Friday, November 9, 2007

Terminate the Worship Team!

We recently did away with our worship's why:

1) At NHC, we do ministry (serving other believers) and mission (serving the world) in teams. We don't have "committees" (that's actually a cuss word at our church). And, as I've mentioned before, we believe that every person in our church can worship God when they serve in ministry and/or mission. In fact, I believe that every single one of our teams can be labeled as a "worship team". To say that the one team who leads in musical worship is the "Worship Team" is to imply that either they are the only team that worships or they are more of a worshipping team than any of our other teams...that's just not true. Our "Worship Team" simply helps to lead others in musical (and some other forms of) worship...the same way our "Hospitality Team" helps to lead our church in being hospitable to our guests. But, it was hard for people to understand that when we defined them as the "Worship Team".

2) Having a "Worship Team" implies that, when that group of people step up onto the stage and begin doing their thing, that's when we're really worshipping God. Again, as I've explained before, we believe that every aspect of our worship gatherings and of our lives can and should be an act of worship to God. The "Worship Team" is not the cue for people to start worshipping's the cue for people to sing and dance and whatever else you can do together during musical worship. "Worship Team"s help to reinforce the misconception that worship = music and singing...and, again, that's just not true. Music and singing is only a part of worship. We don't want to give people any reason to think that the "Worship Team" is the only team that can lead worship.

About a year ago, I began to really think through this whole "worship team" thing when Chris, our drummer appoached me after my Discovering Worship CLASS and asked me why, if some of the things I was teaching were true, did we have a "Worship Team"? (he asked in a very sincere.non-aggressive way, BTW) Shortly after, we made the announcement to the entire church that we were changing our name/title from "Worship Team" to "the MilePost13 Band" Here's why:

1) "the MilePost13 Band" gave us a real sense of identity. It gave a feeling that we were not just a group of musicians and vocalists and techs who got together a few times a week to lead worship, but that we were a strong, close-knit team who loved and cared and shared with one another much in the same way you hear about a professional band existing. It gave us a sense of pride and real ownership in what we were doing. It made us feel like we were professionals (IMO, any musican/vocalist/tech who puts in the hours that we do is a professional) and that we should always strive to give our best and to do things with the highest quality. (BTW, I highly encourage any ministry team to give themselves a name for the same reasons)

2) The name change also helped us to reinforce the idea that we were the band that led in musical worship, not the ministry team that led all worship. It helps us not to become egotistical with what we do, and it helps our other ministry teams to keep in mind that they are worshipping as well in their unique ministries.

So, what do you think? Have you ever considered what your "Worship Team" is really all about? Have you ever thought that you may be sending mixed signals by teaching that worship is a lifestyle but having a "Worship Team" that leads the worship at your church?


If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to read the other posts in the Rethinking "Worship" series:

Gag The Worship Leader!

Fire the Worship Leader!

Death to the Worship Service!

Burn the Sanctuary!


higgie07 said...

I only saw the last 4 minutes of the Redskins/Eagles today, and it was so pathetic. No wonder they lost--they were leading until those last 4 minutes and then they just kind of gave up. They pretty much let Westbrook walk into the end zone on the last touchdown. Argh.

(Sorry for the off-topic comment).

MilePost13 said...


Anonymous said...

You bring up some really good points here. I wonder how many (like your drummer did) ever get to that level where they stop and compare the things that they believe and teach versus the things they are doing. Do your actions back up your beliefs? I am willing to bet that most worship team members never really give this a thought. Why should they? We are the worship team! What more need be said?

I am curious to know if you received any comments from the congregation before you eliminated the worship team concept? Had anyone actually said anything to you about how the concept did not fit with the teachings?

Our worship team (still un named) has been leading a Sunday School class on the book "Worship-A Way of Life." The book raises a lot of questions regarding how music and worship work and fit together. As we have been discussing this, I could not help but think of the old joke punchline..."what came first, worship or the worship team?"

And where does the congregation come down in all of this? Are we leading them incorrectly when we assume the worship team position? Do we need to be sending a different message; a message that is congruent with the teaching? If so, blowing up the worship team concept may be the appropriate place to begin to practice what we preach.

Lori Biddle said...

This is so interesting! I'm glad I found your discussion. I am the Director over our "worship" areas both tech and music. I will think on this! thanks so much!

Lori Biddle

Vicki said...

We have a rehearsal tonight. I might broach the subject. Our church needs a better understanding of what worship is because they do everything we tell them to do and nothing else. We need to get away from the whole idea that the only worship leaders are up front and the ultimate worship leader is the Holy Spirit. How we talk and label may or may not make a difference but it is something to think about.

Vicki said...

oops--should have edited better. I mean we need to get away from the idea of us being the worship leaders and teaching them that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate worship leader. Wouldn't want to negate or get away from the Holy Spirit.

CFHusband said...


that's great that you're thinking through these things! Let me know if I can help or if you want to discuss these ideas further!

Rahul said...

Very interesting. I play on the worship band and got to bring two non-Christian friends to church by asking them if they wanted to "see me play in a live band." I think worship bands are great!