We're in an odd spot. We signed on a new church plant to train and develop a worship team. The church is made up of almost all new believers, and folks working through recovery. A little tougher assignment, but not impossible. 

We're now eight months into this program. After the team failed to show up for two consecutive rehearsals we decided to place them on hiatus and regroup with the senior and associate pastors.

Over the course of a few weeks we met and discussed the situation. It seemed like we had identified the problem and a plan; the congregation as a whole needed a deeper understanding into the heart of worship. This was to be tackled from the pulpit. Then my husband and I would put together a smaller team with a new rotation to address the attendance problem. 

So, Sunday rolls around. The senior pastor preaches a stirring sermon. We see the seeds of something wonderful beginning. We did not expect an over night change, but this was headed in a promising direction and the congregation was moved. It looked like a breakthrough was going to take place.

Normally, there is an alter call at the end of each sermon. Music is played and time is devoted to one on one prayer and ministry. This did not happen. Instead the associate pastor got up and proceeded to talk for another 30 minutes on top of the 45 minute sermon the senior pastor preached. The congregation was then dismissed with the words, "No one needs prayer".

My heart sank.

We have followed up with the associate pastor to get a feel for what our next steps should be. The conversations are leaving us with very little encouragement. We want to begin to build the team, but the pastoral support seems to have, withered down to nothing. 

What is going on? 

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"What is going on?"

This is the question you need to be asking of your leadership.

My advice - simplify things, rather than trying to make multiple teams at this stage. Ask yourself "who has a heart and passion for worship" and use them alone. If you have a few musicians and none of them burn to play in worship then don't use them: better to have just a keyboard or guitar and a leader whose heart is on fire than a band who take it or leave it. As for pastoral support, if they'll give you a free hand then look at it as an opportunity to draw together worshippers.

Might be worth asking yourselves if there's something about rehearsals that makes people not want to come. I don't know you, the church or the band, but sometimes music practice can be discouraging and uninspiring for certain people, even though it works well for others. Look for ways to make people want to be part of it and to meet Jesus while they do it. Musical excellence is relatively unimportant, and technical ability only required in order not to get in the way of people worshipping through mistakes.

Finally, it's my observation that some people just simply need someone to chase them all the time before they'll do stuff. If they don't get a call in the week about practice, house group etc they simply don't show. Frustrating, but if you know that is the case then at least you'll understand why they let you down.
Thank you Toni for your candor. I very much appreciate the feed back. I'm going to chew on the ideas you suggested. We are thinking on the simplify aspect. Going to a smaller group that will only have to work once or twice a month rather than every week. This is what we had before and I think people did get tired which is partly to blame for the fall off. We are looking for people with a "calling" on their heart. We have one, but maturity can be an issue for all of them as they are all new believers and coming out of various "issues" from their BC days. What I'm hearing pretty loud from all these posts is, be patient and don't panic.

Thanks so much, it's definitely encouraging.
I think it's a little too early to figure out what is going on. Sometimes pastors do weird things (I speak in love, but it's still true, and I know they say the same things about us musicians) and I don't think one occurrence is enough for you to figure out a pattern.

So I'd suggest that you don't start riding the emotional roller coasters yet, not unless you get a really good reason to! :)
I agree that it might be a little too soon to assess the situation properly. To you, the associate pastor quenched the Spirit; but what he did might be exactly what someone in the congregation needed, and that was the person God chose to speak to specifically that day. In the pastor's mind, he no doubt did exactly what he felt called to do at that moment. Only God really knows for sure.

Like Toni says, work with the worship people who really want to be there and make it your goal to build some really amazing times of corporate worship. Let the Spirit move in the worship time if nowhere else. You have a new congregation, and they need to become familiar with what worshipping God is all about. You might find the pastors getting really excited as well.

Secondly, give your pastoral team time to figure out what they're doing. If you begin to notice a definite pattern of one pastor encouraging the Spirit and the other quenching it, then sit down with them both and ask for clarity in the goals and mission of the church. Once that is clear in everyone's mind, you can then decide to either keep working there or to move on.

The bottom line is that you don't want to make a major decision based on one incident alone.
Thank you everyone. I really appreciate every one of these comments. They have helped a lot. Guess I was panicking a little! These all gave me the outside look I needed.

Have a great week end!!!
I don't sense good things here. The concept is great and the intent is well meaning, but I recommend leaving.
Hi Donna. This is a heartbreaking situation, and one I've seen in my past, as well. Thanks for sharing your heart, and concern. While I agree with the previous replies, I also believe that it's not the Father's will for His children to die on the vine, especially when they are seeking His face and desperately want to draw closer themselves. and see others do the same. My advice would be to press on toward that goal for a time with the leadership, worship team(s), and the congregation. But should you see little or no change, I suggest strongly and in compassion that you find a new church home that equips you and your family to grow in your relationship with God - not stunt and frustrate it.
Thank you Nicki,

Your words are confirming. My husband and I have been doing great deal of praying and seeking. this Website is such a blessing! Being able to talk with others in the same ministry is wonderful support! What we have concluded is we're going to stick to our commitment and work on putting the team together over the next six months. We had given our word that we would be there for that long. We're praying and trusting that God in His power is going to break through and get the job done. It's tough though. Yesterday was a set unlike any I've ever experienced before. There was such a spiritual struggle going on. You could feel the tug of war in the atmosphere of the church. I was very drained by the end of the set. Worship really is warfare. We're going to meet with the team on Tuesday and get them rolling. We have three ready for the challenge. That's an answer to prayer right there!
Trusting in God and praying is so important in situations like this. As is good communication with the leadership. See if you can get them to meet with you and listen as they explain their goals for the church. Do they want numbers, spiritual growth, or some combination of the two?

Then ask your questions - something like "Last Sunday we were doing X on the worship, then you did Y. What was going on?" Sometimes pastors and musicians get so focused on their roles that they can't connect with each other.

Remember, in spiritual warfare you're not fighting the person or their motives or actions, but the spirit behind that. In my experience of this kind of conflict either I or the people involved have left or been moved on....
As far as what is going on? I don't know. God hasn't given me anything here.

As for my opinion on this:

1. "No one needs prayer" is never true.
2. You have to assess as to whether or not you can be effective in your role as a leader in this church.
3. You also have to assess as to whether or not your church is effective at doing what God has placed before it. If you answer "yes, we are doing what God is having us do" then somebody has sold you a lie.
4. As for whether or not you stay - that is between you and God, but I think there are some really good opinions here.
5. Don't make a fast decision as to whether or not you need to leave. The ministry here sounds unique - and you might find an opportunity that isn't typical that fits you well.


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