Hi everyone. I could use some advice about a recent issue in my band. A person has wanted to join the band and I had a hole in the bass area. He plays bass and so we agreed (he and myself) to add him to the team. The problem is that his attitude is that if we are not playing every song lick for lick - than we are not "giving of our best" to the Lord using our talents.

I have had discussions with him ranging from thanking him for encouraging the band to a higher level of commitment by listening to the music outside of rehearsal and working on it individually. I have also had discussions with him about the talent level of our musicians and reminding him that we are about "people" first. That unity in Spirit and attitudes of grace and love for one another always trump playing a song "lick for lick."

He likes to be a big shot with the teenagers - encouraging them to the point where they start to believe the hype about themselves being super talented. They love being flattered and so respond to him.

We usually learn a new song using chord charts and listening to the song several times - then slowly begin to create the song musically adding to it as we get comfortable with it. My approach is organic rather than highly structured. This new player believes that there is only one way to learn a song - is way. He also jumps in and tells the young players how to play, and is critical of some of my long term players when they remark that they didn't listen to the tune before practice or that they don't intend to learn the lead guitar part exactly like "Lincoln" plays it.

This new player was "benched" by my senior pastor just this past week. He went to one of my praise team singers and told her that "she had his vote for new worship pastor because she is so much fun and so easy to work with on Sunday mornings." Apparently he has been trying to take the temperature of people in the church to see who is a supporter of mine and who isn't.

My senior pastor has told me to ignore him and keep moving forward. He has told me that I have his support and that this fellow's behaviour will not be tolerated.

When the guy is not on the platform he sits right smack dab in the front and makes it known how unhappy he is with the music. He will cross his arms, roll his eyes, and in general just tries to make me feel uncomfortable. He also bends the ears of all the musicians when they come off stage.

I gotta tell you - I have never been in a situation where someone was so blatantly out front about his desire to blow me up and blow up the worship band. I could use some encouragement, words of wisdom, past experience stories, whatever you got :-)

Thanks all!

PC

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You have your pastor's support - use it.

 

Advise your pastor about this guys behavior (front row and down) and ask him to step in next Sunday. If the guy starts to talk trash to the band, he needs to be told by the leadership right then and there that the door is open and don't let it hit you on the way out.

Agreed. Sometimes the need and desire to be "godly" when dealing with a recalcitrant band member is given too much precedence. You are well within your rights as worship leader to be strong in your words towards him (without becoming ungodly of course), and to eject him from the worship team. If he continues to cause trouble he should be shown the door, as Rick suggests. He will undoubtedly bad mouth you to all and sundry, but that's par for the course. Be strong and take comfort in the position you have been given by your church's leadership to lead the worship team.
Shaun - Thank you!  I love your no nonsense attitude actually.  i am rather like that.  I think that is how Jesus would be.  I can't help but think how He would have reacted in a situation like this and it reminds me of what He did when faced with people who wouldn't listen to Him.  He dusted off His sandals and kept walking.  In my case - I can't and don't want to keep walking.  My place is in the Church where God has placed me.    My pastor tells me that people like this guy come into our lives and ministry in order to help us grow even deeper spiritually.  I certainly can believe this.  Thanks for your reply....
Thanks for the reply Rick.  Let me ask you one more thing.  If, for example, this Sunday after our service I see him yakking with the musicians in the foyer or church - should I ignore it? Involve myself in the conversation? Just join them and stand listening?  I feel like such a dolt asking these things, I just have never ever experienced anything quite like this.  My boss is great - he is.  But he is NOT a musician and really doesn't understand musicians or artists in general.  So, I am using this great forum to hear from other musicians.  Thank you for responding....
This is tricky. The whole reason we play in a Praise team setting is to worship God and bring glory to His name. There is no room for divas or rock stars. Often you are dealing with volunteers and many who are learning to play still, so it is important for everyone to be flexible in the team.

I can relate (musically) this a bit to my non church band, too. One guitar player is a note-for-note kind of guy. He learns the songs and licks 100% record perfect. That is his thing. He understands that the other three members of the band listen to the song and learn the chords and structure, but prefer to take a more personal approach to learning the licks. As a bass player, I catch the key riffs and make sure that the integrity of the song is there, but I make the tune my own. I own it so I can rock it...

In the praise team I lead, I run into a lot of people who don't listen to the CD.. It does drive me a bit batty. Not that I need everyone to play note-for-note (I don't even do that for my guitar parts), but I need everyone to have the feel of the song down. There is nothing more frustrating than doing a David Crowder song and fighting with the singers who are reading an 'As close as you can get' lead sheet and have no idea how the song really goes (breaths, rhythms that are hard to get right with just a basic lead sheet...) but I am far from a perfection Nazi. As long as everyone is there for the RIGHT reason, and having fun while doing it, then I am doing my job.

What really matters to me on the technical side is just a little effort put forth to learn tunes, to show that you are there to give your best for God. That is all.

In your case, I would try one last time to talk to him and if it doesn't seem that he 'gets it', I'd remove the bass player completely. Toxic people do more damage, more quickly than the combination of people who are there with good intentions. If there is no way to reach him and his attitude gets in the way, it is best that he be kept away from the team.
I hear you Jon.  I too as the leader hate to waste time in rehearsal and prefer working with people who have done at least some homework.  To me, it says to the whole team - "I care enough about this ministry that I will put some time into it outside of rehearsal."  I do not expect perfection - I don't - but I do expect excellence.  To me that means that people do the very best they can with the gifts and abilities that God has given them.  You are right, there are several ways to learn a song - and musicians of all people - should be given artistic liberty to play a song the way they feel as long as it doesn't negatively impact the rest of the team.  I feel like this guy isn't happy with learning music in his way and sharing with the team - he insists that everyone follow his process - which in my mind is ridiculous and uncalled for.  I am praying for a healthy outcome - he is talented and would add musically to our team - but as you said - his toxic personality is not worth what he might bring to the team.  Thanks for your response...

when i am asked to sit in with a praise team it is precisely because i will play the song as the artist recorded it. note for note, perfectly and with the recorded tones also.

 

after 47 years with a strat or a  prs in my hands it's very, very easy.

 

however, the skill level of many praise band members is not quite as high and i understand that. they are great folks normally doing the best that they can.

 

i respect that and also recognize that i am there to lend my skills to the praise leader as tool to be used for God's glory.

 

there's no room for ego or tension on a praise team. it's all about Him.

 

lose the bass player. 

 

don

PC - wow this is a thorny field to be walking through! 

 

I have never had this particular situation, but I would encourage you to also figure a way to help the rest of the team.  It might be wise for you and your senior pastor to meet with them in order to honestly, but lovingly, address the wrong attitude of this fellow.  Sounds like he has already sneezed lots of germs all over them - they probably need some medicine themselves :)

Hi Patti.  Thankfully, the senior pastor (after he benched the guy before rehearsal last week) came back in later and shared with the band expressing how important the role of praise band was in the life of the church and also letting them know that the leaders God has put in place they are to respect.  He has been very very supportive!  I just need to whine I guess and hear from others - especially other worship leaders - because you all get where I am!  Thanks for your reply Patti.

PC,

 

It sounds rough. From what I gather this guy and you aren't getting along. I don't think the way he went about it was right. However, it seems he's putting like a lot of effort and energy to try to get his way. While I don't think it's easy, have you ever thought of about having coffee with him and trying to figure him out? Trying to understand where he is coming from?

 

Maybe the Lord has set upon his heart an issue that he just can't let go of? Maybe he sees the young people not being nurtured enough? Maybe he sees people not practicing hard enough? (Don't get me wrong, he's definitely not going about it correctly...) Maybe he sees his actions as the only way to get his points across?

 

Who knows. A great friend of mine and I butted heads a lot when we first met. You can say we pretty much hated each other. However, over time we realized that we were both super passionate about worship and ended up great friends and even recording an album together. It was like blind men and the elephant. We were both are very determined, headstrong and stubborn. So instead of working against each other, we spent our days working together to accomplish both of our goals. We both were so sure of our viewpoints, but weren't willing to see someone's else's.

 

Not easy. I'm the first to admit I get bent out of shape over little things and I'm stubborn. I'd like to think I'm mellowing over time though. Over time I'm trying to learn to see the world differently, from purely bring in the right and being wronged. Communication is usually the key.

 

So on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I leave with this 'hopefully' fitting quote:

 

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend." - Martin Luther King Jr.

How very true that quote is Wayne.  And if it were strictly about music and I felt like he would meet me half way - I would be all about it. I have had many relationships throughout my 10 years as worship pastor where I have butted heads with people.  I have learned to always, always go the extra mile with people.  To swallow alot of humble pie and accept fault where there really wan't any.  But this fellow - he beats it all.  I have a very hard time with people who blatantly try to undermine my ministry (which is what he is trying to do.)  As a matter of fact - he tried last summer to blow the ministry up - and was told to "knock it off" by the senior pastor.  He left for awhile and then came back - but the behaviour has not changed.  Thank you for your response - and you give me the other perspective - I will continue to pray and ask God to show me where I am failing in this situation.

 

Thanks!

This bass player is a fly in the ointment. Give him the boot and show him the door - now. This is about disunity and creating strife. That's not of God. Tell your pastor about his behavior off stage and see if he will agree to send him away. 

 

But before you do that - I agree with Wayne's approach. See if you can win him over first. If nothing seems to work, you don't have time for that kind of nonsense.

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