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!


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So true. You know what inspires me is someone like Patti Labelle, and I try to do the same. If you see that people like what you play in the secular atmosphere, perhaps invite them in thanking the same God (whether they are believers or not) that you know is responsible for what you have been playing that night in a pub (or even a gang patch depending on the type of music you play).


I guess no matter what type of secular music you play there will be an appropriate song (or a cover thereof) that would suit the environment. Personally, I have worked out songs like How Great is Our God, This is My Desire/Lord I Give You My Heart, Light of the World?Here I am to Worship, and Amazing Grace ready to play in any kind of setting or groove, from plain hymnal to the heaviest of metal with all that is possible in between.


I f you commit all you do to the Lord, you may well find that those that are out there in the "dark places" are actually your evangelists. So do not condemn but equip.  

Hi Paul, 


Although relatively new to being part of a worship team, this is how I tend to look at it: 


While there may be merit in leaning to play a song note for note as recorded by someone else, there is also the point that that someone else's congregation, church, concert visitors, are not necessarily the people from your church. Perhaps the first focus should be on what helps the church focus on God, connect with God, what on average gets the congregation singing their praises. I admit that I can say that easy because I have been trained to do both as a jazz musician, but there is something to be said for the average attitude of a jazz musician: "this is how others play it and this is how I (individually and as a band) do it." In the end it is never about the people that are playing but the people you are trying to lead, you are a servant. Do they need the note for note, lick for lick approach?


You are there to serve and for some songs that may require a note for note the same approach and for other songs that may well require a completely different approach. Another matter to consider is how your team is made up. In our church (www.harmony.org.nz) we love the Israel Houghton material as an example, but also classics like How great though art, Blessed Assurance, How Great is our God, Here I am to Worship, This is my Desire To Worship You. What I have found is that the "organic approach" serves better, if you do not have a band like Israel Houghton (with the horn section and several keyboards, you will have to adjust to make things work. No instrumentalist can get away with note for note as recorded as you will need to work to fill in the gaps and make adjustments. Additionally the place of a song in the service may require a different approach. 


Could it maybe be that your bass player is trying to cover up a lack of flexibility in that he may be able to copy without understanding what he is doing? Instead of getting upset, perhaps try to invite him to some one on one time where you jam away on the songs creating different atmospheres from quiet and contemplative to banging out loud full on worship.


In the end you don't need the licks, you need the ability to lead your church and be lead by your church to take a song somewhere else. It is good to remember that leading is serving, no matter what instrument you play and sometimes leading thus means following. I can say this easily being part of the music ministry ion a church where there are many very gifted musicians, but at thew same time, just like in my jazz background, the real beauty comes not from your ability to play but from the ability to listen and respond and to be able to play songs in a way that fits in with the particular place in the service, the message that is conveyed and the atmosphere created as a result of that.


Leading is serving. Perhaps make experimenting with a song part of the practice routine.


Hope this helps.



I totally agree with this point: "Could it maybe be that your bass player is trying to cover up a lack of flexibility in that he may be able to copy without understanding what he is doing? Instead of getting upset, perhaps try to invite him to some one on one time where you jam away on the songs creating different atmospheres from quiet and contemplative to banging out loud full on worship."


I wish I thought of that! :)

After reading your messages (emails from your course) I am sure you would have come up with that.

Blessings brother.
Notes, chord symbols (which are actually just generalized notes) and CD's (which are actually just freeze-dried music) exist only to communicate an Idea, a lovely idea the composer had.  Would I imitate a recording of a Shakespearean actor to do Shakespeare?  People that do such things are called "hacks".  Would I play all of the sixteenth notes equally in a Bach fugue (or a jazz arrangement) just because they look equal to the eye?  Perish the thought!  Would I play a hymn from a hymnal as the notes are written?  Of course not; any player worth his salt touches the parts here and there to help the singers, but orchestrates the music from the keyboard spontaneously, to support the congregation and make real music happen.  So why on earth would I want to do Matt Redman like Matt Redman?  I know there is such a thing as "copying a master" to learn the trade; but there comes a time for the apprentice to become a journeyman -- a gradual process in music, since music takes place in time.  But if you don't learn to make music yourself, but only imitate, you will in effect remain an apprentice your entire life, just a really slick one.

Galatians 5:20 describes "party spirit" as hell.  Keep doing the right thing.  People in your congregation see this extreme bad-boy behavior and recognize it for what it is.  But if it takes hold and generates into a faction, you may need to impress the board or whoever is the responsible body in your church with the seriousness.

I have actually had people come into the church I ministered in because they saw how I was able to work with such a blatant aggravater of people.  It was paradise for awhile; I was a sort of "great uniter."  But the person never really repented, and sowed seeds that eventually drove the pastor out and undermined the music program to the point that the church needed a total overhaul (again)... and that's what brought me to Oregon.

Well be thankful you have your Pastor's support. I had the same situation but didn't have my Pastor's support. Turned out fatal...thank God He was able to heal relationships eventually without the Pastor's help.
Churches can be resilient.  Every one I've been in had some sort of destructive Party Dragon steaming and snorting about, but they're all thriving today (did they get better because I left?  Hm....)
Did I miss something? I didn't notice a description that he was a party animal.

Hey, I'm talking Galatians 5 party-spirit animals, metaphorically:)

I get over the top on word-pictures, sometimes.  I never metaphor I didn't like.

phors are great...you must be reading a translation I'm not reading. Party dragon - I like it.


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