Four Types of Worship Teams

Helping build (and build up) a body is the way to go. It’s a worship team model that will endure.

In a body, there are varieties of gifts and service, but the same Lord. There are different gifts given by the Spirit, but all empowered by that same Spirit. It’s one body, with many members. The different members (like feet and hands) need each other. The different members (like ears and eyes) belong to each other. God arranges the members as he chooses. The weaker members are indispensable. Honor is bestowed upon one another. There is no division. When one member suffers, all suffer. And when one member is honored, all rejoice together.

 

This past Wednesday night we had the first “musicians gathering” at my church since I arrived 15 months ago. All of the different instrumentalists and singers who serve at our morning and/or evening services were invited, to what I intend to be the first in a regular/monthly series of get-togethers aimed at community-building, vision-casting, encouragement, and worship-culture shaping.

After munching on cookies and chips and salsa (the evening snack combo of champions), a rousing game of worship song charades, and a time of singing, I shared why we were all coming together like this. It’s definitely not because we all need more meetings, or more things to do, or more obligations. We’re coming together as worship leaders (I intentionally use that term broadly to include everyone who has a musical/audio/leadership role in a service) so that we can become a body.

In my experience with worship teams (either as a member or a leader of one), and in my observations of the worship leading landscape these days, there seem to be four different types of worship teams. Four ways you can go. Four approaches to how to structure, view, and lead a team.

The first type of worship team is just filling slots.

You need a guitarist? Tom is your guitarist. You need another guitarist? Oh, now you have Frank as another guitarist. And this month you need to find another singer to fill a slot. Let’s ask Sally to fill that slot. What about a drummer for the third weekend of the month? That would be Brian’s slot. He’ll be the drummer.

In this type of worship team, its members are names in Planning Center, their contribution is to fill musical slots, and the worship leader’s job is to fill all the slots so that he can have what he needs. If Tom decides to leave the church, nobody on the team really knows or cares, because you just replace him with Andy. Or if your drummer Brian breaks his arm and can’t play drums, the team isn’t really concerned for Brian, but more concerned that they get another drummer to fill Brian’s slot.

No one is being particularly built up, or connected, or encouraged, or cared for. Everyone is a name on a schedule.

The second type of worship team is a band.

You choose a name. You have a lead singer. You have backup singers. You have band members who all look really angry. You tour. You record. You perform. You have photo shoots. You’re cool.

In this type of worship team, the members are mini-celebrities, and the worship leader is the chief-celebrity, who stands about one foot in front of the rest of the band in the photo shoot.

Read More