader to implementing the plan with the choir, instrumentalists, tech team, congregation, and yourself. It builds on those foundations and builds out everything we do to lead the worship ministry in our churches, from selecting songs to planning services that transform lives. It begins with a 3-day retreat, followed by an option to go online for a max of 6 months with additional content and assignments to earn academic certificates in worship leading. Learn more here.
      • The Worship Ministry Guidebook
      • More resources coming. Check out this blog for lots of resources.