Engage the “Middle 60”

How do you engage people in worship? Is there anything that can be done to get more people to participate? These are problems that any good worship leader should grapple with.

Bob Branch posted an excellent article on WorshipLeader.com that identifies what he calls the “Swing Vote” Principle in worship leading. Here’s an excerpt:

Over the years, I began to quiz people after church about the musical worship time. I found that there were some people who, no matter how good, didn’t worship. On the opposite end, there were those who worshiped (and wholeheartedly, at that) no matter how good or bad our team did leading. And then there were those who were sometimes “into it” and other times “not so much.”

I began to notice patterns and dynamics. I began to see the relationship between leadership and these people groups. My conclusions led me to what I call the “Swing Vote” principle or 60/20/20 rule. It starts with the people.

Top 20
The “Top 20” are the roughly 20% of any congregation that will wholeheartedly worship no matter what happens… mostly because they bring it with them. They are worshippers. We could tank, hit all the wrong notes, sing off-key, and have the power go out halfway through and they would still worship, enjoy it, and come up and affirm you afterward (like my friend I mentioned above).

Bottom 20
The “Bottom 20” are the roughly 20% of people who, no matter what we do, cannot worship. If God unzipped the heavens and came down, they would still be flat-lined. Whether it is because they aren’t saved yet or are hard as a marble countertop, they cannot enter in. If you look out and make eye contact with them, you may be tempted to think they hate you. In reality, they just don’t care.

Middle 60
The “Middle 60” are everyone else in the church. They come reasonably unprepared and without a lot of commitment to entering in. They may have woken up with hair growing off their teeth, bed-haired kids in a grouchy mood, and a spouse who made them late because of too much time working on “that look” in the mirror. They may have had a hard time getting their kids checked into children’s ministry, or finding a seat. And, there are a lot of them. They are the biggest group by far.

He goes on to explain how you can drastically increase participation in worship by engaging this “Middle 60.” He has a list of over twenty ways (!) that you can try to engage the people you are leading in worship.

What I love about this list is that, no matter your personality or leadership style, there is something helpful for you to add to your “worship leader toolbox.” 

What about you? How do you engage the “middle 60”?

Read the full article here: The Worship Swing-vote Principle.