I think one of the hardest things to impart to worship teams, especially volunteer teams, is how to play with passion. So often they are concentrating so hard on playing the right chords at the right time or wondering if the worship leader will repeat the chorus (maybe even do a song not on the list??:) that playing with heart is not even on the radar. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a service and everybody’s just playing along like no one’s listening. Not to mention trying to follow!
As a worship leader I often try to make up for this by playing with extra passion as if I can force my team to “up” the energy a bit. This is not the way, I think. (I tend to do this with a congregation who has the same sentiment — also not the way)
If not, then what is the way?
One practical thing is to somehow get the team to learn the music better. You can get it to them more in advance, but the key to this is encouraging them to practice on their own. People live such busy lives that it sometimes seems impossible. But it’s not! A relentless focus and lots of reminders are the key here. You can also refine your rehearsal skills. People have different styles, but what many teams do is not rehearsal, but just running through songs.
Running music is for after you’ve rehearsed and learned it. Running unrehearsed music again and again is just reinforcing and solidifying the mistakes.
Another approach is to focus on the spiritual. You can’t read the psalms of David without encountering passion and exuberance in worship. The Scripture says David was a man after God’s own heart. Again and again he says shout, sing, dance, clap. It’s difficult not to have passion when you’re participating in these activities! Read these Scriptures with the team. Talk about them, dig into them…do them.
Before you can lead worship you must learn to worship.
Finally, another way to lead your team to more passion in their playing is to show them great examples. Thankfully YouTube and the rest of the Web are filled with videos of wonderful worship teams and leaders. Start your rehearsals watching a song or two and then discussing how what you just watched was different than what happens in your worship times. You don’t need to copy these examples…use them as inspiration.
What are some of the things you do to encourage your teams to play with passion?
Here are a couple of examples…