Sunday, 5 July 2009

I have issues - FACT!!!

Its been a while. Its been really busy. One of the things that has kept me busy is the developments with regards the worship team at the church. After months of study, prayer and lots of conversations with different members of the church we finally had a chance to get everyone together and lay out our thoughts on where we believed God was leading us. Here's the vision we shared. This provoked plenty of questions, concerns and lots of discussions. Please let me know your thoughts. I'll let you know what happened next in a post later.


For years we have been saying how much of a blessing it is that we have so many musicians and singers at the church. As we began to assess how we can develop and deepen the worship life of the fellowship, we realised that having so many people involved and almost a different band each week has unfortunately created an environment of inconsistency. The music ministry of this fellowship merits a more professional mindset.
It is for this reason we have decided to reduce the number of those involved (this has been trialled on a smaller scale with the cafe church band and has proved very successful)

For this to work it requires a few of things from the individuals involved:

Firstly is calling - a passion for leading worship - lets make this clear, it is not a passion for singing or playing an instrument, it is not even a passion for worship. It is a passion for leading God's people in worship. Just as some people are called to enter into a certain ministry it is equally so for the worship team. There needs to be a calling - a deep assurance that this is where the Lord is asking you to give your skills and your time. It would be very wrong of us to assume that just because we enjoy doing something we are therefore called to do that.

This leads us to the second point which is commitment. Without the calling, commitment becomes really difficult. Firstly we need a commitment to the fellowship, which is why we must insist that you are a member of the church here. If you are unsure if you are a member or even what it means to be a member Paul is willing to chat with you about that. In addition to that we need a commitment to pray together, a commitment to practise together, a commitment to practise and pray on our own, to learn new songs / relearn old songs, a commitment to work as a single unit - musicians, tech people and preacher as one. Be under no illusions, it will make real demands your time. There will be a requirement to attend a mid week practise where we will pray together, work on arrangements, both musical and vocal, and then practise. Bob Kauflin in his book 'Worship Matters' states that we don't practise until we get something right; we need to practise until we can't get it wrong.

This leads us nicely on to the final part which is competence. In order for the band to successfully lead the church in worship we need to establish an environment that enables the band themselves to worship. If there are singers and musicians involved who do not have a certain level of skill it can create tension and distraction within the team which ultimately takes the focus away from God. We can't be worshiping if we are worrying about if so or so is going to be singing in tune or if so or so playing in a different key or completely out time. During worship is not the place to be learning an instrument (developing and deepening existing skills yes - but not learning).

We are aware that it is important that the younger musicians continue to be encouraged and develop their skills. It is for that reason we intend we maintain a youth band and to provide appropriate opportunities for them to use their musical gifts.

It is a real blessing that we have so many musically gifted people but that doesn't mean that everyone who can sing or play an instrument should automatically be involved in the music ministry of the church.
I want to encourage you to pray and study - seek God's guidance. We can't stress enough the responsibility there is in being a part of this ministry. God demands that we give him our best. Ask yourselves the questions "Is this where God is calling me?", "Do I have the required skills?" and "Can I fully commit to this?"