I find that many who have lead worship can barely endure sitting in the pews.
One problem is amplification. I feel wrong about singing into anything so loud that I can't hear myself.
I don't think it is about platforms or audiences. The first thought one may have is that this is about ego and being in the spotlight. I think the reaction of many is far more visceral than that kind of vanity.
The fact is that watching football is far different than playing football -- on an emotional level.
Here is the worship team experiences offers, in theory:
Unity - in arrangements and harmonies.
Unity - in working for something together
Unity - in hearing things blend
Unity - responding to another worshipper
Emotional Satisfaction - in succeeding
Relationship - a voice I can't hear is hard to place within the context of a God who is present.
Vigor - David praised with "all his might" -- there is something more satisfying and vigorous about participating. He said he would not offer that which costs him nothing.
Laird Hamilton, the famous surfer, tells about being really hard to bear when there are no waves. The adrenaline addiction is not a frivolous matter. There is something about the challenge of putting it together and the risk that is far more interesting than having an audience. But, the result is that without rush, the mundane is difficult.
The other thing is simply the sound issue. Either on the platform or off of it, a musician is inherently looking for that blend. Anything that is too loud means you are not blending. Or, if you are, you can't tell.
Theoretically, I am sure many musicians get lost in worship from the pews. It has happened to me. I have a few emotionally flat churches or overly-amplified churches where I would like to see how you do in the pews.
In my Imaginary Church, the whole platform is covered with singers and players of every stripe, with the strongest, best-prepared in the middle, plugged into the sound system, leading...
...the limitations being one bass at a time, and one drum set at a time. But I liked what the First Nations guy who visited did - he had big boxes of hand drums, and gave them to all comers. Was it ever great!
Surprise you did I?
The fact that any particular example would not mean that a denomination or group worship is inherently flawed (any more than any other model).
But, there is an itch we want to scratch. It is real. I want to know what it is.
Here is another example. On the worship team, we have prayers that don't have time limits. They respond to real issues in the group, shared concerns. We know what fully interactive prayer is. We know how that feels and where we go before the throne.
What about sitting in a pew while a list of people on the prayer list is reviewed -- say, 25 names are read in the space of two or three minutes?
Now where are you?
That can be a representative issue for a number of things that happen.
It is not responsive to all of the points raised. It is in some ways not directly related to the issue of whether you just worship, given the opportunity, in a pew.
Just to cut to the chase on the point, my answer to that issue is not to go to elders and sit in meetings to discuss changes. My attempt at an answer is to break the mold, but to do it without sitting under someone else's authority. Outside ministries can be complimentary to the denomination. We started a regional prayer meeting, which has some denominations represented. We have worship meetings that try to go after worship different ways. You don't need to stop a group from doing what it does, but you can show a another model without trying to compete. If you are not meeting Sun. morning or looking for money, you are not competing. The extremely long view of this type of ministry is a subtle affect over a pretty long period of time, to try to change the region and make people aware of the freedom they have to pray and to worship.
But, this is not something well suited to doing by trying to change the mindset of an elder board. When you are that much at odds, you leave meeting, ministry, position and pew.
It;s all about being sensative to the Holy Spirit's leadings. If the Holy Spirit wants us to pray for 30 min. then we pray for 30 min., but that is up to the Holy Spirit.
We have a prayer chain that prays for the needs of our members, all you have to do is call one and they will pass it on to the rest. The pastor is told about the prayer requests from that week and he prays about them beforehand, asking the Holy Spirit to lead him in deciding which ones to bring up for corporate prayer. In this way hopefully, we are following the Holy Spirit's leading in prayer, through the worship leader in worship, and through the elders in prophetic utterances.
We must be led by the Spirit, not by what we want to do. I have been on worship teams as a musician, a singer and a worship leader, and first and foremost I have to allow the Holy Spirit to show me the way. I will not try to try to find my own way, because that only leads to disaster.
With the Holy Spirit's help, I pray that this helps answer your question.
The Holy Spirit has lead me in some funny places. Sometimes he leads out, not in.
The fact is that there are not that many cases where the Spirit has been real clear about leading in a particular direction. I have seen peace come upon a routine and I have seen outcomes no one foresaw and didn't pray into being, not consciously anyway. I doubt there are very many Churches without some measure of the Spirit in what they do.
That being said, the gold standard is to be able to hear His Voice clearly and respond.
The question that arises is that until one has heard clearly, might it not be proper to simply wait, whether it takes hours or days?
I like to think of worship time as the time when we take rest from the labor of "putting music together" (though I enjoy rehearsals, too) and focus on our heart-relation with God and the joy of sharing all this music with the people together. Like some of you, I have felt itchy in the pew, wanting to be on the platform. Even after a vocal operation, I was at the keyboard Sunday, getting my two cents in with the keyboard's "voice." Ego? Absurd need to "help"? Sure, those are factors.
Last summer my wife resigned from full-time and, with only a few guest fill-ins as leaders, had six months in the pews of about twenty different churches. I didn't expect to last through this; but it was wonderful, seeing how our other-church friends worshiped, visiting places outside the comfort zone, and such. I found the "experience" best when I could settle in and quit analyzing or secretly dreaming of me doing it better. Doing it my way, even if I'm an "expert", isn't necessarily better. We went to a church which just had the pastor resign in harsh conflict. An unpaid collection of teenagers were leading worship, and they had chosen beautiful songs about mercy and forgiveness, simply presenting them without comment or preachment. I could do better than that? No way. Some of the music we encountered was painfully slow and archaic by our standards; yet I felt the happiness of God there. We felt welcomed virtually everywhere, and I had plenty of time to talk with people without pastorally worrying about getting on to the next one. All in all, I saw less that really "needed" to be done for a valuable time of worship and word to take place. I enjoyed going to my daughter's church, where the music was insanely loud but you could praise God with a Starbucks in your hand (it was too crowded to find a wastebasket, so I just sipped the thing, alternately with raising my hand, all the way through LoudJesusSong#1)
Some day, towards the end of my life (unless I have a contusion in the saddle like the great French organist Louis Vierne, whose final worship statement was a massive chord as his arms fell against the keys) I will occupy a pew, though we plan to rotate around and try out a different one each week. If we see why we are in a pew (as part of a congregation) it's quite all right. And if when we are on the platform, if we see ourselves as part of a congregation, that's also quite all right.