I have been told on a couple of occasions that our worship team is too big.  On stage, we have electric guitar (1), acoustic guitar (1), bass guitar (1), keyboard (1), drummer (1), backup singers (3), and me (worship leader).


Our style is very similar to Hillsong, New Life Worship, Gateway, Paul Baloche, etc.  At any time during the set, the lead vocals will be shared.


My question is, how big is too big and what do I start doing without?... 


Anyone have any tips on this or faced a similar situation?  How did you handle it?  Everyone on the worship is very dedicated to the worship ministry.





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The set-up you list is very common in many American churches today, especially larger congregations. We don't currently have this large a team, but have in the past with a congregation of about 150 at the time. The 'too large' comments we had then were more like 'too loud'. There were a couple drummers and we noticed that the comments were only made when the 'heavyhanded' drummer played. The mix had to be louder to compensate. I don't know if this applies to your case, but it's worth considering. We meet in a school auditorium and also received comments when the receding wall was activated to make the room smaller. It may also be that those commenting just prefer a more intimate style. Music is so subjective and personal preferences sometimes get confused in peoples minds as 'the way it should be'.
Thanks Michael,
I understand the "too loud" comment. This has just recently been said to me a few times since we have been having a lot of college students with a "coffee house" type of mentality. They go to a lot of coffee house venues and concerts.

The band has always been that big even before I became the worship pastor. It never was a "problem" until recently. It's probably just a "style over substance" issue.
Appreciate the comments.
Hey, you're describing my current worship band, only I also have a piano player along with the keyboard player. We grew on the vocalist side almost without me knowing it, and if I had my preference I would downsize the vocal component. But that's only because arranging vocal parts is not my strong point, so I find it the hardest to manage. In reality, they do a great job and nobody dominates or takes over when they shouldn't.

(Now if you asked my sound man, he would gladly cut out half the inputs on his board - it's so much easier to mix that way!)

The key is arranging, and the general rule of thumb is, the more instruments there are, the less each one plays. So as long as your musicians are doing that, there should be no problem.

Maybe the person complaining just needs to be told how you have a heart for involving people in ministry, and you're glad that so many talented people are using their gifts for the Lord...just a thought!
Hey thanks! Good thoughts. I never have had an opportunity to speak to that. I am never really told who the issue is with, just that it's there. Would love to talk to them about it.

Whoa, back the bus up...you're not told who the issue is with, just that it's "there"? And who is telling you this?

At first blush, if "they" won't tell you who has the issue, then it's a safe bet that it's with themselves. They just want "others" to be the scapegoat!

Most mature pastors will tell you this: If they get an annonymous letter, they will destroy it without even reading it (or soon after, anyway). If somebody tells me that there is an issue with my music ministry, then it makes a huge difference as to who is having the problem. If they won't say who, then I won't be making any changes, simple as that.

Sometimes in ministry, changes are required, but without good information to base your changes on, how do you know if you're doing the right thing?
As a sound person. I have often told our music director I am happy to be using all 32 channels that I have as long as I have time to think about it first. Last minute walk ups stress me. But back to the point this band sounds quite small. However if everyone is trying to play exactly the same thing then it might be a problem. As mentioned elsewhere in this thread. There is a big difference between a big sound and a loud sound. I like it big and full and sometimes loud depending on the song. The more instruments the more thought same with vocals. For our early morning service we were told would only need one vocal ( I laughed then ) we had 6 vocals in the practice for one song (they were introducing their daughter into the idea of singing through mics) and it sounded great as they were all harmonizing well. Other times you can have 2 singers and if they are most working together it is terrible. The same can be said for any instruments if they work together it is good if they are competing then it is bad. Often the musicians are not deliberately competing it is just for example the 2 electric guitars are using slightly different overdriven effects which just ends up being noise. This is when it is helpful having someone listening in our case the musical director if she is there who can suggest slight changes to help. I personally like having someone who is at the practice just to listen as it helps to be able to discuss the mix with someone especially when I am struggling to get it right. Sometimes I also need to be told that it is not right.
Andy is spot on on this...your team is not too big.

Rick is on the money too...you need to determine what the REAL issue is, before you make any changes.

I have to agree, the combination and balance that you have sounds perfect and by far outweighs any issues there may be. To have dedicated team members too, how blessed is that.

It makes me wonder, what the issues are? I hate to say this, but when you hit on a combination as good as yours, there is the odd person who, (dare I say it) can be a tad jealous, and those who, maybe don't know a great deal about music and just don't get the logistics of a worship team. I would fight your corner on this one, in the proper manner of course, and I for one am praying for you. Hope all goes well for you. Lorraine
John we use Acoustic, Lead, Rhythm, Electric Keyboard, Bass and Drums with myself and 5 other singers normally. We occasionally use Flute, Djeimbes, or Mandolin. We might use more if we had more room on our board. :)

We do a lot of Gateway, Baloche, New Life and Hillsong as well.
If there are people who have a gift and passion for music/worship then you can't do anything about that. Sometimes what we do is rotate a few different teams.

But it sounds like the team really enjoys serving, so why not let them serve.

Also, might be a good idea to do a heart check with the team and yourself. If worship is about God, then keep going. If it's not, maybe it's time to reevaluate.


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