15 Signs That You May Be A Selfish Worship Team Member

Being a part of a church worship team is a great experience – it’s fun, meaningful, and educational.

But it’s also a big responsibility. Much is at stake.

It’s more than just a gig, a place to use your gifts, or a small group to be a part of. You are a servant. And there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it.


Anything is possible when God is in the room. The people of God are gathered together for the presence of God to be released into the purpose of God. A good church musician realizes this.

Spiritual preparation is not just for pastors, elders, small group leaders, and traveling evangelists.

It’s for you, worship team member. You have a responsibility, both spiritually and practically.

Bad church musician etiquette

Here are some signs you may need some improvement:

1. You “check in” for worship and “check out” for the rest of the service

2. You make excuses for your mistakes rather than taking ownership

3. You don’t compliment and serve the lead vocal

4. You’re in your own world, ignoring the rest of the band

5. You don’t sing or visibly worship

6. You doodle on your instrument in between songs

7. You show up unprepared

8. You have side conversations and goof off during rehearsal

9. You take yourself too seriously

10. You argue with the worship leader

11. You’re not easy-going

12. You don’t look up from your music

13. You feel threatened when new musicians show up

14. You have a hard time complementing others

15. You have a hard time NOT playing

While there are similarities, there are distinctives that separate church music from music in general. You can either approach it as a gig you you play or a ministry you serve in.

It’s either something that serves you or somewhere you serve.

It’s either a church you take from or a church you invest in.

What’s the big deal?

God is glorious. Jesus is alive. The Holy Spirit is moving, awakening hearts in and through worship. You play an important role in the transformation of people.

While I said not to take yourself too seriously, take your role as a part of the worship team seriously. Show up ready for God to move, serve the church, and make a difference in some lives while you’re at it.

Question: What would you add to this list of bad church musician etiquette? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


  1. says

    I would say that you don’t pitch in ideas…you rely on the leader for everything! This is one thing I am going through now. No one on my team wants to give any song advice or try to get music, butr whenever it is a little complicated or not what they want, they complain.

    • says

      B, that may be a sign you need to invest more in personal relationships with your team. It may be easier to have some heart interaction at a time that’s social, (like not at rehearsal or a meeting). That might spark more investment from them on contributing ideas.

      Also, they need to feel like their ideas matter – that you will use them, or at least give it a shot.

  2. says

    Good post David. I would add one thing to the list. 16. You are a selfish worship team member if you were reluctant to read this post because you didn’t want to feel the guilt of the already known fact that you are a selfish worship team member and you didn’t want to be struck by the Holy Spirit with conviction over certain points of your sinful nature.

    Maybe that one was just me. Lol

  3. says

    Wow….I don’t think i’ve ever seen number 6. But i have seen them put stickers of the superman symbol. lol…

    You don’t serve in maybe a lower service like if you’re asked to do the powerpoint. or help out with this or that…cause you’re too cool and can’t be seen taking water to the pastor…

  4. says

    I’ll add: you don’t want to play a service for “free” if you are a paid musician or you don’t want to do anything else other than play at a service. You find it hard to serve others when you are not in your comfort zone behind your instrument!

  5. James McLaren (Jersey, Channel Islands) says

    Please take number 5 out of the list as wrong.

    Visibly worshipping with a bass guitar round your neck is dangerous.

  6. RG says

    why is it some drummers,have to show what they can do on the drums while people are being seated before service???????? and why the have to try to play everything the have ever learned in one song???? and after services are over why!!!!!!!

  7. Russ says

    Hello! I really need advice here! I have read the above list and am really wondering if I am that guy. But I also would like your views on the following: I play electric guitar on my worship team and right now am taking a leave of absence while deciding if I should continue. I am usually well prepared for rehearsal but often songs are glossed over quickly or parts are played once or twice – we are through rehersal in 30-40 minutes for 5 songs. On Sunday morning we gloss over the same 5 songs (we almost never play a song all the way through) and then go out and have multiple errors in terms of song progressions and endings. I have sat down with my worship pastor and discussed this – about how we really don’t tighten things up due to lack of repetition. After that meeting things still did not improve and I have semi-stepped down. Let me reiterate:

    1)It’s not about me or how I think the song should go.
    2)It’s not about me featuring myself or my instument.
    3) I just want to know what the leader wants and then play it enough times so we are all on the same page.
    4) I feel when we mess up we are detracting from someone’s worship experience.

  8. Tragoudi Arpa says

    #10 – Arguing with the worship leader – While striving to be in agreement and working together is important, the worship leader is not God. Many bands treat the decision of the worship leader as if you don’t agree with them as if you are rebelling against God Himself, God’s Word, or God’s “vision” for the team. A bad call by the worship leader on an issue embarrasses the whole team, not just the worship leader. Good team members confront and help the worship leader deal as objectively as possible with the issue. Problem is: with tight time schedules everyone seems to have nowadays, it is frequently difficult, if not nearly impossible, to get private one-on-one time with the worship leader outside of rehearsals to hash things out and arrive at better strategies for doing things — hence often, the “arguments” with the worship leader during rehearsals, inevitably 10 minutes before the service is supposed to start. This is a huge problem when trying to work out things is seen as being “selfish” when most of the time issues can be worked out as long as both people involved want to strive to work together properly in the Lord’s grace. Going along with the leader is important as much as possible, but the leader doesn’t know everything, and our current one doesn’t understand instrumentalists at all, just what she “likes” or “doesn’t like.: Same with the definition of what is “distracting” to one person is what is “interesting” and takes the song to the next level for someone else.

    #15 – Having a hard time not playing: If this is not playing at generally appropriate times occasionally, that’s one thing. But if you are told not to play most of the time on most songs, it’s a clear indication that you are being seen as extraneous flotsam on the team and probably it’s no longer worth your effort to be on the team. On one band I was with, they refused to let me sing because they didn’t want to buy a bigger mixer board and another microphone. Even just singing in my unamplified voice was “distracting” to the platform musicians, and then my keyboard was turned down so low my husband couldn’t hear it from the back of the sanctuary in the mix of the band. Having done music and playing for over 40 years, I know I am neither a bad singer nor musician.

    If you’re going to be on a worship team, it is not selfish for you to want to be heard at appropriate and reasonably frequent times. Otherwise, why be on the team at all? If that’s the case, time to go do something else and get a better return for the Lord for your time investment.


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