Hi everyone!

 

I've not visited for a while. I hope you are all well. This group seems to have been a bit quiet lately. My husband and I have been leading worship for the last few years but have stepped down from that for a while. We have loads of other stuff going on, so I probably won't miss it. At first, at least.

 

I've been encountering a lot of resistance to the term Worship Leader lately. Setting aside the obvious point that worship doesn't just occur during music (please let's not go back over that, it's something I KNOW!), is WL a term which is common in your area/tradition?

 

I'm asking this in the UK group because I want British responses. How is the term WL used in the UK now? Does everyone know what it means? Does everyone have the same understanding of what it means?

 

I'm starting a course run by the Baptist Union in Sept and from the look of the course materials, they obviously think that leading worship is the responsibility of what I'd call the Service Leader.

 

Thoughts?

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I don't think so; it hasn't been an issue that has come up in the time I've been here. I'm not too bothered about titles and I don't think anyone would kick up a fuss about me hanging around on a site for worship leaders.

 

Wulf

 'I'm not too bothered about titles'

 

I'm sure most of us aren't. I hope no one thinks that I am. I'm just trying to figure out whether the term is widespread in the UK and whether there is a common understanding of the term in UK churches. It sounds like not :-)

And not even within the same church's leadership team sometimes :-)

This is pretty similar to our set of duties.

Within our setup there is a role for musical 'leadership' or 'directorship' within the rehearsal and actual service as well - i.e. someone has to decide things like key signatures, intros/outros/segues, what the overall feel of the set or song is going to be, whether we will do repeats/verse/chorus etc, and then during the service itself how the items are introduced - if at all - and whether we pause for prayer/silence or perhaps drop a song if needs be. If this turns into a free for all then it can be pretty chaotic!

James

I wonder if the idea of 'worship leader' as a position is a bit of a red herring, since it's mostly about what we do and how we function. Wulf's concept of a 'dance' between the various people involved in leading the meeting is a good one, except that my preference is to see all the people in a meeting actively involved in the dance that guides the meeting, rather than just 2 or 3.

Do you mean like the bretheren / quaker approach where anyone might bring a song, a word or other contribution to the gathered congregation?

Wulf

You know the scripture which talks about everyone having a song or a scripture or a word of encouragement to bring - that's the kind of thing. I was inclined initially to say 'yes' to your question, but the traditional quaker approach of sitting in silence (is that still done) wasn't what I had in mind.

 

When the Holy Spirit started bringing renewal to the UK churches this time around (late 50s to late 70s - that has resulted in the present situation) the new 'house churches' etc would tend to have everyone participate in the meetings with truly informal worship, bands often comprising a couple of guitars, keyboard, flute, violin, mouth organ or whatever people played. Bands were often ad hoc and meetings were very much family affairs (both human and Godly). Occasionally things got a little out of order, but that was the exception and certainly not the rule.

 

The situation we now find is that many church forms have adopted the new songs and sounds, but have remained primarily front-lead, just updating their meeting appearance, but keeping everything safely ordered and controlled. The people themselves are usually complicit in this, finding it much safer and more comfy to be lead, rather than to seek for and then bring something themselves. In some churches participation is actively frowned upon. When was the last time (or even the first time) that your church went off and sang in the spirit for a few minutes as part of the natural flow of worship? How would someone suggest a song from the congregation?

 

I probably seem to keep banging on about this, but that's partly because I'm still working through what it really means. Maybe I should start a new thread (if I can find a way to ask the right question).

I wrestle with this too. To a certain extent I've justified to myself the more 'presentational' model by considering the home group rather than Sunday morning to be one of the key places where we really get serious about doing/being church (just like you describe in your second paragraph), at the same time recognising that we get a lot of visitors in our Sunday morning services... and that we are a mixed bag from different backgrounds and traditions on a Sunday.

But... I know the Holy Spirit is not chained, and worry that our structures may hinder his flowing, and hinder the work God wants to do in worshippers and visitors' lives.

I can't even begin to imagine the reaction from some quarters of our church if we went off at a spontaneous tangent in worship rather than sticking to the plan!!

I guess it's really going to depend a lot on the individual congregation. Some of ours would flip if we went right off plan, including the person doing the powerpoint, and those running Sunday school who would be wondering just how long they had to keep the kids penned in for!

I've also worshiped in other setups where there neither was nor is nor ever will be a plan!

I'm very much struggling with the 'neither fish nor fowl' worship side of things at the moment, but don't see a change coming in my present church until other changes have taken place.

 

One thing I am doing now though, is to take a step back, look at where I think things should be and then see if it's possible to start moving toward that situation. I have no freedom to make changes in this particular area, and I'm trying to be the best and most helpful I can in the hope that at some stage change will be possible.

 

People flipping doesn't bother me - to borrow a phrase "haters gonna hate" - but it's much better to take people with you if they'll move.

Hi Toni,

 

The term WL isn't a red herring for me, because this thread was prompted by my having read a dozen or so books about worship and worship leading and the one set book on the subject for the BU course has a totally different meaning for the term.

 

This is a Worship Leaders' forum, so I thought I'd ask here about what the term means to people.

 

What we do and how we function is also interesting to me because that explains to me how the role is interpreted.

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