the |pursuit| of a worship team

Posted on October 16, 2008 by


Today I was listening to a podcast about deacon structures; yeah I know who the heck AM I. (I’m an almost graduate in Music with no ministerial position, as of yet, that works in warehouse) and the man that was speaking started to talk a little about his churches volunteer structure. They allow “owners”, his word for members, to volunteer and become deacons and elders. And they allow non-believers to volunteer. I honestly have no opposition to getting people involved in the church before they come to faith in Christ. It is his example of what this volunteer would do in the church I am vehemently opposed to. His suggestion after a short bit of thought was a flippant “they could….. play guitar or something. Something where if they weren’t there the whole church wouldn’t collapse.”

I realize that this may just be my bent towards leading musical worship but I find this to be upsetting and a little bit of a dangerous idea. That kind of statement stems from the thought that only the worship leader or those singing are leading the congregation in worship. Firstly this way of thinking not only diminishes the job of those who are faithfully serving in the ministry as an instrumentalist it also is untrue.

As a worship leader I want the teams that I work with to understand that if you are up front you are leading worship. You are leading the congregation in songs that show gratitude to God, and you are a visible part of this amazing privilege. If you make the band out to be lesser than the singers, not only are you belittling their gifts and their ministry you are basically saying that it doesn’t matter what they do, they can be replaced.

I believe that the entirety of the team is leading worship. This is the way I see the worship leading hierarchy falling into place in the eyes of the congregation. The main worship leader is the preacher, he is the most visible person and the most respected in biblical knowledge and lifestyle. They will emulate his example of congregational worship whether he knows it or not. Next is the worship leader, he is up front instructing them as to how this singing thing will go down, and is usually in charge of most of the artsy stuff too. He is expected to know what worship is and how to do it, and he is usually expected to be a little more free and expressive in the way he does things. Then it’s the team, the band and singers, they are there to provide the musical framework with which we respond to God. They see them up front and then they see them in the seats, in the halls, in the parking lot, at work, at the grocery store, in the mall, at the bar, at the restaurant. They are seen as an extension of the worship ministry and what it represents. They are expected to know what they are doing up front and to be pursuing a relationship with God that will allow them to lead with the kind of passion that, hopefully, they do.

It’s so much more than music, I say that a lot to the people I work with and it’s incredibly true. We are leading the Body of Christ in worship of the Most High God. We are not just singing songs to get them ramped up or calmed down or to make them feel a certain way. We are not just a draw or entertainment. We are guiding them into connecting to God as a corporate body. How dare we think less of this amazing opportunity? How can we lead if we ourselves don’t know where we are leading to, or why these people need to get there?

The answer….

We can’t.

There needs to be an understanding of who God is, what He has done for us, and a sense of striving to become more like Him. Otherwise the worship that they will offer will be misdirected at best. So if you are in ministry please don’t let just anyone up to lead worship. Make sure they are pursuing Christ and desire to worship. Not just play in a band.

Because it’s not a band

It’s so much more

Posted in: Praxis