What Everyone On Your Worship Team Needs To Understand

David Santistevan —  January 29, 2013 — 21 Comments

We all know it’s possible to sing all the right songs, have all the best gear, perform with excellence, and miss the point.

In order to be an effective worship team, each member has to understand something deep in the core of their being.

Something that goes beyond services, schedules, and songs.

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We Are On A Journey

Do you approach your worship team as a community of people on a journey? Because we are – we are individuals who are in pursuit of God – His glory, His fame, Him-self. We won’t stay satisfied with worldly treasures.

We want more of Him. We are a team, stirring one another up to pursue this passion with all our hearts. This is where it all begins.

It’s easy to start with the idea of “serving the church”, but that’s not our primary aim. It is always secondary. Without a steady vision of pursuing Jesus, we won’t serve the church well. We’ll simply be playing music for a crowded room.

But if we rise up with full hearts, our passion will become contagious – your passion will start a fire that will spread to each person that walks in your church.

Let me challenge you: run hard on the journey. Don’t slow down in your quest to know Jesus.

We Serve Others On Their Journey

Secondly, we aren’t leading worship for ourselves. We are here to come alongside and assist people in their vision of Jesus. We know that hearing our music isn’t enough. We know that seeing us rock out won’t save anyone.

But we also know that Jesus is all-satisfying. Every time we lead worship we’re serving others on their journey. Just like a pastor shepherds his flock, we as worship leaders are shepherding people in worship.

We want to magnify Christ in their minds.

We want to stir affection for Christ in their hearts.

We want to lead them to rock solid, Biblical truth.

We want them to make a choice to worship with all they’ve got.

Consider this verse:

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (I Peter 4:10-11).

If we keep this truth at the forefront of our minds – that we’re on a journey together pursuing Jesus and we are serving others on their journey – your worship team will look different.

They’ll worship different.

They’ll pray different.

They’ll lead different.

OK, worship leaders and worship team members, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What do you think?

What are the essentials ideas that every worship team members needs to understand?

Share your thoughts in the comments. Trust me, it’s always better when you share.

21 responses to What Everyone On Your Worship Team Needs To Understand

  1. Excellent article! I shared it of course with my team. Thank you!

  2. This should be internalized by every worship team leader and member out there. I feel sometimes that the music and the riffs and the professional singers are held up higher than Jesus sometimes.

    • Good word, Kim. So important as leaders to be casting this vision constantly because musicians naturally just think about music. But our teams are capable of being excellent and leading engaging worship.

  3. Excellent, David! Remaining Christ-centered is definitely a challenge when it feels like we’re doing well just to get to (and through) our weekly service.

    I especially like this line – “Do you approach your worship team as a community of people on a journey?”. This is huge. And I think it’s important to use the word ‘journey’ rather than ‘trip’ or ‘travel’. Those words can indicate that we’re going somewhere we’ve been before. A journey is taking us some place new; a place we’ve never been but are very excited to see. What’s around the next turn is an unknown when we’re on a journey. That’s one of the crucial things I want the worship team to know, accept and respect – things are ALWAYS changing. Sure, we may have a set order of service (or a general idea of what it will be) and we may have a list of 30-40 tunes that we know and love that we rotate through. But we will always be introducing new team members (vocalists and instrumentalists), we will always be working on new tunes, and we will most likely take a tune we’ve been doing for years and completely shake it up (rearranging it, change the melody to a differnt voice, whatever). When those things happen, we cannot be upset about it, even if our initial reaction is “ugh”. We have to be growing and that requires that we aren’t sitting in the same place all the time.

    As the verse from 1 Peter you cited states, we’re to be good stewarts of God’s grace. I like how the verse does suggest or recommend that we be good stewarts – it’s a directive, a command – ‘use your gift as a good stewart’ (paraphrased). And being a good stewart isn’t just using our gifts for Christ, it’s using them freely, happily, with energy and a heart of gratitude. We should approach the changes, the new things the same way. Be thankful for the changes. We cannot be a team that “stirs one another up” if we’re grumbling about the new song that is too high or too slow or in a weird key or … Thank God for providing changes and new things that keep us on our toes.

    Thanks, David. I needed a kick in the pants today…

    D

    • I didn’t mean to kick you in the pants, but…you’re welcome. And I think you summarized everything beautifully here. Thanks for your contribution to this community, Damon. It’s appreciated!

  4. Great word! I needed to hear this tonight. It’s not only a challenge but it’s also encouraging. This is a truth that is essential to make the difference between worship leading and crowd pleasing.

  5. I needed to hear this. I’ve been feeling these exact words for quite sometime but i couldn’t quite find the words to express it so beautifully. That 1Peter 4 reference weaves it together perfectly!! Thank you!

  6. One attribute that I believe is key humility, humility for each singer / musician to follow the leader. Even the leader is humbling themselves to what HS is doing. Without humility, what we do as musicians is nothing more than self-promotion or self-satisfaction.

    • So important, Jason. I’ve found that the more we as a worship team can gaze upon the glory of God, the more humble we become. The more you look at Jesus the less impressed you are with yourself!

    • Jason – what advice would you give leaders that struggle with members that have a tendency to rebel against their leadership? How do you deal with the not-so-humble?

      • Build up the relationship out of the “worship team” context, and have a heart to heart conversation.

        • Damon, Rob has some great points here (and below), as does David in prior posts! A few weeks back, in a team devotional time before rehearsal, I shared that there should be no surprise if the whole team is scheduled to clean the toilets for a particular Sunday in Planning Center. It wasn’t wasn’t because anyone was prideful, but simply an example how humble we should be as musicians and leaders…. I haven’t done this yet, but in all honesty – humor (like this) can help shed light on a topic like humility, or servant-leadership. It can be HARD but one-on-one face to face or phone call relationship can help squelch any pride or lack of humility.

  7. Feel free to use Worship Leading vs Crowd Pleasing :)

  8. Feel free to use Worship Leading vs Crowd Pleasing :) I don’t mind at all!

  9. I’d say the essential idea for a worship team is that every one on the team is a leader, they have a leadership role, and worship leading is a spiritual activity before it is a musical activity.

    The spiritual is primary, the musical is secondary. Big difference.

    Takes time and intentionality to develop a culture of servant leaders who really get it.

  10. Great article David, remembering the basics is so important!

    Coincidentally, I wrote something similar recently: http://goo.gl/pbUf6

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