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.
Well, I hate to keep dragging this thread out, but I think I need to provide another little update. God works in amazing ways. This past week, one of my vocalists, so far not really involved in all the problems, had to back out because of some problems with her ex-husband. The strong male vocalists that has been a vocal part of the problem got Labyrinthitis (like vertigo), Thursday night at rehearsal another singer said her throat was getting sore. That left me with myself and the female vocalist that unloaded on me last week. I'll call her Jill. We ran rehearsal and Friday night my throat start hurting. Saturday my high an midrange singing voice was completely gone. I'm making lunch thinking how am I going to break it to Jill that she's probably going to be singing solo Sunday. Right before lunch I get a text message from Jill asking if I can meet her at the church around 2pm. I reply "Sure, what's up?". She had some thoughts about how to simplify some of the songs to make them easier for the congregation. We get there and I explain to her my voice is gone and probably won't return Sunday. She was extremely helpful and took charge of leading all the vocals. We worked through all the songs and repitched them into her range. We called in the drummer who is able on occasion to toss in some background harmonies. And the vocalist from Thursday night with the sore throat texted me she was better and could sing. We called her up to the church too. We had the best time reworking the music and everyone had their eye on what would work best for the congregation. This morning Sunday services were great. I made a short announcement explaining our vocal shortcoming and basically recruited the congregation to help us fill in the lack of vocals. After the service the male singer with the dizziness problem came and talked to me. He felt spiritually he needed to take a break from the team to focus on his faith and some family issues. The rest of the team did great this morning. They helped greet people as they came in, they sat in the congregation among their friends if their family was not there, instead of taking our places on stage during the communion prayer we waited and took communion with the congregation. I was early in the line since I sit close to the front. When I was done I started playing guitar, remember my voice is gone. As other member of the team made it through the communion line they came and started playing and/or singing along until we had the whole team involved. I don't know if any of our illnesses were divine intervention but it seems like just what we needed. The outcome this morning was perfect.
Wow. First of all, praise God for his sovereign control of the situation. Secondly, I'm glad to hear that those who were not spiritually positioned for that kind of service were allowed to see that and back out graciously. Praise God.