I'm sure someone may have addressed this before, but since I'm new maybe you won't mind helping again. I have been attending and working in the sound booth at my church for about 9 years. Our pastor just recently retired and when he did that we also lost our worship leader, who happened to be his good friend. The church board wants to take its time finding a new pastor, so they hired a retired minister, who has been attending our church, to serve as the interim pastor for the next 6-9 months and help the search committee wade through the tons of resumes that started rolling in as soon as our pastor announced he was leaving. The interim pastor and I know each other and have worked together at other churches, so he asked me if I would be willing to "come out of the booth" to lead our worship team until they hire another pastor. Since our previous worship leader had managed to alienate almost everyone who had any kind of talent, when it was announced that I would be temporarily leading the worship team, I had many people contact me about joining. I originally thought this was great, we are a small-medium church and I had 6 singers, 2 guitar players, 1 bass player and a drummer all ready to go. I have two problems. 1st half my team doesn't want to sing contemporary songs, probably because the former worship leader didn't sing that many "traditional" songs. I've tried to appease everyone by including a mixture of traditional and contemporary. Hopefull this will work. 2nd, and here is my big problem, I was approached by someone wanting to join the worship team, she made a point to tell me that she used to be the worship leader in this church before our former pastor arrived. She brought a 5 inch binder to the first worship practice. I guess she expected me to jump for joy and choose only songs from her binder, she became really offended when I told her that I also had a binder that looks just like hers at my house. She makes remarks about the songs I choose and the tempos I choose to play those songs at, and when I try to introduce anything new (If you can call Paul Baloche's Offering "new") I am met with a stone wall of resistance. I've lead worship teams before and I'm a professional singer, so I'm certainly not out of my league, but I've never had someone openly challenge my authority. My husband, who is also the lead sound tech, is ready to strangle her because of some of her remarks to him. I'm not sure if I should just smile and keep going, confront her about her behavior, or get someone on the pastoral staff involved. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you have.

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Gosh that is a tough situation.  I think strife is always a huge problem in a ministry because it disrupts unity,

and unity is something important to the well-being of the Body.  It sounds like your church is under attack.

I don't have any answers but I believe if you can weather the storm your church will come out stronger.

Maybe this is a time of trial for the worship team and pastor search etc.    I guess the only suggestion I

can offer is remember to be a God pleaser, not a people pleaser.   Sometimes difficult people can not be

pleased and you just have to stand firm.   Good luck and keep posting here, there are some wise and

experienced folks on this site!


Thank you for your reply AND the reminder about whom I should be pleasing. I agree, it seems that my church is going some attacks, some of them are internal and it breaks my heart so see His people treating each other this way. I will keep checking back and gleaning wisdom.


Hi Stephanie,
As always it is difficult to read between the lines on a post. A few things stand out for me, 1) the worship leader left after the pastor retired? Did they both retire or did the worship leader step down because the pastor was retiring? It seems a bit strange that the worship leader wouldn't carry on (unless they both felt it was time to retire). The reason I wonder is the thoughts behind the retirement choice? If there is some related reason why they would both choose to call it a day?

2) the worship leader was 'alienating' people and the person who wants to return to leading now the pastor and worship leader has gone. Sounds to me like something happened when the now retired pastor arrived and people haven't got over it yet! Now that the pastor and worship leader are gone the people are ready to step back in to the roles they used to do and perhaps see you as an obstruction to that.

Be very careful not to entertain people who want to return back to their roles they used to have (that they have been waiting to step back in as soon as those in the way are gone). People in these situations often see events happening as a sign from God that they are meant to be back in that role. What they need to be clear on is that you have been asked to step in for an interim period and their return to the team or leading is not a God given right! It is possible that God wants to deal with their pride, something which perhaps they should've dealt with first time round but didn't, so he's giving them another opportunity.

I think you have a battle of unforgiveness and damaged pride on your hands! Definitely needs to be tackled before the cycle begins all over again. I would suggest discussing a bit of church history with someone from outside the worship team to understand the background on things.

Lots of assumptions here! Hope some of it helps. J

Hi Joe,

Thanks for your pretty accurate assessment. Our worship leader had actually been gone on a short sabatical about 2 months prior to our pastor making his announcement. While she was on sabatical, our pastor lead worship, then the pastor developed some health issues and decided to retire, so the worship leader and her husband just decided not to come back. It was just a weird, coincidence that they both left at the same time.

However, you are pretty perceptive regarding my other problem. As you and Diana have both suggested, I do believe I have a spiritual battle on my hands and I like your suggestion to talk to someone about the "history." I jokingly tell people that I don't recognize them from the front because of the work my husband and I do at the church. We are usually one of the first people to arrive and the last to leave. In the mean time we spend 95% of our time in the booth making sure that everything is functioning properly, so I wouldn't know if there was internal strife going on because I'm so far removed. I do agree with you that I cannot have her on the team if her attitude persists. I think I'm not the only one who has noticed because she wasn't at church today and the interim pastor asked me how she was "fitting in." I told the pastor my concerns, so at least someone in authority is aware.

Thanks for your suggestions, it is very helpful to have an outsider's opinion.


It sounds like a confrontation is going to be inevitable, and you're going to have to choose whether it's her timing or yours. It might be good to take the first steps in dealing with this, but also be wise and don't do it alone - make sure you have someone of maturity and good reputation with you who you can also trust for support and backup - otherwise it will be your word vs their word.

Worship really involves us emotionally, and it can be very difficult to overcome all the feelings, even for the most cool-headed individuals, when dealing with hurts and apparent rejection.

It is difficult to be sat in a leadership position, keeping plates spinning on sticks, waiting for someone else to come along and replace you. Be very careful that you don't become damaged or hurt by this period too, and also be aware that it can be very difficult to step back down, having once been in leadership, even though you may initially feel a huge relief at passing the whole thing to someone else.

1st point - never lose sight of your role and who you are serving.

Your role is to facilitate and uplift the congregation in praise and worship through song. Stay true to that above any pushy musician's rant and raving! 

Apologies for the rest of the email - your situation hits close to home for me and I prattle on a bit!

When I've had similar 'confrontations' (even with Pastors) - I'd question everything under that serving banner.  If its not about serving the congregation - does it have a place?

Disputes about songs, styles, frequency, lists, leading etc etc are common and should almost be expected.  Musicians are passionate, competitive and often arrogant.  She may also be coveting the role you now have and be resentful.

Pray & Pray & Pray. For yourself, your Church and her.  There may possibly be an underlying issue she is having that is manifesting with her attitude. 

If/when you confront her, be prepared to listen lots, but be clear about your accountability and responsibility to the congregation (eg it's not about you personally).

If she has her bag of music she desperately wants to be seen, maybe gather her and a few other people you can trust and each of you go through your folders together and try to find some common ground.  That way, if there are any disputes, they can be discussed as a team, once again removing the 'personal' perspective.

Think that's enough rambling for now!

Ooh - sorry forgot - a question!

Is she currently on a music team or roster or just pushing to do so? 

If she is already involved, maybe call a 'team meeting' and talk about everyone's role to serve the congregation and the plan for how to do it. Use Scripture as your foundation.   Give an opportunity for all to share (stopping any personal angst comments), giving all an opportunity to also respond.  If the team is generally 'happy', they will help bring a balance to many problems.

Sorry, more prattling on . . . .

Speaking about the teams division regarding using contemporary/traditional songs:  I had a situation where the Elders of the congregation had forced the music team to play at lease on hymn a week.  When I took over as Worship guy, I called everyone together (to chat about many things) but used this to set a standard of thought.

I told them I knew that the Elders had made that promise to the congregation and were forcing the adherence, but that no longer applied.  I got a few smiles from the younger team members who didn't like hymns. ' BUT' - I said, 'lets look at our congregation and their needs'.  I went on to talk about the age of some of our congregation and there was a need for a hymn each week to serve them.  They were the ones who graciously sat through 4-5 songs they didn't relate to, not the ones complaining.  So the 'Elder's order' was smashed, but the team started to understand that the song list belonged to the congregation, not the musicians.  The songs selected were about meeting the needs and serving, not the musical team's personal favourites.

Many still didn't enjoy playing hymns, but their perspective and willingness to do so changed

Holy thread-resurrection batman.

Ha ha!  Yep, totally forgot to look at the date.

Always therapeutic to have a good rant once in a while though


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