Yesterday I shared the first five of ten challenges I shared with my worship team a few months ago to get us all thinking about how we can serve our congregation in our specific setting as skillfully and humbly as we can. It’s good to talk principles with your team, but is also good to talk practicalities – often different for each team and each church.
Here are the last five challenges I shared.
6. We use a style of music that is new to many members of the congregation
“…The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Galatians 5:22-23a). We need to show love for those who might find our style of music offensive. If we’re asked to pull back at a certain service we should do it with joy. If we hear a critical comment we need to have peace. If we want to see change happen overnight we need to be patient. A humble and Christ-like kindness should be how people, from all the different worship services, describe the worship team. A genuine and Spirit-enabled goodness should permeate our attitude. We need to be faithful to Christ and his church – not just the one service we might prefer. We should avoid sending any signal of forcing a style of music on anyone, but instead display a servant-like gentleness. Finally, we should be people who are self-controlled, not allowing for condescension, pride, or arrogance towards anyone or any service. May the fruit of the Spirit be abundantly evident in this worship team.
7. We live in a city that values intellect and suspects emotion
Think of all the “think-tanks” in this city. Now how many “emotion-tanks” have you ever heard of? It’s a silly question, of course, but it shows how much this culture values the intellect and marginalizes emotion. This mindset can creep into the church, resulting in congregations whose church services are cerebral and intellectual exercises with little freedom or biblical understanding of the place of emotion.
Of course there are churches that have the opposite problem. Emotionalism is just as unbalanced and incomplete as intellectualism. A kite needs a string in order to fly. A string needs a kite in order to be useful. Likewise, the head needs the heart and the heart needs the head. In our context at The Falls Church, we seek to model a head-and-heart balance in our corporate worship. We sing great, bible saturated, Gospel centered truth – truths that have changed our lives, and still affect our hearts to this day.
8. We are all volunteers
I get my paycheck from this church, but you all give of your time freely and sacrificially. You aren’t professional musicians so I don’t expect you to play or sing like them. Yes, we seek to play and sing as well and skillfully as we can, but we’re comfortable with our lack of studio-quality polish. You have jobs, family commitments, and commutes so I don’t expect you to spend a burdensome number of evenings or weekends here for meetings and/or rehearsals. One meeting every fourth Monday night of the month, and one or two weekends based on the need, and worked around your availability is a high bar of commitment but designed to be reachable.
9. We have a large worship team
We have 25 – 30 instrumentalists and singers on the worship team. This presents several different challenges. First, we need to make an effort at staying connected. Our monthly tune-up nights are crucial to this, which is one reason why everyone’s regular attendance is vital. There may be occasions when you have to miss, but regular “missing” may be a sign that you’re too busy to stay connected with the team during this season.
Second, there are some positions in which a limited number of people are suited to serve. These people may be called upon to serve more frequently than others. Conversely, there are other positions in which a greater number of people are suited to serve. These people may be called upon to serve less frequently. This is how the body works – with equally important members, but all with different roles. Different gifts, different levels of gifting, and different numbers of reinforcements are all part of how God has designed this body. For those members who serve more regularly, you are not more important than anyone else. For those members who serve less regularly, you are not less important than anyone else. You’re all part of a body which God is arranging.
10. We seek a healthy tension between humility and excellence
It is possible to seek after excellence without becoming proud. And it is possible to seek after humility without becoming mediocre. Only God will help us maintain a humble excellence. When our humility grows out of a deep awareness of our sin, awe of God’s holiness, and gratefulness for the finished work of the cross – then it will produce a skillfulness and excellence that seeks to proclaim the greatness of God in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.