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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What is the difference between Contemporary and Pentecostal (or charismatic) in style (tongues aside)?

Pentacostal just has to do with your dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit to minister through you. Hopefully we all proclaim to be somewhat "pentacostal" in our worship. Tongues/baptisms beliefs aside, the Pentacost is biblical and the power of the Holy Spirit it real. :)

"Charismatic" and "Contemporary" are styles.  Charismatic is typically associated with Pentacostal churches because they are very free and exuberant in their worship typically accompanied with dancing and speaking in tongues, etc. While we know that we must have freedom in worship, it can be an chaotic and unsettling for new believers. The bible says, "The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets."  Meaning, each believer has control over the work of the Holy Spirit and the dancing and speaking in tongues CAN be tempered and, in my opinion, should be for the sake of baby Christians. 


Contemporary is a style which typically is presented with a casual environment, feel good rock music, trendy and comfortable, and very appealing to seekers.  Commonly safe and non-threatening. However, this environment can be the best of both worlds and has a wide open door, able to bridge this gap between "Charasmatic" and non-Charismatic worshippers.  But, all too often, they play it safe. 

I believe the WORLD is more Charismatic than the church. Just look at any music concert.  You see thousands of hands in the air. If you look closely, I bet you can even pick out some faces in your congregation. :) They are not just being "entertained". They are responding to someone's passion, expression, and "Charisma". We worshippers tend to "perform" on the platform.  We are tasked to play what the congregation wants to hear. We are compelled to put up our BEST to put on good worship and sometimes do this without fully knowing their heart.  This is very dangerous because it is NOT the person that ministers but the Holy Spirit. If they are good, but are not spiritually mature, they can cause more spiritual harm to your ministry than good.  Wait and train them up.  Likewise, with mature servants, you will need to train them up as well.  Either this is a ministry for them and they are pouring our their gifting on the body or they are NOT.  If they have limited repertoire, then that is between them and God. If they are called to minister, they will get on their game. PASSION! God expects that we are training our team up and equipping our Saints to be effective ministers.

Responding to the part of your commentary related to definition of style -

Is "contemporary" a style, or rather a generic term including styles currently in vogue?  The term "contemporary" means whatever it means to the group you are with.  A jazz musician may enjoy the latest forms of jazz, but a rocker hearing the same music would only sense the jazzness and consider the music to be "old" in style.  (In fact, what is jazz?  Is it contemporary or traditional?  And what in the world does "traditional" mean, or does it have too many meanings to have any meaning at all? 

Now you do use the word "typical" to describe a Contemporary mode.  "Mainline" (heard-on-the-radio) Christian music often resembles current secular music to the degree that I hear music in a shopping center, expecting Christian words, but surprised to hear a love ballad.  In that sense we define Contemporary as "conforming to a cultural norm of the United States media community."  Creative efforts we typically classify as "Indie", and if they become popular enough, they will be redubbed Contemporary.

Now there is other music, such as emerges from David Crowder, or Bethel Church in Redding, or this fellow Upton, that is marvelous music but can't be classified so easily, unless we lump it in with "charismatic."  I guess it's easier to just find and sing good songs than to try to classify them!

In regards to who is ministering:

When we offer our bodies as living sacrifices (description of 'worship' in Romans 12:1), we are encouraged away from conformity to the pattern of the world, and to be transformed by the renewing of our mind -- thus we end up proving out the goodness of God's will.  In this and many other passages, "we" are actively engaged, but empowered by the Holy Spirit -- rather than "we" being so many shells that are occupied by the Spirit.  It is He that renews and builds us up.  I'm not one of those that feels you need to create some sort of mystical "atmosphere" before people are "able to worship."  I think it's simpler than that.  People just come to God and sing to him and each other, and while they're doing that, if they keep their ears open, they will hear what God is saying to them (He's talking to us all the time; it's just that music has a way of getting us out of the nonsense of the regular world into a visit into His kingdom).

Jesus is the Vine; we are the branches.  When we are in Him, He in us, His Spirit in us, we in His Spirit, we might say it is "the Spirit who ministers"; but the Spirit employs us, clay pots to pour out His blessings, his priceless Word.  Strong, weak, bold, mild-mannered, talented, borderline -- we are all tasked to minister His love, some of us tasked with music -- but all of us are working out our salvation in fear and trembling, with many faults and much baggage in our tents.  Good reason not to give the ultra-talented the illusion that they can waltz through this gig of life.

Peter does refer to our bodies as a "tent" ("tabernacle" for KJV folk) which shall soon be cast aside -- but even after it is cast aside there still will be evidently such a thing as "we" enjoying God forever.  I would say, personally, that the person ministers, with the Holy Spirit as Counselor.  To the degree that we cooperate with God (in conduct of life as well as how we conduct a worship service), what we do, say or sing will have value.

Are we tasked to play what the congregation wants us to hear?  Are we not tasked to something better than scratching itches?

(this isn't in criticism to your points; you bring out a number of good questions, some of which invite hard questions, and if I have any annoying compulsion, it is to delve into hard questions, because such often yield rewarding answers).


I was definining the word "Contemporary" and "Charismatic" as it applies to church worship. I'm not talking about the "worlds" definition of the terms. Conforming to a style is what I have an issue with.  When you say "Contemporary Worship" that usually doesn't include Gospel. Though gospel can be contemporary. You will rarely see a Kim Walker song and a Kirk Franklin song in the same set. If I want to hear anything remotely gospel, I have to find a "Gospel" church.  We can move on from this topic because you know what "Charismatic" and "Contemporary" worship is.

To dig deeper, let's use Kim Walker as an example. That is what I consider ministering. (Tongues aside) She is singing the song the way the Holy Spirit moves her.  She is not just following the structure (V1, V2, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Turn around) and singing it just like the recording.  She is demonstrating the freedom we have in worship.  She is worshipping and not just singing some lines in a song.  Every word counts. I'm in no way saying that we need to conform to the world.  I'm saying that the world demonstrats more freedom in their expression than most worship teams, which is sad.  It just appears that the world can handle the freedom in worship, but it's the church that pulls in the reigns. 

Yes, we are all ministers.....strong, weak, bold, mild-mannered, talented, borderline, etc.  However, we are not all leaders. Singing on the platform is a leadership role.  You are the example of worship for the congregation.  If your timid with solos or with expressing yourself in worship, then you are not ready to be on the platform. However, they can be in the choir or in training. We are definitely active participants in ministering because we yield ourselves the the Holy Spirit. I certainly don't believe that the Holy Spirit takes over and drives and we have no control.  However, I do believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to work through us.  The Holy Spirit is more than just a counselor.  He gives us utterance, wisdom, revelation.  We are empowered by the Holy Spirit . (2 Peter 1:21) "...for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."

If singer "A" is chosen for because of her talent and is not annointed for this ministry, then she is just performing and is not ministering.

Just speculation, but -

What if singer "A" is talented and anointed (ministers to people, draws them into worship, not just tickles the ear)? What if it's singer "B" and others on the team who feel threatened by this? It wouldn't be the first time jealousy and dissension has surfaced in a praise group.

I ask this both as someone with some "talent" (what skill I do have is mostly the result of experience and hard work) and one who has had to step up and 'lead' songs in the past year. I know how it feels to meet the challenge of having to come out of my shell, to meet the needs of others on the team, to play to their strengths and their weaknesses.

Yes, talent can only go so far. We must learn to lean on the Lord, so that He can use us, flaws and all, and work through our personality, whether that may be gregarious or shy. But I believe God made people with different personalities, so that we may learn to accept and love and learn from each other, not exclude someone because they exceed our parameters of worship.

Are we tasked to play what the congregation wants us to hear?  Are we not tasked to something better than scratching itches?

I struggle with this. There are some in our congregation who respond much more to a certain musical style. Others like a different genre, and some grumble if we go too much one way or another. How to balance? Do we play the spiritual equivalent of Castor Oil, in hopes that it will get down their throats one way or another? How much do we cater to peoples' cultural preferences?

This is the million dollar question.

Are we tasked to play what the congregation wants us to hear?  Are we not tasked to something better than scratching itches?

I'm going to post it on the Worship leader board.

First things first, i notice that this thread was started almost a year ago, but since I only joined WTR today I thought i'd throw in my thoughts anyway.  Maybe the situation has changed, i'm not sure.


It's a hard call to make without knowing the people concerned and their hearts.  The one thing I notice from your questions is that your worship team is alive and moving in the right direction.  You obviously care enough to let this trouble you.  Thats awesome.


Ultimately, the decision should lie with the congregation you are leading - if any part of your team (people, songs, personalities etc...) is hindering the worship experience of your congregation then it needs to be looked at.  If, however, it just makes some people uncomfortable because its new or different, it might just open up a whole new wave of worship and take your team on a journey to the unknown.  Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, pray together as a team regularly about the team vision.


Worshippers are always on the front line in battle, be prepared for a rocky road but remember, we've already won the war!! IT IS FINISHED!!


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