I sit in somewhat of an unusual position when it comes to the pastor and the music dept. I am a pastor, but throughout my ministry I have also been very involved in the music ministry. This doesn’t make me an expert but it does give me a little different perspective. I count it an honor to be able to operate in both of these dimensions. I sometimes wonder if we full understand the importance of music in the church? Are you a singer, a musician, the music-director or the worship-leader? What is your role in the service? Have you really given thought to your place in the worship experience?
Having been around the music scene for much of my life, I have witnessed a deep strain of carnality among many singers and musicians in the church. Yes, there are carnal people in the church who are not music people but the difference is leadership. The moment you step on a stage as part of the worship team you are assuming a leadership role of assisting God’s people into His presence. How can this be done when we are filled with carnality? You are more important to the moving of the spirit than you may realize.
Do not get caught in the struggle to keep up with the music scene. As a worship leader, your job is to get people involved not show the latest trendy song from the record company. Much of what is labeled as worship music, is nothing more than marketing strategies by the music industry that will never produce what “participation” will produce. I visited a large denominal church that was know a leading center in the worship culture. The band was great, the singers were more than adequate and the lighting was spectacular but I observed that no one was singing in the congregation. It was little more than a concert where people were observing a performance without personal participation. It doesn’t matter if it an old song or the latest, if people are not participating they are not worshipping.
What worked at the music conference may not work at your church. Do not let this discourage you. Every church has its own culture. Work from that angle. Do not try to force music that doesn’t work. Look around, are the people singing? Do they get what you are trying to give them? Are you trying to get an older church to sing the lastest trendy song off the radio playlist? Observe where and how your congregation connects in worship and then milk it. If it works, leave it alone.
Do you know where the pastor is headed in a service? Have you approached him to ask how you can assist him in leading the congregation to where the spirit is leading him? This can be a one-minute conversation prior to practice or just before service begins. I have experienced deep messages damaged by altar songs that were not appropriate.
Finally it can not be stressed enough that you must spend personal time preparing yourself to lead people into the presence of God. It is hard to lead people where you have never been.