Band ≠ Worship Team, Part 3
By Tom Curley
I'm With the Band – Worship Team:
How to keep your church worship ministry from becoming just another great band
When I was a teenager, I had the opportunity to join a worship band in a local church. I brought with me the experience and expectations of “being in a band,” and this way of thinking continued as I later became the lead worshipper. My personal music paradigm was opposite of Romans 12:2 which says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world.” NLT
Thankfully, God in His amazing grace helped me to see a clearer picture of music ministry in the church and how it is more than just having a great “band.”
One difference that I learned was that a “band” is an exclusive, privileged group but a local church worship ministry (LCWM) is about serving.
Our culture tells us that a band is all about the elevated platform, the spotlight, the exclusive backstage area, the arrival by limo and the autograph session. Though your average church musician will not arrive by stretch limo, this mindset of band exclusivity can still invade the church.
It will often manifest itself by band members asking, “Where is my bottled water?” Now there is nothing wrong with bottled water and vocalists and drummers can certainly use hydration, but lately it seems that all church worship teams are sponsored by Dasani. Between songs and especially at the end of the song service, every musician and singer whips out a bottle and starts chugging away in front of a congregation that may be just as thirsty but not as “privileged.” (By the way, I am a worship leader with a water bottle, not a disgruntled congregant!)
Another manifestation of this “band exclusivity” mindset is when some worship bands leave the sanctuary as a group after the worship to go to a room to wait for the sermon to finish so they can come back and do the closing music. I visited such a church one time, and all I could think about was how the pastor must feel as he watched his worship team leave for java and donuts instead of staying and supporting the ministry of the Word.
“Band exclusivity” is also projected when the worship band informs other ministry leaders in the church that the band members are unavailable to serve in the nursery or other service areas of the church due to the higher priority of their presence on the platform on Sundays.
Remember, any action or activity that separates the worshipers on the platform from the worshippers in the congregation only contributes to the perception of the worship band as an exclusive insiders “club.”
God’s Word tells us that we should prefer others above ourselves. (Romans 12:10) We should follow the example of Jesus who “made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant” (Philippians 2:7).
Put this into practice by giving your worship team opportunities to serve the church and community without using music! Serving may not develop a tighter sound in your band but it will develop something greater: character.
Other ways to lessen the distance between the worship team and the congregation include being more discreet with the band privileges such as the water bottles and personal cooling fans, or try putting the band off the platform and on the ground floor for a real “we’re in this with you” worship experience! Also, having multiple worship teams allows each volunteer to have as much pew time as platform time to help keep a healthy perspective.
As we focus on serving, we will see lives changed God’s Kingdom come on earth!
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 email@example.com
Post image: Flickr
July 31, 2012Tweet