A few months ago, I shared ten questions (pt.1, pt. 2) I asked my worship team at our monthly “tune-up night”. These questions were meant to get us all thinking about ways we can grow, keep maturing, and keep serving our church as skillfully and humbly as we can.
At our next meeting, I shared ten challenges for the worship team. These are challenges that are unique to our team at our specific church, but I thought it might be helpful for you to read a bit of what I shared.
It’s important for worship leaders to make sure their worship teams are growing in skill and humility. That was the goal of the ten questions.
It’s also important for worship leaders to help their worship teams grow in a love for their specific congregation, and think intentionally and wisely about the unique challenges they face. That was the goal of these ten challenges.
I encourage you to think about the unique challenges your worship team faces in the setting God has placed you, and help your team see how they are actually great opportunities to grow and give God glory.
1. We lead music at the largest service of the church (Sunday morning 11:00am)
This is a privilege and a responsibility which places us in a leadership position in front of a large portion of the congregation. We are being held up as examples, whether we like it or not, so it matters what kind of example we set. Are we living the life of a worshipper? Are we modeling genuine, God-centered worship when we’re scheduled on the team and when we aren’t? Are we growing in our areas of gifting? Do we feel the weight of this responsibility?
2. We lead music at the smallest service of the church (Saturday night 5:00pm)
This is also a privilege and a responsibility. Our level of enthusiasm and eagerness to serve should not depend upon the number of people attending a service. Leading at a small service helps keep us humble and protects us from thinking that any service in which we lead the music will be packed. Our job is to be prepared, to be faithful, and to be expectant whenever we stand before a congregation of any size. Finally, leading at a small service and a large service can guard us from thinking that the Holy Spirit is at work more powerfully in a crowded service and less powerfully in a small service. Neither is the case.
3. We have relatively short rehearsals
Some worship teams rehearse for hours and hours every week. Long rehearsals are usually inefficient, disrespectful of musicians’ time, and tiring. We aim for short rehearsals that are efficient, respectful of musicians’ time, and worshipful. In order to have short rehearsals, worship team members are expected to devote time to rehearse at home before they come to rehearsal. (Songs for the weekend are usually posted on Thursday afternoon.) It’s also helpful when everyone arrives early to set up so that we can start on time.
4. We arrange songs loosely
Arranged? Yes. Scripted? No. We will rarely decide ahead of time exactly how we will do a certain song. Most of the time, we will talk about the general outline of a song, how the song should be arranged, how we’ll transition from one part to the next, cues, how we’ll come out of a verse, etc., trusting that the Holy Spirit is leading us in our rehearsing. But in order to have the freedom to respond to the spontaneous direction of the Holy Spirit during a service, our songs are arranged loosely so that we all feel comfortable making last-second changes. In order to be comfortable with this, keep an eye on the worship leader, keep an ear out for his cues, pray for sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, and don’t stress out.
5. We step into a whirlwind on Sunday mornings
It is not uncommon for the 9:00am service to end at 10:30am, giving us 15 minutes to set-up, re-arrange a few things, tune, get monitor levels set, and get a quick sound check before our cut-off time of 10:45am. If we’re not careful, we will get stressed out and frazzled. Pray for God’s peace on Sunday mornings as we have limited rehearsal time. Allow this to be a reminder that we really need the power of the Holy Spirit if we hope to have any degree of real effectiveness as worship leaders.
Tomorrow I’ll share the last five challenges.