Can a worship team make a name for itself? This isn’t a trick question.
Be aware of the ways that you see yourself defining success for your team. And be aware of how you describe your worship team to others. Too often, we describe the music groups we emulate; we talk about style, music, and equipment. In informal conversation, modern worship has been demoted to which songs we are currently singing and by which groups.
You want to be effectively, genuinely and humbly lifting up the name of Jesus. And this takes accomplishing ministry together with your church and team. It takes building the culture of a sacrificial worship team.
In the Old Testament, God appointed worship leaders for his people. Yes, they were given charge over the tabernacle, but they are also given the role of sacrifice. It wasn’t easy work. It was messy, ongoing, and hard work.
I want us to lead a sacrificial worship team – a team designed to be used up fulfilling our purpose to glorify the name of Jesus and lead others in the same. Here are eight possibilities we might consider:
Sing songs of the people
A worship team isn’t mean to showcase; it’s function is to serve by leading the congregation in worship. We must sing songs that resonate with people. Help sing the song that is in people’s hearts. New songs are good, but don’t forget the ratio – the worship band hears/plays the song ten to twelve times to the congregation’s one. It’s easier for us to get tired of a song, and about the time it’s connecting more deeply, we’re done.
Step down to the stage
We must step down to serve on the stage – it’s not about prestige or power, but about the humility of using your gifts to help strengthen the church through worship. Don’t think of it as your platform or a promotion. It’s more about providing your gifts and your heart to be molded and used by God’s presence in worship.
Do small things well
When it comes to worship, God is a God of details. I fully realize that some persons are more wired for details than others. But I also know that it’s the job of every leader to see that the small things are covered.
Humility could be defined as inserting our God-given gifts. The Bible speaks of how Jesus went humbly to the cross. We should have that same attitude – not to seek power and prestige, but to submit – using our gifts for the ministry of kingdom work in the church. (Phil 2)
Invest your time well
We must be good stewards of our time and the time of those we lead. This means solid preparation for rehearsals, time spent in prayer as a team, and time spent listening and engaging in worship services in the church.
Honor your pastor and leaders
Jesus is the ultimate worship leader. The pastor is called to lead the worship in the local church. You’re on board to support the work of the pastor and the church leaders. We must support and honor the pastor. Here are five ways worship leaders can show honor.
Clean, serve and do (the unnoticed stuff)
Nothing is beneath the sacrificial worship team. Picking up trash, setting up chairs, playing a little softer if needed, serving in roles that support the team but aren’t onstage roles and more are part of the culture of the worship team being servants.
Witness off stage
I’ve often said that leading worship is just one of many roles in the church – like the ushers, the hospitality teams, the other servants. But what may be the case is that the biggest impact that can be made from the life of a worship leader is off stage. No matter how much we may not want to be in the spotlight, to some degree, with the emphasis on modern worship leadership, the spotlight is upon us and as real as ever. Which means, our witness off stage has way more impact that we can imagine. The words we use, the relationships we have, the homes we lead, the social media fronts we present – all have an impact on the lives of many people. A member of a worship team must be open, ready and humble enough to seek God in all things and live their lives with a witness in mind. Though far from perfect, bless my heart, there are a few things I try to keep in mind as I live my life – solely because I’m a worship leader. As Paul says so well – I have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything–but not everything is constructive. (1 Cor 10:23) Your witness off stage speaks volumes.
Of course, there is lots of joy in serving the church sacrificially! Through it we are learning and modeling and seeking after Jesus, the greatest sacrifice of all!
Keep praying for your team, your church, and your work.