Posted by Lex Buckley on 8 October 2013

Here are five essential questions you may want to ask yourself as you search to find musicians and singers that will be a blessing to your worship team.

1. Are they true worshipers?
Along with the worship leader, the role of the worship team is to lead God’s people into His presence, so it is vital that the people on the team are passionate worshipers. This is what you should look for first. It can be tempting to compromise your values to get people involved because of their musical skill, especially if you are lacking a musician in one particular area. But I believe it is better to, say, have no drummer at all, than to have a great drummer who is not passionate about Jesus and worshipping Him. You can often tell whether someone is a passionate worshiper by observing them at church. If they are keen to play in the band but during times of worship are consistently standing there not singing and twiddling their thumbs, I’d probably wonder whether they love to worship, or whether they just love to play music. Mike Pilavachi puts it this way: “If they can worship at the back, they can worship at the front.” If someone truly worships and engages with God when they are part of the congregation and out of the public eye, then they can probably be trusted in a position of leadership.

A perfect example of this is one of the worship leaders at my own church. This guy loves the Lord and loves to worship Him. No matter where he is in the congregation, whether he is standing in the front row, on the balcony with the youth group, at the sound desk doing sound, or in our staff worship times, this guy is always engaging with God. He serves whenever needed, never pushes himself forward and is just so kind. He is such a blessing to have on the team. He is a true worshiper.

2. Are they servants?
Using our gifts to worship God and serve the church is an incredible privilege. Being part of a band means remembering that you are there to give and to serve. So although it is often someone’s dream and passion to be on the worship team, they still need to remember that they are involved firstly to serve – it’s not about them.

When my husband and I moved house after we were first married, one of the worship leaders at our church offered to drive a removal van and help us put some of our things in storage. He spent a whole Saturday with us just to help us out. And it wasn’t just on that occasion – he was always giving of himself to help other people out, whether that was at church or during the rest of the week. His servant heart wasn’t just switched on for Sundays. He was a great asset to that team and set an example for the rest of us to follow.

3. Are they humble?
It says in Philippians 2:8, ‘And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!’ As Jesus humbled himself, we must also humble ourselves. Many musicians have learnt to play or sing in an environment where they were encouraged to perform and show off their skill. However, worship is not a performance, or a place for any of us to draw attention to ourselves. This doesn’t mean that those on your team can’t play or sing to the best of their ability, or use their creativity, because skill and creativity are incredibly valuable and bring glory to God. But their hearts must be in pursuit of Jesus being lifted up, and to serve the congregation in leading them to Him.

4. Are they teachable?
It is so important to have a teachable heart. It is amazing to be on team where the musicians want to grow and improve their skill. However, not all musicians are active in pursuing this. So as a worship pastor you may have to encourage them to get lessons or to keep practicing, and this is why it is really important that the people on the team are teachable. They need to be willing to receive any constructive criticism you give them and actively respond to it. If you say to someone ‘that guitar sound is great but I am not sure if it works well in this song… would you be able to use a more clean sound?’ the person with a teachable heart will receive what you have said, whether they agree or not, and will respond gladly to your request.

This applies when attitudes and behavior need to be challenged too. If you feel someone’s attitude conflicts with the values of your team, you may need to address the issue with them. At these times, it’s crucial to know that they will receive what you have said and will take it on board.

5. How do they work with others?
As the cliché says, there’s no ‘I’ in TEAM, so it is really important that the band consists of people who are team players. It is so much fun and such a joy to serve in the band when everyone is ‘for’ one another and encourages one another. It is not for us to be desperate to be heard, but instead we need to prefer one another.

Some musicians have responded to this by saying, “Why can’t I play the way I want to? This is how I express my worship to God!” But there is a difference between personal worship and leading congregational worship. When my husband Paul plays drums in his personal worship, he can do as many fills and complicated rhythms as he likes. In these times, as he is pouring out his heart to God, he has total freedom to play ridiculously loud if he wants to! But he plays very differently in congregational worship. It’s not that he isn’t creative, or that he doesn’t go for it, but he recognizes that he is there to use his instrument to lead the congregation in worship and to complement what is being played around him, not to overpower the rest of the band. He is aware of what the bass player is doing, what the electric guitarist is playing, and he is listening to the worship leader. He is being a team player. Good team members will be listening to what others are playing or singing and will be sensitive to this, not being a distraction to the congregation. They will know when to back off and when to play strongly.

 

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