First of all, thank you so much for stepping out to lead others through Worship and the Word. I hope I’m able to give you some helpful ideas along the way. This page may change as time goes along and I hear some other great ideas from you all. So please feel free to share what’s worked for you, as well as your questions. Let’s do this together!
1 – Encourage engagement with the study. That may sound obvious, but this isn’t a passive study at all. Encourage people to read their lesson each week AND answer all of the questions in the “Pause to reflect and pray” section at the end of each lesson. When you meet for Lesson 1, tell them that they will NOT have to share everything that they write in that section – that a lot of it is personal and private. But it’s imperative that they take the time before God to reflect and worship. Encourage stillness. Actually, if you have contact with them in advance of this study, it would be good to communicate all of that ahead of time. If you have any couples sharing books, then they must have another journal/notebook to record their answers in.
2 – Encourage discussion during your meetings together. Hopefully you have some folks who are good conversationalists in the mix, so encourage them. (Though don’t let any one person dominate.) But as you go through the lesson, ask them to share what passages or thoughts impacted them most. Ask what their reactions are to particular sections. And make sure you share your own thoughts as you go. Encourage vulnerability by being vulnerable yourself.
3 – Encourage people to read the scripture passages in the study out of their own Bibles – both on their own at home and during the study together. We all need to get more familiar with our Bibles! And different translations may be refreshing. If you get a discussion going about the meaning of particular words, then go to the Hebrew and Greek. I personally love Biblehub.com for this. It’s so easy to use. A good thing to remember is that we don’t interpret the Bible based on our own experiences; we interpret our experiences based on what the Bible has to say.
4 – Encourage your group to pray for each other throughout the week as you go through the study. Expect spiritual battle. The enemy does NOT want us to worship the God of the universe, so he definitely doesn’t want us studying about it! So bathe your time together, and apart, in prayer.
5 – Encourage an attitude of expectation surrounding the study. God WANTS us to learn and grow as His worshipers. He wants us to grow in our knowledge of Him and in our intimacy with Him. This is life changing stuff! Expect Him to work and move in your lives!
6 – Worship! This is a study on worship, right? So encourage worship privately as people go through the study, and then worship at the end of each lesson meeting. When I teach through this study, I plan on an 80-90 minute time frame. I spend the first hour in discussion about the book, and then close with a time of worship. The first week may be shorter – your discretion as you consider your group. But beginning with lesson 2 or 3, I transition the worship time into one that is more intimate/private. I have people turn their backs to each other so they felt more alone with God. If you have the ability to spread out more, that’s good. It’s also not imperative that everyone worships the same way at that time. If some want to stay and worship with music (yet privately) and others want to go elsewhere for a set time and worship without music, that’s great. The goal is for people to grow in their PERSONAL worship of God. So that may look differently around your group – and that’s ok. Vary it. Ask the Holy Spirit guide you as you plan and lead that time. (Note that you can find worship song suggestions for each lesson here under “W&W TOOLS” > “W&W worship songs for lessons”. Be sensitive to include familiar songs along with any new ones you find.)
7 – Give additional information when needed. One thing that I feel strongly about is sharing about the Spirit-filled life during Lesson 4 on our position in worship. I’d rather not assume that everyone understands some of those important things about the Christian life (confession of sin, the carnal Christian, daily walking in the power of the spirit), because they are good reminders for all of us anyway. So during Lesson 4, I share about the Sprit-filled life as found in Cru/Campus Crusade’s brochure called “Satisfied?”. It is easy to explain and understand, and is full of scripture to back it up. You could also order a copy for everyone in advance so they can study it in more detail on their own, if you’d like. You can read “Satisfied?” here. And you can buy copies here. In the conversation about who can worship God, these are crucial topics to cover. There is a lot more wonderful teaching on worship in the books I have listed on the “W&W Tools” > “Suggested Reading” page, as well.
8 – Be flexible. Believe it or not, sometimes I teach Lesson 9 during the 5th week – so out of order. And I wrote the book! This all depends on your group. But if you’re using worship music during your times of worship together, ask yourself whether everyone there is accustomed to the same type/style of worship music. This could be an issue if not discussed. Lesson 9 talks about new songs, repeated words, and other issues some may struggle with. If so, then go ahead and cover Lesson 9 early – but NOT before the very important Lesson 4. Another reason to cover Lesson 9 early in some situations, is that it covers topics like lifting hands and kneeling. Since we’re encouraging private worship at home AND during the study times together, we want to foster an attitude of discovering who God has created each of us to be individually in our worship of Him – and pouring that out before Him. So that’s a good topic to cover early in some groups.
Well, I hope that’s helpful. I would love to hear what’s worked for you, take your questions, and get a leader support group going here. Thanks again for your willingness to serve Christ in this way. May you be blessed richly for it!