Dear Worship Team #3

📷: David Heinlein

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Dear Precious Worship Team,

We’re exploring serving one another by looking at the Sermon on the Mount. Today is all about being Salt and Light. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. I’m sure you’ve been encouraged to be that “City on a Hill” and shine brightly. And that’s good. We should shine with the “Light of the World” in us.

But I want to highlight something in The Message translation that popped out at me: “Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” I had never seen this before. Be open with one another. I know in my own life I can be polite, courteous, even kind. But all the while being a shut book to those I’m around. I’m from the South and my Mom and Dad taught me the art of conversation (which is much needed skill these days!). But to truly serve one another, to love each other we must go beyond that. Our team must be an “open house” as the passage says. Be generous with each other.

Vulnerable. Uncomfortable. Honest. Open.

The way God is with us.

I don’t know about you but that’s hard and it takes time. So in the short snippets when we’re together –  rehearsals, services, in between services – let’s make an effort to intentionally be generous with our brothers and sisters on our team.

By being open with each other Jesus says we’ll prompt others to open up with God. And that’s the greatest thing we can do as leaders of worship.

Love you all!


It’s What We Do

I was having a conversation yesterday about possible new players for one of our worship teams. The comment was made that this particular person would definitely need us to work with him. It occurred to me at that moment…

It’s what we do.

That’s one of the things that makes the church different from a professional music environment. We work with people. We help them get better. Yes, we want our standard of playing music to get higher, but, at the core, we are about helping people become better musicians and, most importantly, worshippers.

So next time there’s someone who has desire and the glimmer of musical gifting I’m going to remember what we do…

We work with people.

Play with Passion

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…