Hello, I'm looking for input for a meeting I'm going to have with my praise team tonight. I and a number of others from the congregation and church staff feel that the team has drifted away from authentic worship to performance. They play and sing very well but don't seem to really connect with the congregation any more. Some have started talking about the team as a click and closed group. There are a number of behaviors I will talk about tonight but one thing that we have never agreed on is what the team does during the sermon. I feel, and a lot of reading seems to support this, that during the sermon the praise team members should not exit the sanctuary or have a whisper/chat huddle in the back during the sermon. I've talked to them about either sitting up front in the empty seats or scattering among the congregation and give the sermon the same attention everyone else gives it. Right now they only seem to want to do that if their family is there. We have two services so their complain is that they will have to sit through the same sermon twice. I don't see the problem with that if it makes the congregation feel like the praise team is a unified part of the church body that way. I sit through the sermon twice and either pick up something I missed the first time or the pastor changes it up a little and I get something new. Either way I'm participating in the entire church service as a congregation member that happens to also lead worship.
My question is what does everyone else do? That's a question my pastor asked me today and I don't have a solid answer. She says she doesn't mind if they leave for the sermon but whispering in the back or making a very obvious mass exodus is not something she cares for.
What do you do?
FYI: We worship in a triple-wide portable building right now so it's hard for everyone to leave and not create a very visible exodus.
And really, that's the only way to go: with the support and counsel of your pastor. Don't sweat it if people quit. It's always painful, but sometimes it is necessary. It is ALWAYS better to allow a bad seed to walk away than to build the program with poisonous attitudes that SEEM harmless enough, but will eventually fester and kill everything.
I think this can vary greatly from congregation to congregation, largely based on whether or not they are playing for multiple services. At our church, we only have one service, and the team sits with their families. So, that's one solution: have them sit separated, with their own families or with close friends. If they come up to play a song at the end, arrange for a cue to let them know it's time. In our church, it's when the pastor says "let's pray" or something to that effect.
Secondly, if they are not connecting with the congregation, it may be because they do not feel they are part of the congregation - or worse, that they are above the congregation. Bench them. In Christian love.
What I do is require that each member of the worship team occassionally sits in the congregation and does not play. If they resist this, their hearts are not in the right place and they should not be on a worship team anyway. Most people, if their hearts ARE right, will welcome the opportunity to sit with their family and friends and simply worship God.
Do not be afraid to fire a volunteer for the sake of the church. It would be better to not have a drummer, for example, than to have a drummer with the wrong heart. The quality of the music, and the right instrumentation, is far less important than the heart of those leading the congregation in worship.
For me, it's more than WANTING to play every week, but NEEDING to play every week. For example, I've had band members who would not show up to church if they were not playing.
Moreso, the attitude comes out in other ways. You see them in the congregation during worship times, and they are reading their bulletins instead of joining with the congregation. They say they can only worship in the worship team.
BUT the resistance to authority - mine or anyone else's - IS a problem, biblically. One cannot be in rebellion against biblically established human authority while claiming to be submitted to God. It's a contradiction. If you are in rebellion against biblically acceptible human authority, you are in rebellion against God, because God placed your leaders in place.
Now, let's qualify "rebellion". Is disagreement rebellion? Not necessarily. There are right and wrong ways to disagree. Does one have to give tacet approval to everything the leader says and does? No. But are they subversive? What is their attitude in the midst of the disagreement? And the source?
So is it the resistance to my authority or wanting to play every week? Both. Since I am a pastor in the church (and you worship leaders are, to some extent, in pastoral roles as well), and since I am set apart and recognized by the congregation as a leader, then resistance to my authority is a spiritual issue in the same way that resistance to the pastor's authority would be a spiritual issue.
And I see worship leaders all over the place who are in rebellion against their pastors. And you either need to repent, or step down, no matter how wrong you think they are. (And yes, I've had to do that. I resigned because I could not submit to my pastor's authority.)
I feel quite blessed! I think we're too hungry to experience these things. But I see what you mean, I wouldn't like it if any of my team wasn't involved with the rest of the congregation. Like (Shaq?) says, when he goes home, he's just one of the family and has to clean dishes like everyone else.
It sounds like you're experiencing or have experienced a lot of discord and strife in this capacity. I'm saddened that it's been this way for you.
Hey, I know what you mean----I've lead worship in places where someone would be up in worship team or leading worship then made a mad dash outside to go for a smoke or ???? then come back when altar call (same people did this year after year). In the church I attend now I've decided to work on discipleship because when people are talking in the back instead of listening to the sermon it may mean something is happening in their spiritual life. So when I'm blunt with people they know I'm really interested in their well-being; they therefore don't take offense. as much. I also remind that worship isn't just music.
I'm not sure worship is the problem there. You have people who aren't generally respectful or mature as believers. It also happens some in churches where the worship team is hired. When a person goes searching for a church home, they look for a place to be plugged in. But when you put an add in the Christian newspaper for a drummer, he's not looking for a church home, just a place where he can ply his trade.
Wow, so it's not just me. That's encouraging. :-) I didn't know this topic would be so popular when I started it. I do constantly keep the idea that "music is secondary to what we are called to do as a worship team" visible in everything I do and all my communications to my team.
I can't imagine having folks on my worship team who weren't respectful enough to stay around in the service. I hope you guys can get this all sorted out in your own situations and I certainly pray that I don't suddenly have to deal with it in my own!