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Requirements of a worship team member
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Can someone point me to a list of minimum requirements for members of a dedicated worship team? I'm struggling with trying to get over the importance of being committed to the task in hand i.e. leading the congregation to the Throne of God in worship. Is there a list I could download or can someone give me their thoughts on the subject including such things as; How often should we practice..once or twice a week or monthly?? How long should practices be.. 1 hour 2 hours or more? How early should we be there before the service starts? Percentage of time spent in prayer at practices and before services? etc. etc. Thanks Vaughan

Vaughan Bougourd

Hi Vaughan I'd try not to be too prescriptive, but have a few core guidelines for worship team members and be very strong in those. The ones we've generally had in my church and previously were: 1. They have to be financially committed to the church. ie. they give money regularly. 2. They already serve in another team or ministry. eg. welcome, kids work etc. or have a serving attitude. 3. They regularly attend church itself. 4. They are accountable to people in church. ie. they are a regular home group attender, or regularly meet up with A N Other trusted person within the church whom they are accountable to. The reasons for the above are fairly self-explanatory... ie. that you want someone who has displayed commitment to the church in various ways before you put them on a worship team which is - by its very nature - much more visible than other ministries. If they're not willing to be humble enough to move chairs or serve tea & coffee, they shouldn't be doing worship. You don't want someone to be doing it for the wrong reasons. How you validate things like their financial giving is up to you - we generally operate standing order payments for committed church members so it's easy to see that they're giving. For students and folks who have limited income, we'd still say they have to be giving, but just something sacrificial commensurate with their income. The heart behind it is what matters rather than the amount. When in doubt, go on character EVERY TIME. This means you might have to pass up some fantastic musicians, but it's probably healthier in the long run. This is especially true for promoting new worship leaders... For the practicalities such as practices and prayer time, that's up to you guys and it'll depend on the team you have. If you've got a team of experienced musicians and / or they know the songs well, then the pressure to practise between services is less. If you have working folks who go to work early and get home late, the time they can give is more limited. If you focus in practises, you can get things done a lot faster, but that might make it less fun for some of the guys with you... so what are they like as people? Just be aware of peoples' nature and their other commitments. I'd probably shy away from thinking about percentage of time spent in prayer at practises, as that's prescriptive and starts to feel pharisaical. As a worship team praying before a church service starts, we generally don't pray for more than 5 mins. Pray and then stop praying when you've prayed what you need to (something along the lines or "Father please be with us today and help us to glorify you" usually covers it mostly!) and folks feel ready to move. How early you should be there beforehand depends on how big your band is, and how complex it is to set up and soundcheck. Is the PA permanently installed in a church building, or do you have to set up and set down each week? How much music kit do you have to set up? Give yourself enough time to set up & soundcheck. The amount of time you need to practise before the service depends on whether the band already know the songs and have practised in the week etc. HTH... Joe "One, two, three, here we go..."
Joe "One, two, three, here we go..." ... follow me on Twitter @JJBHargreaves
I'll admit that years back, I used to give our worship team members quite a lengthly list of guidelines that covered areas like preparation, practical administration, when to meet at the hall, how to lead worship and what is expected of people. After a recent sabbatical I'm now leading our team again and approaching things entirely differently. I would rather the myriad practical arrangements be taught and caught in team gatherings and by mentoring individuals one on one. All the necessary guidelines like how many new songs to introduce in one week, when the musicians should receive a song list and what time to set up are still valid, but I'd rather not issue a document of rules and say "stick to that". Better to emphasise pastoring and teaching people in how best to approach things and what practical ideas might help them. It's more relational and, I hope, more personable. Instead we're shortly going to introduce a simple set of eight bullet-pointed thoughts which we'll ask our worship team to commit to. It's based on the excellent TEAM acronym that Al wrote about in his blog recently. I've adapted it slightly for our church and have (kind of) made it fit the word WORSHIP. Cheesy but memorable, I hope. W - Wholehearted worshipper of Jesus O - On time and committed to the team R - Receive teaching and input into your gifting S - Strive for excellence in your music H - Humbly walk in humility I - Invite dependency on jesus P - Plugged in to the life of the church ...and the eighth one is: Enjoy yourself! I think they're pretty self explanatory. I'd be happy to share thoughts on some of the other practical things you asked about, Vaughan, but I didn't want to write a mega post and others might want to share too! Matt
www.thepointchurch.co.uk
Hi, I think I'm going to find this thread very interesting! In answer to your questions for a 7.30pm service we meet at 5.30pm to set up and sound check, rehearse from 6-7pm, pray from 7-7.25pm. However, we are working on having a 'bank' of songs that we are asking all team members to learn/get to grips with - there's a thread on this somewhere. We ask for good time keeping, a prayerful heart, and commitment - we publish the schedule for the term in advance so that they know when they're playing. I may add more as the post develops! Vics
Just continuing to add thoughts to this. Clearly team leaders need to make decisions on the structure and organisation of their team based on people and their giftings rather than 'rules' per se. But I have increasingly found that our musicians and singers grow far more when we worship and pray together rather than just practice musically. I think a deeper understanding and experience of worship is more beneficial than learning specific arrangements or cool chords for the bridge. I'm not saying we don't have those band practices or that playing songs together isn't important. But my experience is that developing a team who have a heart for ushering in the presence of God each week seems more readily achieveable when worship, prayer and teaching form the main priority for the team. Matt
www.thepointchurch.co.uk
Hey Vics Some really good thoughts down there - posting the songs early and asking people to commit to excellence in worship is a good thing. I may be preaching to the converted here (or have just missed your point!), but in terms of minimum requirements for being part of a worship team, i'd really encourage you to emphasise the commitment parts of your requirement to guys you involve, and don't include them UNTIL they are committed (however you choose to specify that commitment). It's far harder to take people off the worship team than it is to bring them on... Matt Just to touch on the latter points of your last post, how do you do that in practice? I agree with the sentiment, but the flip side of it is that those sorts of characteristics take time to generate, and time which some people don't always have. There are guys in the worship teams I've known who have had worshipful hearts and been immensely anointed to lead people in worship to Gods' presence and His glory, but they're not majority focused on worship in the way you describe... or have I read you wrong there? Equally i've known guys with a great understanding of worship and consideration of its many facets who had a voice like a tin whistle and musical ability to match. True worshippers? Yes. Worship team material? Hmm... I'm probably just reiterating what you're saying somewhere that I think a certain level of technical ability is required also. Would be interested in how you put your ideas into practise... cheers mate. Joe "One, two, three, here we go..."
Joe "One, two, three, here we go..." ... follow me on Twitter @JJBHargreaves
I echo that about growing together. We make a point of socialising too - so much so that 3 of us have started gigging together in local pubs on weekends. It's increasing our friendship massively (bonding over beer is always a good thing!), and we're growing musically too. The problem we have is that we are a tiny church - average congregation about 30, so musicians are very hard to come by. We have 4 or 5 who are involved in contemporary worship so commitmet to us is vital. We've got a couple of 'organists' who play for the traditional services.
Hi Joe, I'm not clear what you mean. What it is you're asking when you say "how do you put that into practice?" Do you mean teaching on worship? Also, you say: "There are guys in the worship teams I've known who have had worshipful hearts and been immensely anointed to lead people in worship to Gods' presence and His glory, but they're not majority focused on worship in the way you describe..." Well it sounds like they're pretty focussed on worship to me! What I WASN'T saying was that there should be musicians and worship leaders in a team who are there because of their 'worshipping heart' at the expense of any musical ability whatsoever. Of course we need gifted musicians and singers. I was merely saying that for us, the development of the team and the way in which we increase gifting and a spiritual hunger to lead people is better served by worshipping, praying and receiving teaching MORE than it is by technical musical practices. We have both, of course, but the emphasis is on the former. Does that make sense? Also, what did you mean about characteristics that take time to generate, and time being something people don't always have? Apologies if we're talking at cross purposes! Matt
www.thepointchurch.co.uk
Hi Matt Just talking cross-purposes I think. I understand your answer better now... I think i'd initially read it (a little too fast) to mean that having a deeper understanding of worship and a worshipper's heart was more beneficial than technical ability, hence my answer was saying that we'd had some guys do worship who weren't necessarily worship theology genuises but had a fairly simple understanding of things and for those guys, that was all they needed. The technical ability was there in order to do the rest. I suppose what I was saying was that the heart behind it was more important than the understanding - whilst I recognise that teaching can be beneficial there too. In terms of time being something people don't always have, it's just a very pragmatic consideration. I have a busy day job & can end up working anywhere within a 100 mile radius of home. By the time you've done your 9-5.30pm, plus 2 hours drive each way, it doesn't leave a lot of spare time in the evenings. Weekends tend to get crowded catching up on sleep or the things you've put off during the week. We don't have kids yet, so I can't imagine how much more time that will take up! Add in personal evangelism, home group, time set aside for personal devotions, prepping studies or songwriting, and it doesn't leave you much space! I guess it's a long-winded way of saying watch out that you don't load up your worship team members too heavily... i'm a great believer in the fact that they should be serving elsewhere in the church so that their identity isn't bound up in being a worship musician or leader, and you've just got to allow space for it all if that makes sense... Joe "One, two, three, here we go..."
Joe "One, two, three, here we go..." ... follow me on Twitter @JJBHargreaves
Thanks for all your thoughts guys I appreciate the problems you all must have with travel distances. Obviously this doesn't apply here in Guernsey with our church being only about 20 minutes from the furthest point away. Surely it can't be too unreasonable for me to expect members to be on time, practice for more than 30 mins before the service starts and practice more than 1 hour a month on a week night? Or am I demanding too much Vaughan

Vaughan Bougourd

The point I was making about travel was just to illustrate that some people have busy jobs or other demands on their time. That being said, I'd say all of your requirements seem on the generous side of reasonable... the only issue may be in finding a weeknight everyone can make. If people are late, start telling them the soundcheck/practise starts 15 mins before it does. If they get there "on time" and moan, you can encourage them to be on time! One thing you might find helpful to do, and what Vineyards often do as a church is say, "arrive at 7.15 for a 7.30pm start" so people have a chance to mill around and chat before meetings. The same principle is often useful for practises and means that people arriving a little late don't eat into your practice time. Joe "One, two, three, here we go..."
Joe "One, two, three, here we go..." ... follow me on Twitter @JJBHargreaves