Friday, September 11, 2015

Has the Day of Weekly Large Group Worship Events Passed?

Mike Puckett has a great article @CollegiateCollective ("Decentralize or Die") about his decision to go from having a large group worship event to all small groups and why it was the best decision he has made. It is a reminder of the truth that all ministry situations are unique and decisions have to be made with that in mind. No body knows your situation like you do.

There are some today who say the time of large group weekly worship events in College Ministry is gone. I must admit, I'm not in that camp. Some places it is working as well or better than ever. Yet, we have to continually evaluate what we are doing and how we are doing it. Some years back I wrote that one of the negatives of the Passion Conference is that many College Ministries are trying to duplicate a passion session each week. The problem is they don't have a famous worship band and the speaker is not Louie.

One College Minister called recently to talk through his question of whether to drop his weekly large group event. His dilemma is that attendance in recent years was 500 plus and now it is "only 200-300". Was it still worth doing? Some of us would consider an attendance of "only 200-300" the arrival of the kingdom. So, again each situation is unique.

Here are some issues that come into play:

-Do you have an adequate meeting speace that is regularly or always available to you? For some not having such a space makes the decision.

-It is my experience that large group worship can be the front door to your ministry and take students to your small groups or be the only event they will attend. Many students are afraid of small groups for fear of what they might be asked to share or that their ignorance of the Bible will be embarrassing. A large group experience offers an annoninimity that some prefer.

-For some the selling point or the downfall is whether or not the College Minister is a great speaker. First, the main event does not have to be a speaker each week. Some use testimonies, guest speakers, guided prayer times,
while others have a different type event each week. One of the larger campus based ministries with which I'm
familiar uses a different guest speaker each week. The continuity is the worship band, student testimonies, etc.

-One driving factor for some in going away from a weekly large group worship event is the reality for them of losing Recognized Student Organization status. They no longer can schedule rooms for their meetings. Others fear this happening down the road, so they are changing their format for that potential eventuality. I must admit I
don't share the view of changing something that is working for you with the "possibility" you may not be able to do it in the future. Plus, if you have your own meeting space
this is likely not a factor.

-If you have a supervisor or work for a church or other organization, I would not cancel my large group event without their involvement in the decision.

For some ministries a weekly large group worship event is not the best idea and for others it works great. You must decide what is best for your ministry. And, part of that decision involves how many is an acceptable number for you and a positive vibe for the students.....even if it is "only 200-300".

1 comment:

  1. In my first role as a BCM director, I canceled my large group meeting. I was tempted to say the days of the large group were over, but that was mostly just a defensive impulse to justify myself. In reality, the large group was ineffective (plummeting attendance, actually) because I was failing to properly cast vision and empower student leaders. And I wasn't Louie Giglio. :)

    I really like how you emphasize that every context is different. I love what Mike Puckett is doing and I think it is paying off dividends for kingdom expansion even though it is not what we should do here at Salt Company.