It is Sunday morning at Otis United Methodist Church. The usual forty faithful parishioners sit in their familiar places in the pews of this traditional white clapboard church on the prairie.
Billie and Maudine are singing a “special” this morning. This duo, nurtured their entire lives in small churches, possess an innate understanding of what speaks to this congregation. The gospel song from their youth that they sing with deep emotion this morning is no exception. A transcendent moment of faith sharing occurs, heightened by personal connection to these two women that everyone knows. The worship that regularly unfolds in the Otis sanctuary, far from the contemporary church scene, is often spiritually renewing because of moments like these.
This experience from my ministry illustrates that vital, faithful worship in a small church relates to the nature of the small church itself. As a pastor serving a multiple-point charge of several small churches, I quickly learned that small churches have their own distinct personalities and cultures. Found in a wide variety of settings from rural areas to big cities, small churches not only differ individually from each other, but they also differ collectively from large churches. As is frequently pointed out, small churches are not small-scale versions of large churches (which, of course, are not all the same either). They function differently and have their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. Read More
Worship in the Small Church
How to Worship in Small-Membership Congregations
Where Twenty or Thirty are Gathered: Creative Worship Ideas for Smaller Congregations
Developing Worship in the Small Church - Part 1
Developing Worship in the Small Church - Part 2
3 Big Music Problems in Small Churches
Three Worship Myths That Frustrate Smaller Churches
Dealing with the Challenges of Leading Worship in Small Churches
Worship Guide for Small Churches
7 Ideas For Energetically Leading Worship in a Small Setting
Here’s a Quick Plan for Great Worship Music in Your Church
The church shown in the photo is St. Mark's Anglican Church, Benton, Kentucky, where I am involved in preaching and worship ministry.