Friday, November 9, 2007
Terminate the Worship Team!
We recently did away with our worship team...here'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 God...it'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!