Have you been there? If yes, you’d know the feeling!
We depend on music and musicians to fill the worship environment so much so that without them, it feels kinda empty, right!
On the other hand, such sessions are good times to remember and put into practice an important truth: music is just one among the many vehicles available to express our worship.
So how do you lead worship without music?
5 ways to practice that worship is more than a song and engage people without music
Use simpler, shorter and familiar songs—teaching longer and complex songs without a musical instrument is a daunting challenge and I am yet to see anyone do it successfully (myself included).
Use choruses or responsorial songs where you sing one line and the people sing the same line or a different line back to you (E.g. Hallelujah Glory, He is the Lord (Show Your Power) etc.)
Use loads of scripture—verses from the Psalms work really well as also other ‘songs’ in the Bible like the Magnificat for instance.
Read the verses aloud, designate one verse as a ‘chorus’ and encourage people to repeat it back as a response when other verses are being read.
For example, if we are using Psalm 8, we could fix the 1st (and the last) verse as the ‘response’. ”
“Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8: 1,9)
The worship leader can then read each verse one by one and pause after each verse for the people to respond with “Lord, our Lord, how majestic…”
3. Praise prayers
In a small group, we can also request quick praise prayers from the people; short testimonial praise/thanksgiving prayers with a few moments of free praising at the end of each prayer.
In case, your group is not too comfortable with shouting out free praise prayers, use one or two lines from a song as a refrain instead —a good example would be “God, You are my God, and I will ever praise You.”
Contemporary Christian songs are not the only musical genre for worship!
There are other types of beautiful music too—like chants.
They are short, easy to learn and you can repeat them easily to create a meditative/reflective atmosphere.
Lookup YouTube for Taizé worship videos to start with.
It’s good to call for times of silence in corporate worship too.
As much we like to do many activities when we worship, waiting on the Lord in silence is also equally important—because it’s in those silent moments that we are able to listen to the voice of our Lord.
So it’s only right that we give Him time to speak to us, right?
The goal for corporate worship with or without music from a worship leader’s perspective remains similar: to engage people and facilitate them to participate actively and authentically.
Hopefully, these ideas will help you become more comfortable to lead worship without music.
How else can we help people stay aware that worship is more than a song? Why don’t you leave a comment and share your thoughts.