First off, I'm a co-leader on our praise team at church. My tasks are song selection and arrangement. Another person handles rehearsal, and to the team more-or-less comes off as the "leader."

The question regards a singer. This singer ("A") is a professional, very talented. "A" has only been a part of our team for about 6-9 months. From about the 3rd Sunday, the rehearsal leader had moved "A" to a point of leadership on the platform, in the process supplanting a committed, longer-term singer ("B") who is somewhat timid when it comes to leading songs, but has excellent harmony vocals.

There are several factors to "A"'s service that trouble me. "A" can only sing with the team twice per month (while other leaders commit to 3 or 4 per month). "A" is a much-more charismatic singer than anyone else on the team, and feedback from some congregation members indicate some discomfort and distraction because of this. "A" also seems to command the stage, perhaps because of experience as a pro singer, and often looks out of place standing in the choir because of the charismatic movements.

The other tough part is that my co-leader seems to be happy with "A"'s style, even though it pretty much clashes with what the rest of the team does (we have 3 or 4 other vocalists with lead ability). We have a worship planning team that has given a lot of direction to my co-leader that we feel "A" needs to be mentored towards blending with the rest of the team. This has been happening for months, as far as I know it hasn't been addressed with "A" yet.

My questions are...
1) Are we being sticks in the mud? If God is leading a church to be contemporary, but not exactly Pentecostal/charismatic in their style, is it appropriate to reprimand a singer who seems to be drawing attention to themselves because the style is more progressive than the other singers?

2) Would you allow a vocalist to lead songs if they only come to practice and sing two times per month? I know there are probably teams who rotate weekly, biweekly, or monthly, so that's a reality of it...but if the culture is to have lead vocalists sing 3-4 Sundays per month, does it create dissension to have a twice-a-monther lead songs that other more committed leaders could handle?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

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Hey Earl, things like this can be a touchy subject. You're wise to approach with care. Here's a couple of my initial thoughts.

Question 1: To reprimand a singer for their style seems heavy handed, unless they are consciously trying to draw attention to themselves. If they're singing sincerely from their heart but it doesn't suit your corporate culture, then I'd either a) consider changing the culture if it needs to be changed, or b) use the singer in less conspicuous ways. Over time your church might begin to accept what they do, or that person may begin to blend in more or else decide to move on. Not every style fits every group.

Question 2: I'm a big believer and promoter of mentoring new worship leaders, so if there are a number of singers who can lead a song, then I would rotate them all in on a regular basis, and try not to put too much emphasis on one particular person. That will go a long way in preventing dissension.

Personally I don't worry about how many times they sang last month, but rather think about things like: does this song suit them, will it draw the congregation in better if A leads or B?, how long has it been sing they led a song, etc. By all means, singer "B" should not be left out in the cold.

I'm thinking you forgot Question 3: What should be said to the co-leader who has ignored direction from the committee about speaking to "A"? It could be your co-leader has tried to speak with "A" but to no avail. Or, they don't know how to address it. Maybe these thoughts will help.
Great points Rick. A lot of that is what I've been trying to juggle through my skull, since I'm in charge of discerning who leads what. I'm a big believer in team unity, and one part of humility is sacrificing your own beliefs in order to do what's for the good of the team. The Program Director did give "A" some guidance about certain things when "A" was just getting started leading songs, but there has been a steady reversal back to the original. I think a change in culture at our church would be awesome, but it would also be great if it was a collective move instead of one person.

As far as Question 3, the pastor is well aware of that particular concern.
"I think a change in culture at our church would be awesome, but it would also be great if it was a collective move instead of one person."

Great, let "A" lead the way!
I'm don't know all the details about your situation, but I would say consult with your Pastor and the co-leader, have the others on your team watch and learn about stage presence from A, but have the choir director dial back A a bit in the choir, where it's more important to blend in vocally.

On question 1 - Are there personality clashes on your team, or is this just musical/stylistic differences? If it's the former, then you and the other co-leader must deal with that first. If it's the latter, take steps to foster a culture of acceptance, not conformity. Perhaps you both could meet with A and/or the team to work this out.

Regarding question 2 - I have done something like this at times, taking off a week a month so that others on the team may have a chance to shine. Nothing wrong with that, as long as there are enough on the team to cover absence, sick days, travel, etc. But try to avoid the situation where B doesn't get to lead on their song because A is there. That's a recipe for dissension.

As long as it's not one person (A) being constantly preferred over all the others, I would say mention your differences, bring them out into the open, but don't make a big fuss over them. As in -

person 1 , a Boomer, likes Classic rock'n roll
person 2 is younger and likes to lead songs all emo
person 3 likes to shred over the vocals w/ elec. guitar
person 4 is great on drums and Latin percussion, but is really into R+B Gospel

Each person has their own flavor and strengths. Each person may have to compromise on their preferences sometimes. Each person should reach out to each others' styles. Thus God's love is shown...
answer to question 1: if the singer is drawing attention to him/her you have to look at if it is on purpose. If it is, thats a problem, If its not, maybe the congregation just isnt use to the talent/style of this singer. My advice is to pray on it. If it continues to be a problem, ask the singer what his/her intentions are for being on stage. Is it to be noticed, or is it to worship.

2: If your church has set amounts of time that a leader should be there and be involved, then anyone who has that position needs to adhere to those standards. for example at my church, the lead pastor does not believe that it is a sin to smoke, however those who are on stage cant because we are supposed to lead by example. what if a jr. high kid decided to start smoking because it was ok that I do? That wouldnt be ok.

I hope i answered your questions well
1) "Are we being sticks in the mud?" Yes. Squelching ones worship offering because it makes people upset is, in my opinion and wrong. God has blessed "A" with a personality, skills, and execution of those skills, they should be allowed to use them. It sounds to me that "A" has a lot to teach your team and even your church. If "A" was a poor performer, then things would be different.

2) If they can only commit to one or two sessions a month, and you agreed to allow them on the team, you have nothing to argue about. Just because they can't commit as often doesn't mean that they are any less valuable to the team. Amount of time committed isn't really the way to measure this case. Instead, capabilities should be weighed here. If they have the skills, let them use them.
So you don't believe that a person can enter a team with the wrong attitude? You would simply allow that person to begin leading songs within your team without a discernment of their heart condition towards that? While you need to have a solid performance at your instrument to be an effective worship leader, I believe the last thing worship leading should be is a performance, lest the service become about us rather than about God.
Discernment/Attitude is a BS argument.
Discernment only works in this situation if your heart is right and you don't have another motive.
If you are threatened by or want the other person out you will find a way to sabotage them, yourself or the team. (people spend a lot of money in counseling for that thought)

If they entered the team with a wrong attitude then you messed you at the onset.
So what are you going to do now? Kick them off because you messed up? This is not a valid argument.
What you have to do is damage control, and get before God and get wisdom on what to do.
Or you could sacrifice the sheep (person with bad attitude) to the god of your convenience. Then run them off to another church, and give your self and your church and God a bad name. All because you messed up.
amen. discernment is very key. some churches think thats its ok to throw someone in the mix just because they can sing and have good stage presence. ive seen 90% of those cases turn ugly because the person with the "talent" only cared about themselves and not actually serving as a part of the worship team.

get to know them first, see what their walk with Jesus is like for a while and of course pray about their involvement. putting a person on stage that is not ready for such a responsibility could hurt alot of people. and ive seen it happen when the truth came out about the "the new guy".
"So you don't believe that a person can enter a team with the wrong attitude?" I do believe that people can have the wrong attitude. Unless I missed something, you didn't indicate that they have the wrong attitude.

"You would simply allow that person to begin leading songs within your team without a discernment of their heart condition towards that?"

This is a touchy subject. Unless you are Jesus, you cannot know what is in their hearts. Period. Ever. Unless they confess something to you - you just can't know. Observation only goes so far here. And only committing to two weeks a month isn't qualification enough to determine heart.

Without hesitation, heart is more important than talent. Why do you think this person doesn't have the right heart?
My point wasn't that the person doesn't have the right heart. I was simply responding to your post.

Through the gifts of the Spirit, I do believe that leaders are called to discern the condition of a servant's heart within their team, without passing judgment. Leading worship is a huge responsibility, and should be held to the standard of a holy act of sacrifice. We can lead with rock music, loud speakers, lights, but we must remain humble and only acting to glorify the One who allows us to worship Him.

I believe the best way is through the conviction of the Spirit, i.e. perhaps an occasional devotion on the subject of the privilege of leading worship, and the proper attitude.
Discernment is important, and while I know some are pooping on it here, it is one of my spiritual gifts. The spirit has never lead me wrong here.

But even as I have the gift, when I think that something is wrong - it still isn't my place to simply call them out. It is my place to initiate a discussion that leads to the heart of the matter. Even then, rarely to convict (to say: "you are wrong") but to help them come to realize what it is that is wrong.

So the question that I have to put forward here is: What is the real problem? I suspect, from your OP, that you are just jaded by their presence on stage, perhaps even threatened. At this point, I would even go so far as to say that what you put in the OP as the problem is more likely your justification for your feelings and thoughts to the person. In other words, you are looking at the symptom (I have a cough...) and deciding that the symptom is the problem (...and the cough is my problem) instead of realizing the deeper issue (my cough really only exists because I have a cold and the cold is what I need to be treating).


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