Band ≠ Worship Ministry, Part 1
By Tom Curley
Today's blog is a guest post from Tom Curly.
How to keep your church worship ministry from becoming just another great band, Part 1
Over the last few decades, thousands of local churches have changed their worship leading models from the traditional “choir, piano, and organ” model to the contemporary “worship band” model. This exciting approach to leading congregations in worship has brought a greater cultural relevance and a more modern sound that has helped the church to facilitate worship for a new generation of worshippers.
However, the “worship band” model has also brought with it a new set of problems that have frustrated many worship leaders. Most of these problems stem from the fact that the musicians and vocalists who volunteer to serve in a local church worship ministry only have a “band” model as a source of experience. These volunteers have great intentions and want to serve God with their talents, but they may need a better understanding of how playing music in a local church setting is different.
One distinction between “bands” and "Local Church Worship Ministries" (LCWM) is that a band is finite, a “closed circle” whereas a LCWM is infinite, an “open circle.”
Most of us have been exposed to popular secular bands like the Beatles. This band was strongest as one unit: Paul, George, John and Ringo. When the Beatles split up, no individual member achieved success as great as the group enjoyed. (With all due respect, Sir Paul) In fact, no secular band has ever enjoyed long term mainstream popularity while constantly changing the key members of the band. Because of our exposure to this musical culture, we often assume the following incorrect statements:
1. Our worship team is strongest when it is “us four and no more.”
2. The ultimate goal of a worship team is excellence, which can only be achieved by the same group of musicians playing together for a long period of time so that they fully know each other’s playing styles and can together produce music that is “tight.”
3. Adding a new member will mess up the “chemistry” of the band.
The truth is that a LCWM is not a band, even when it looks like a band, and a LCWM must be an “open circle.” This means that our worship ministries, like our churches, must demonstrate inclusion instead of exclusion. God has called us to open the circle wider to train up new worship leaders, musicians and vocalists to be the lead worshippers for the next generation. How many musicians have disappointedly left churches when they felt they would never get an opportunity to serve unless a current band member died or moved away?
A great way to put this into practice is to have multiple volunteers at each position. Finding extra singers may not be difficult, but training and investing time in new musicians can be a challenge. Still, that is what we are called to do! Using a variety of musicians and singers is a “God” idea as revealed in 1 Chronicles 25:8, “The musicians were appointed to their particular term of service by means of sacred lots, without regard to whether they were young or old, teacher or student.” NLT
So let’s open up our circle and extend a welcome to new band members. In doing so, we will help expand the Kingdom of God!
Question: How have you dealt with the arguements of us four & no more, tightness and chemistry?
Coming up: Part Two - Ownership vs. Stewardship
Tom Curley is the Christian Arts Pastor and Lead Worshipper at Northridge Church in Pensacola, FL, where he has served for 15 years. You can email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org
Post image: Flickr
July 20, 2012Tweet