I'm super curious, who leads your worship team? What are the leadership structures out there in Christendom? Does the person leading the music on stage lead the the team off stage too? Who's in charge of interpersonal or character issues on your team?
Who leads the discussion when you sit down at Starbucks with a group? There is no official leader, but most assuredly leaders emerge. People assume various leadership roles. Some are guiders - they try to make the discussion have some sense or purpose. Others choose the topic (themselves, or their various troubles). But hoever the talk progresses, it's those who take initiative that lead.
Leadership structures and titles mean very little. A leader, by definition, is someone who has people following them, who puts out an idea and others actually take it seriously. In a well-functioning team, everyone is in charge of interpersonal and character issues. They are all "bearing each other's burdens."
Practical side: I grew up in liturgical churches where there was no singer up front - the organist led with the power and persuasion of the instrument alone. I became the "music minister" of an evangelical church. Suddenly I had this person singing and waving their arms. Was I supposed to accompany them or lead them? I found that some WANTED to be led, others wanted me to just support their musicianship.
Practically drove me crazy when I joined a theatre group. The singers, inexperienced and unsure amateurs, always enjoyed my "right-there" rhythmic leading. Even the soloists appreciated me outlining the melody if they were unsure. Then we got a second keyboard. The lady was trained to "always follow", and bitterly complained that I was "pushing" (while she was always waiting for the singers to sing, while THEY were desperately waiting to hear their note!). You see the chaos you get! Eventually we got it figured out. But every group has to get it figured out for themselves -- who's leading?
Here are the pieces of the puzzle:
Senior Pastor | Worship Pastor/Leader | Leader-of-the-Song | Drummer or strongest rhythmic Instrument | everyone else.
The instruments "follow", yet they are needed for a framework on which to sing. So they only "sort of" follow.
The Worship Pastor generally delegates responsibility to whoever is Leading the Song. That person must have a good measure of authority - can't be looking over his shoulder at the Worship Pastor, but should instead have the freedom to create the atmosphere, say when the push and pull happens, and all the other things to control that makes beautiful music beautiful and compelling. If the Worship Pastor wants input for the one he has chosen to lead the song, he had better put in input BEFORE the rehearsal, because it will not do to be arguing before the rest of the group. The drummer will be doing enough of that as it is; that's where a worship pastor earns his gold stars -- not by deciding "this is how it goes", but by helping the drummer and leader see each other as brothers -- THAT's where the real music happens. Once you are in one accord, it doesn't matter too much who's got a title or a designation or an official responsibility. You have the kingdom of heaven, which is rightness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
When I first started our worship band, I knew that I was not the "enthusiastic songleader" type person who would encourage people to sing along, so we managed to recruit the guy who runs youth summer camps for our area/denomination. So I was the leader in terms of most stuff - the chief organizer - but we had somebody else actually lead the singing. After a while, when he had to drop out of that role, I felt like I'd seen enough of what he did that I could take over being the song leader, though I still wasn't Mr. Enthusiasm or anything.
With the band we have now, I know that the leader (the guy who actually gets paid to be there) does lead the singing, but he has passed on most of the administrative stuff (prepping chord charts, choosing weekly set lists) to the keyboard player. He will occasionally bring in a new song he wants added to the band's repertoire.
So it's the worship band for your church or do you play for other events outside your church? It's cool that you were willing to try something outside your comfort zone. I feel like God is always pushing me past what what feels comfortable.
When I was leading, our band did a couple outside events (discussed in another thread somewhere), but not much. I don't think the current group does any outside playing.
As far as "comfort zone," I am probably more afraid than most of getting beyond mine, and I also find that the "experiential education" approach (where you do something you're afraid of in a "safe" environment and then after that you're comfortable doing it anywhere) does NOT work with me. The thing that worked for me is that I had to watch somebody else doing the job, and then eventually I started thinking of all the things I'd do differently if that was me up there, so when the other guy left, I jumped right in :-) But as far as getting outside my comfort zone on my own, I am NOT a person who does that... when "tossed in the deep end of the pool to learn how to swim," I tend to (a) drown, and (b) after that, refuse to go anywhere near another swimming pool the rest of my life.
Oh! ...and I almost forgot to tell you, students, there's homework with this street evangelism class. Just give me a report on three significant meetings with non-Christians this week! It's eqasy, just walk rioght up to them...
How big is your church? Ours is pretty small, about 45 adults. I'm inspired by the way you wait on a song until you're able to worship with it. I think I'll adopt that for our team. I'm a little ADD and tend to rush through things. You just helped me grow up a little. Thank you.
I'd say the only danger with that approach is that the worship group are likely to get bored with the song long before the congregation. The group will feel they have done it loads, when the congregation are just geting into the swing of it. So there is a danger that you will become stale in your leading of the song.
I think sometimes you just have to use your judgement and think, this song will work, let's go for it.
Sounds wonderful! I really didn't mean to sound critical at all - I only meant to hint that what works in one place and with one set of people might not work everywhere. And you are right about the Spirit's leading.