A Theology of Small-Group Worship

Spiritual formation for individuals, small groups, and the church.

Note: This article has been excerpted from the SmallGroups.com training tool called Meaningful Worship in Small Groups.

For many churches, the majority of worship happens on Sunday morning. This is a significant way the body of Christ—as a community—focuses on God and his grace. However, worship that takes place during the week is vital to the life of the church, as well.

Small groups have the unique opportunity to worship in an intimate setting, using a range of formats, prayers, and musical styles to express their praise. This worship contributes to the spiritual formation not only individuals, but also the group as a whole. And by strengthening small groups, worship actually builds the church in its understanding of God's character and its evangelistic effectiveness.

Why Is Worship Vital to a Small Group?

When a small group worships together, they—as individuals and as a body—focus their attention first on God and his divine character made manifest in the person of Jesus Christ. Everything else the group does stems from this place of Christ-centeredness. In other words, worship is the fundamental center of a wheel that branches out into spokes. These spokes include evident Christian fruit, like service, compassion, and community.

This upward focus on Jesus also brings a sense of transparency to the group. Coming face-to-face with the holiness of Christ means we see ourselves as we truly are: broken, sinful, and in need of grace. This need is an individual burden and a corporate one. We share this brokenness not just with humanity, but also with all of creation (Romans 8:21–22). In the small-group context, therefore, our worship allows us to share our needs and become vulnerable with God and ...

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