Over the last several months I have been involved in conversations on blogs and forums surrounding all things related to the corporate worship service and the teams of people who facilitate our corporate worship experience.

The conversations are about everything from style, to heart, to practical aspects related to worship in the church. I hear the hearts cry from these leaders and team members and believe the motivation, for the most part, is good. They genuinely want to create an environment where the people of God can come together without distraction and enter into the presence of God with the community of believers they have chosen to identify with.

Today I ran across a conversation entitled “The Ideal Band Member”. I eagerly clicked the link thinking we were going to talk about the type of person we are looking for to be on our worship team. Someone who possesses a servants heart, a lover of God and His word. Someone who will lay down their life for the Bride of Christ, not positioning themselves for something bigger and better but sincerely serving the house. And oh by the way they are skillful. I was disappointed.

The conversation was about instrumentation. “We have two guitars, a bass, a drummer, and two keyboard players what should we be trying to add next?”

Please don’t misunderstand. This is not an invalid or unimportant conversation. If our goal is excellence this is a valid stream however; in the context of the last several months it made me wonder if we are really asking the right questions.

What is our purpose as leaders in the church in general and worship leaders specifically?

I remember receiving an email telling me I would not be asked to be a part of the worship team because the pastor wanted a cohesive group of musicians. And since I was an unknown they were going to choose people who they knew could deliver. I wanted to scream “our purpose is not to build a cohesive group”. Now if my skillset is not at an acceptable level fair enough but if the reason I am not invited is so you can have a “cohesive group” there may be a misunderstanding of our purpose.

Our purpose is first the equipping of the saints, and second to operate in our gifts. This is the order were given in Ephesians 4:12

“the equipping of the saints for works of service”  is first and then;
“the edification of the body”

I have much more to say on that topic but for now I’ll leave it there.

Certainly when we stand on the platform we must be invisible. Actually transparent is a better word and the best way to do that is to be excellent. Not perfect but excellent. Excellence is giving the best you have which is much different than perfection. This is not an either or proposition. We can, and must, accomplish both. It was God’s idea and He can certainly give us the wisdom to accomplish it in our context. But if were not even asking the question we are grossly missing the point.

If we are faithful with the faithfulness entrusted to us God will give the increase and bring the right instruments/musicians or whatever we need at the right time. People are our purpose and we must never lose sight of that priority.

Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders. Acts 20:28
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Gary Trobee is a certified coach and a seasoned leader with over 20 years’ experience mentoring, coaching, and encouraging leaders and their teams.

3 Comments

  • At 2009.12.24 14:35, Jordan Peacock said:

    I think what you're seeing is due to the breaking down of the Christian music industry; artists and bands have either stepped out of the 'ghetto' into the mainstream, competing head-to-head with other acts or they have moved into churches, following the lead of Hillsong and the like with the bands-in-churches model.

    Your frustrations come when 'band' assumptions begin to invade worship teams. My colleague has expressed much the same.

    • At 2009.12.24 14:46, Gary said:

      I wish it were just that simple Jordan,

      I don't disagree with what your saying. This is a mindset in the American church overall. I see it at every level not just the worship teams. Pastors are getting cooked because they are not equipping the saints. Part of it comes from seminaries teaching them how to be doing machines but not how to equip.

      When churches have 5 "outreach" services throughout the community and they all are a video of the main service there is a problem there as well.

      Thanks again for your thoughts.

      • At 2009.12.25 17:52, Jordan Peacock said:

        Agreed. I mourned when I heard one pastor brag about how he travels, at great expense, between remote sites to personally preach at each. That's not impressive, that's tragic that there has been no tutelage and discipling of leaders that he could delegate to; it was about his ego, not about the church.

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