Worship Leading Choose Your Own Ending (Part 2)

You chose ‘(F) Chuckle Openly.’

(And if you have no idea what is going on, this is the second part of a series started here, where you get to choose your own ending. Basically, I’m asking everyone to risk some Michael Jackson (is it too soon?) and take some trips back to their childhood to remember those ‘Choose Your Own Ending’ books. You know, the ones that were really popular 20 years ago right alongside the ‘When you hear the chimes, turn the page’ ones. So for our purposes here, when you hear the anti-solo, turn the page.)

So, as the worship leader turns bright red and continues to fumble through his words trying to recover into the next song after his accidental blasphemy, you just stand in the background, chuckling openly, and throwing in a few delay-laden volume swells over the finger-picking the worship leader is doing as he continues to pray. The worship leader has many times asked you not to play during the prayers as he ad-libs some finger-picking, but you know it’s for the greater good. His finger-picking is just terrible. It really needs to be rescued by your definitely-not-yet-cliche volume swells…and of course every few notes by your volume swell/note bend ‘whale call.’

Finally the worship leader finishes his prayer, and turns back to you, as you are supposed to start the next song. You sigh. How many times do you have to tell him that this song cannot be started with your Les Paul? The tonal nuances are such that it requires the Telecaster. This would be common knowledge to anyone who would actually listen to the original recording of the song, but hey…it’s the worship leader. He plays his Taylor on every single song, even though he has a perfectly good backup Martin sitting right there. Something about switching guitars during the set causing awkward silence? Come on. That’s just dramatic effect!

Nonetheless, he’s the worship leader, so you give him grace. You give the ‘I gotcha’ look as you take off your Les Paul and turn towards your Telecaster. Meanwhile, he’s giving you the death stare of ‘I thought this was why we decided beforehand for me to pray between these two songs, so that you could switch guitars.’ (I know prayer more than likely wasn’t originally intended to be a worship service transitional tool by which to switch guitars, capo’s, and sheet music undetected, but you know it’s true.) His stare however, is lost on you as you bend down to change the settings on your Lovepedal COT50 to be more Telecaster-friendly. You don’t use fuzz on this song, but just in case. Besides, you know that you couldn’t possibly have switched guitars during the prayer, because you were compelled by your own musical genius to play the afore-mentioned volume swells the worship leader asked you not to do. Quick as the buffered relay of a Line 6 amp modeler (which means not very fast……wow, I’m sorry, that was just mean-spirited), the worship leader turns around and tells the congregation to take a minute to just let the world fade away and quiet their hearts before their Creator (also a great tool for transitions), and you finish setting your pedals, grab your Telecaster, kick on your must-sound-like-Hillsong dual delays (a DD20 and an Analogman ARDX20…with tap tempo mod, of course) and oh-so-smoothly launch into the intro of the next song.

And you’re feeling it. The tone is oozing out of your Hayseed 30 with upgraded EF86 preamp option, and you watch as the sound waves just move the congregation into throngs of passionate worship. You can’t actually see the throngs of passionate worship because the expressions on their faces haven’t changed, nor have they stood up, lifted their hands, started clapping, or shed tears. But you know they’re being driven to worship. I mean, how could they not with a Hayseed 30 with upgraded EF86 preamp option? It’s just that the sheep are too scared and lazy to fully give themselves over to worship. That’s the only explanation.

The first passage is done…played flawlessly by your time-tested hands. (You don’t believe that tone is in the hands, but still…it’s nice to admit that it might be, after completing a passage as well as you just completed that one.) The drums start to tap in on the ride cymbal as you launch into the next passage. The bass subtly enters with a low, sustaining tone of harmonically anchoring loveliness. The keyboard fades in with a sweetly ringing, background synth pad…oh wait, he’s been playing that the whole time…hold on! There’s a keyboardist on stage? Who is that guy? (Sorry keyboardists…it’s the most unfortunate thing in the world, but sadly true.) Your concentration is just momentarily lifted as you marvel at the distant and wondrous sound coming from the stranger you’ve never noticed playing that odd-looking instrument with what seems to be something like ‘Korg’ or ‘Korj’ scrawled across it. But you don’t falter. No. Your Barber Liverpool hitting the front end of your amp sounds much to good for you to even dream about faltering. The music picks up (worship build time), the bass plays his second of the three notes he’s been given, and you start to take off into the introductory anti-solo……

And then it happens. You’ve hit a D. Now the congregation looks up. And with pained looks on their faces. Let it be known that D is a wonderful note. But the song is in the key of Ab. And it’s not Tommy Walker or Norma Jean. Your confidence begins to fade. What’s the next note? How am I going to recover from this? Why won’t that blasted D note stop ringing out? Curse my perfectly compressed sustain! You see the congregation starting to shake their heads. The sheep are restless. What can be done. Quickly you decide that worship needs a hero. And that hero is you. Only a guitarist as talented and toneful as you can save the church from the unholy dissonance that you unleashed on them! With the effortless tone, grace, and class of a 1960′s 12-string Rickenbacker, you…

A) Make a weird face and go over and check the tubes on your amp. (One of them has obviously gone harmonic.)

B) Continue playing the D…along with a bunch of other random notes, throw one hand up in the air, and pretend the sour notes are just the Spirit-filled result of being completely overcome by worship.

C) Take your unused capo out and chuck it at the worship leader to remind him never to play in capo 1 again.

D) Allow the D note to bring you to an E note, and then into the key of A, and keep playing as if it was a modulation the rest of the band missed.

E) Shake your head in disgust and glare at the other guitarist. And if he’s still in the middle of switching to his Telecaster too, and it would be quite obvious even to the drummer that he couldn’t have played the wrong note, then glare at the bassist. You could glare at the keyboardist, but everybody knows the keyboards aren’t in the mains. (Again, my apologies keyboardists…you know I love you, and if you come over to my church, I’ll make sure you drown everybody else out! But at other churches…well…I’m sure you’ve been there…)

F) Play off the D like it’s a diminished 5th jazz scale. Won’t help the worship mood any, but you’ll definitely get props with the rest of the musicians.

G) Turn to the other guitarist and laugh out loud, pointing to your guitar and making train wreck sounds and motions with your mouth and hands. (I used to play worship with a guy who would do this every time he would make a mistake. I tried to explain to him that these actions caused everyone to notice his one mistake, but they would never notice my ten mistakes, simply because I didn’t point them out with mimic’d train wreck sounds. But he was much too carefree and humble to care. I actually learned a lot from this guy.)

H) Fiddle with your massive pedalboard. (Seriously, everyone always believes this one.)

I) Just own it and rely on your superior knowledge of music theory to be able to explain away any mistakes afterwards in the green room.

J) Frantically turn off your 5 delay pedals trying to get the blasted tritone to stop ringing out any longer! Ah! Stupid delay pedals with spillover capabilities!

K) Just make D a part of the scale now, and come back and hit it at least 9 more times during the course of the song, until you’ve successfully pounded it into people’s heads so many times that they can’t help but just recognize it as part of the song. (I’ve tried this one. It never seems to work like you think it will.)

L) Smile, shake your head, and thank God profusely that even though He chooses to use us, and even though we should probably do our best to stay away from playing a D while in the key of Ab, He’ll probably still find a way to get glory in spite of us. I know it’s hard to imagine…I mean, we’re the ‘worship leaders’…’the battle cryers of the church’ ( ;) )…pretty important people with amazing tone. (Okay, at least self-important people with expensive gear.) But I think just maybe He’s got it covered.

So, choose your own ending. And of course, you can’t choose ‘L’!

And I know it sounds trite, but we do realize that the God who could do a much better job bringing glory to Himself by Himself, chooses to use us by letting us jam out music to Him every week, right? I know, I know that completely sounds like the cheeseball church thing to quote out of the latest ‘Worship is a Verb’ book; but it’s true, and I for one, forget it all too often.

Sorry for the Disney ending. Delay, tubes, Dumble, germanium, Arcade Fire, Mullard, decayed note artifacts, tone. Is that better? hehe :)

Splendid.
Karl.

79 thoughts on “Worship Leading Choose Your Own Ending (Part 2)

  1. I think that “H” is the only choice for those of us with pedalboards larger than life…..I mean, by fiddling with the pedalboard, you get lost in its hugeness, thereby forgetting the D note that you just played and all of the stares being cast at you….especially by the Korj player…….

  2. while holding the D-triad, face every musician while purposely/stubbornly showing them the chord and everybody should just follow along on this one … i’m sure that they can follow a I-IV-vi-V on this one, it’s a worship song, right? hehe

    seriously, I’ll probably go with “L” no matter how hard it is to do with the circumstance :)

  3. Must I quote the great Miles Davis, “There are NO wrong notes” and my personal favorite, “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s NOT there!” Then there’s “Do not fear mistakes, Because there are none!”

    I love Miles Davis. Artistic License at its best.

    With that said, I love the way you set up the story here Karl. You portrayed the typical ego-laden guitar player quite well. That guy would point fingers, throw his capo, etc. (In my opinion any decent electric guitar player doesn’t use a capo, ever. I’ll re-tune an alternate guitar if I have to…) I’ve been that guy on occasion and would go as far as saying that this attitude still rears his ugly Flat 5 Dim chord on occasion.

    Your point is well taken. We need to be humble. We need to listen. And most of all, we need to be sensitive to God’s work. And to me, sometimes that means that when I hit a wrong note or chord I smile to myself and understand that I am but a teeny weeny part in God’s huge plan. I am certainly not the star. That’s Christ’s job anyway.

    • “…any decent guitar player doesn’t use a capo?” Wow… tell that to several of the top NY/Nashville/L.A. session players on the first call lists of producers.

      When you see serious professional players using a capo, it’s not because of some deficiency in their skills. It’s almost always a matter of their role necessitating some open string voicings for the particular key of a song that can’t be acheived any other way.

      Thanks! :)

  4. (D) I like the modulation…assuming you play with skilled folks who can follow. The singers will never know…I do that to em’ all the time. Besides, who plays in Ab anyway?…besides Crowder? And easy on the Taylor folks, Karl. We thought they would magically transform us into Charlie and Chris in 98′ :)

  5. I vote for Digital Storm. If you have lemons, just make some lemonade! :) If I had a preset like that I would name it ‘This Will Not End Well’.
    I feel for the poor keyboardist. My friend was playing me this loop that his church was looking to buy and it was almost comical how much keyboards was on the loop. I might be insulted if I showed up for practice and 95% of what I could play on a song was already on the loop. That may explain why the best keyboard player I’ve played with in church is always texting during practice.

  6. dude, this post was funny enough to convert me from lurker to commenter.

    of course the correct answer is I+K. play the same line 3 more times walking down from D. Afterwards, condescendingly explain to the team about your “lydian motif”. Extra credit for using the phrase “reclaiming the tritone for Christ.”

    did you mean the Tech21 Liverpool? not boutique enough to matter? thought so. ;)

  7. c.

    and Guitartoma… never use a capo?! How about when you spend all week learning a difficult finger pick part a full step down from the original, then Sunday morning you find out that they changed the key back to the original after all and you need to play up one full step?

    Me, I love my capo. Never leave home without it. But I have three so I would have no problem throwing one at my worship leader’s head. Well I suppose I’d have a problem if I hit him, but as long as I missed then I would have no problem.

  8. Coming from a semi-musical background, it is deeply ingrained in my ever-so-talented soul that should a mistake ever occur (which most certainly would never be my fault, as I am always the victim when unintended sounds escape from my instrument), my cello training kicks in before my rational being has time to react. And of course in any orchestral situation, whenever your instrument plays a wrong note, the only proper reaction is to turn and give the stink eye to your stand partner. Then everyone looking to see who made the alleged error will see your ever-so-subtle blame shift, and follow along.

    Seriously though, I probably would just keep playing like it never happened. Then maybe own up to it later if anyone even noticed.

  9. Great post Karl.

    I guess I’d go with I . But G might be fun for rehearsals. I’ll try it this weekend and see how it goes over.

    Paul – “reclaiming the tritone for Christ”? Greatness!

    It is all for Him and we’re blessed to be able to play music for Him. I think He uses the mistakes to get our attention or He has a weird sense of humor or some combo of those two.

    • As a bass player that plays off the root, I hit the ocassional wrong note. I used to apologize for this.

      Then, one practice I played a particularly intricate counter melody to the guitar that I thought sounded amazing. When I asked the worship leader’s opinion, he smiled, chuckled, and told me he wasn’t listening…

      Since nobody really hears me anyway, E seems like the only logical choice. ;)

  10. Matt–lol ‘H’. Great choice for us insane people with boards bigger than our amps. haha

    Rhoy–haha Right on! You just wrote out the chords for about 723 worship songs. :)

    And a vote for L. Good times. :)

    Tom–’portrayed the typical ego-laden guitar player’? I was just talking about a typical Sunday for me. Oh wait. ;)

    It’s so funny that you mention Miles Davis…I just watched Collateral again last night, and there’s a whole scene about him there. So ya…I guess that’s option ‘M’: pull the Miles Davis trump card. hehe

    And I love what you said about the job being Christ’s to be the star. :)

    Jason–lol Good form!

    CC–lol So…you’re saying that even if I play a Taylor, I still might not sound like Chris Tomlin? Blast! hehe ;) Actually, I really, really like Taylors. My comments come from the experience of thinking only about the musical aspect of things as a guitarist. I could never understand why the worship leader would play one guitar for the whole set, when he had another one with a different tone that would fit better in a particular song. Whether that was a Taylor, Martin, Gretsch, or what have you. Then I led for the first time and went to switch guitars. Yikes, those 5 seconds seem like an hour! haha So, nothing against Taylors at all! Just an observation that sometimes things are different from the back of the stage. hehe

    Dan–haha I love the idea of a ‘This Will Not End Well’ patch. Awesome comment, bro! And good point on keyboardists and loops. One of the keyboardists I play with runs one of his keyboards through logic, live on his Mac. And during practice if he’s just holding a pad or something, he’ll be checking his facebook. haha

    Paul–well, it’s great to have you here, brother! I love the ‘reclaiming the tritone for Christ.’ Fantastic.

    Oh, and did I say the Barber Liverpool? Ya. Barber, Tech 21…neither makes a pedal over $400, so who cares? ;) hehe Actually, that was just me being an idiot and not knowing my pedals. hehe

    Keith–I must agree with you…the capo allows some much prettier voicings, especially when you’re forced to play in Bb or Db or something. It can also be useful in giving you useable open notes for certain keys, when you have a small band and need to fill more space…i.e. letting open notes ring out on one string as you play a lead on another.

    And to be honest, I find playing with a capo harder than playing without, because you have to think in one key for rhythm, and another for lead. Maybe I’m just not a good enough musician, but that trips my head out sometimes! hehe

    So I agree with you bro, I’m a capo fan as well. (But just a heads up, we may get beheaded for saying so. hehe)

    Joel–hehe Another great reason to have like, five electric guitars on the worship team. Then, like in an orchestra, there’s gotta be at least one of them with their instrument on that you can glare at! haha

    TimH–I and G. Nice! G is actually my favorite response as well. Love what you said about His sense of humour and His trying to get our attention! Props, my friend!

    Joel–haha Nice.

    Cory–lol Great point! I’ll realize this sometimes when I’ve just completely butchered a song, and then the worship leader says, ‘Wow. Sounded great, bro.’ Okay. So either he wasn’t listening to me, has no musical ear whatsoever, or they muted me in the system. All of these are unfortunate options. hehe Awesome comment, brother!

  11. this also converted me from lurker to poster…i always get a kick out of your observations, but this one had me laughing out loud. The easy answer is obviously H, because people always buy it….but sad to say i think i’ve done them all. i’m also not proud ot admit that we had a keyboard player who had a heavy black gospel background and could not clean up his voicings to save his mother. whenever anything went wrong he was the easy sacrificial lamb, lol. i’m going to repent now….

  12. Capo? Sharpen the ax.

    I started a song out in the wrong key once ( It was the worship leaders fault, he change keys on us three times during practice. See how easy it is to point the finger in a different direction.). Anywho…the backup singers were a nice shade of purple by the end of the song. My bandmates on the other hand didn’t even skip a beat. I love those guys.

  13. How many of us in this situation have either thought of or have done the following: Quickly look up and shoot daggers with your eyes to the sound board and the techs there, as if somehow thinking that everyone else will now think it was a sound tech issue and not your fault.

    • Just a friendly piece of advice from a former sound tech. Don’t piss off the boys in the booth, they can make you look very bad. Seriously, they control the suck button. When I train (those who can’t do, teach) tech people, I let them know that the job of the worship team is to be the epicenter of worship (not the object of, but the origin). The guys in the booth, despite all their talent and craft cannot instigate worship that sweeps through the whole place. But, they can (through all their talent and craft) destroy it. So, even though its fun to blame them, they have a very big responsibility. *steps off soapbox*

  14. “reclaiming the tritone for Christ” – rocks, I love tritones :)

    This is a great post Karl, one of your best.

    I often make a sour face (like I drank some straight lemon), and then me and the worship leader trade looks back and forth. Him giving me the look “What are you doing”, me returning with “Playing”, or “You picked the song”. hehehe

    But I have had to learn self control, and pass of mistakes like they don’t happen, and make myself stone cold, so nobody is the wiser. I have had a lot of people tell me that the can’t hear the mistakes, but they can tell because of watching me and the worship leader, and how we react on stage. Partly just because we are the most animated up there. So know I just talk to myself about the mistakes afterwards. ;)

    And we have a saying “If you make a mistake, play it twice and call it Jazz.”

    Capos, I used to hate them, but I have found them very useful. Try playing a song in Bb or F, using only barre chords. After the song is over you are suffering from hand cramps. Now try playing the song capo 1 and in E. ah much better, and like you said the open strings are very useful and help give a modern sound.

    • Uhm, I should probably clarify, noticing because of me and the worship leader. That is they can see it on our faces, we aren’t throwing capos or kicking each other or anything like that. :D

    • Our worship leader is known for picking off keys. We play in Bb, Ab, F, and Eb all the time. But its really because we tune the guitars down 1/2 step. They just play better that way, and the tone is a lot more alive. So far the biggest change to my tone (apart from a really nice guitar) has been tuning down.

  15. Jason–great to have you here! And ya, that’s the best…when you have someone in the band with a gospel/jazz background. Because then when you hit a wrong note, even before you can try to blame it on someone, they’ll just jump in, ‘It was probably me. I was playing a lot of notes.’ hehehe :)

    Mark–great point on the vocalists. As musicians, we can sometimes forget how much of a burden we’re putting on them. Changing keys is easy for us, as we have the solid references of a fretboard, keyboard, or air/finger holes. So someone says that we’re changing the key from G to A, we don’t use our ears at all…we just look at our instrument, so the new notes, and use basic hand/eye coordination. The poor vocalists though, are pulling the notes from the new key out of thin air. They have no reference, and have to use their ears for everything. The correlation isn’t quite correct, but it’d almost be the same as if we had to change the key from G to A by playing all the notes in G, but bending each one up to their corresponding note in A. Suddenly you have to use your ears a bit more than just knowing the note will be in tune, and that’s quite difficult, even for vocalists who know their theory backwards and forwards.

    Great point, Mark…because vocals are the most important part (especially in worship), and often times we just hang them out to dry! hehe :)

    Matt–lol Nice! I’ve seen that happen so many times. LIke, the drummer will get off beat or something, and people in the congregation will immediately look back at the sound guy. haha Almost as if the musicians on stage can do no wrong! And he’ll just smile, and put his hands in the air like, ‘I’m so sorry…but I am completely incapable of controlling the beat from back here. hehehe

    Joel–great advice! Never anger the guy who has the power to scoop out all your mids and reverb with one fell swoop should he choose to. haha :)

    Shane–’If you make a mistake, play it twice and call it jazz.’ I absolutely love it. :)

    And you’re right…a lot of times people will just pass right over the mistakes if we don’t draw attention to them. Especially the ones where we just flub the rhythm on some part, or play a wrong note but that’s still in the key. Great point!

    And I totally agree with you on capo’s. If it sounds better, use it! :)

    Joel–hmm, interesting point. You’re right, that can bring a whole new nuance of tones. And if those are the keys that consistently fit his voice, it’s a whole lot better than using weird capo positions constantly. :) Very cool.

  16. Mike Oliver–I agree with you on the capo. It can be used as a beautiful-sounding tool for fantastic voicings impossible to get otherwise. A entire new post is coming on these very soon! :)

    Rhoy–lol You took the words right out of my mouth…or typing. hehe There definitely needs to be a post just on capo’s…I didn’t know it was such a hot subject. hehe :)

  17. Wow – I had no idea my capo comment would stir up this much controversy! I was almost half joking, especially after my comment about the ego-laden guitarist followed by saying any decent guitarist never uses a capo!

    Honestly, the only time I use a capo on electric is an occasional partial capo. I almost never play full barre chords when playing electric anyway; usually just partial tensions. And when it comes down to it, I just don’t like what the capo does to the tone – even on an acoustic. (Come on the whole tone thing ought to get me some points!)

    Then again, I only play lead at my church – not rhythm.

  18. Lol Tom, I assumed you were kind of joking, but since I wasn’t completely sure, I didn’t address the capo issue in my response to you. How horrible would that have been, if I was like, ‘Ya! Nice capo joke!’ And then you were like, ‘Um…I’m serious.’ hehe

    And the tone thing scores you dozens of points…automatic. hehe But in all seriousness, I never liked what the capo did to the tone either. I finally picked up one of those variable tension G7 capo’s, and it doesn’t squash the tone or the intonation nearly as much. :) Plus, it’s like having a boutique capo…which is obviously the point here. ;) lol

    • The G7 is nice though a bit spendy. I love my shubb (http://www.shubb.com/capos.html) and it was less than $20. When I first needed one I went out and bought a Kyser but that knocked my electric way out of tune. I still use the Kyser on acoustic, but the shubb is brilliant for electric work.

      I pretty much use mine every Sunday. I am sure anyone with a female or high singing male lead vocalist understands.

      (I also have a cheapo planet waves, but it’s worse than the kyser and hard to use. It’s the ratcheting plastic thing, not the nice one. I keep it around in case another guitarist needs one. Then I don’t have to worry about making sure I get my capo back.)

  19. this is all to true amongst us all i’m sure (stories like this)

    I believe more and more that there shouldn’t be “worship ministry” teams but if a church wants a band like structure for worship then it should get a band “non-church owned” or multiple “bands” or harpists or other various methods.

    When a band is playing – they are tight with each other, they are honest & repsect each others boundaries and come up with cool stuff because they want their band to be cool. Now obviously in worship it isn’t about us being cool. But God has created us humans for a longing of coolness and perfection.

    Take United for example, some here may hate them, but you have to admit, they are a band that has defined themselves.
    Same with Delirious, oh and an even greater example because they play in their church (so do the other 2) – Robbie Seay band.

    Mistakes …. dead silence… not knowing what to say….

    Seriously, all of these situations are intensified on the average “worship team” platform. Most places i’ve been are like this.

    But then bands i see outside of this context are nothing like this.

    So why is that?

    Each church has built a mold, a guideline packet as to what they want in exact form and regulation for their worship service, thus rendering status quo and safe services.

    Why do you think as worship leaders and players its hard for us to sit through most worship services we visit or encounter? because we are already comparing formats and thinking how this is like it is and “i bet its like that because of this inadequacey or etc”

    I guess i over analyze church situations. and i’ve been reading too much Frank Viola

    • Oh it’s totally comparing. I do it all the time. I’m not the only guitar player that plays lead at my church, I rotate in once or twice a month. When I’m not playing, I find myself critiquing. I catch myself saying, “I wouldn’t have played it that way…”

      I’ve done it with guest bands too; Robbie Seay even. We play a lot of his material too – love it. I even found myself critiquing David Crowder when I saw him play. It’s a personal struggle for me every time I show up to church on Sunday morning.

      It’s funny – when I’m playing – I feel free and I worship while I’m playing. I’m not worried about all the little things at that point. It’s when I’m in the congregation that I have trouble.

  20. Very funny. Although I understand things from the viewpoint of the supporting or electric guitar player, I’d like to add a little from the perspective of one who leads worship. I set the key primarily to suit my voice and sometimes even a half-step makes a difference because some songs start off fairly low, jump higher in the pre-chorus and then to even higher notes in the chorus or bridge.

    So it follows that if the Key is Eb I might play it in D with Capo at first fret, etc. Capo at the 5th fret gets an interesting almost mandolin kind of sound on an acoustic.

    Changing guitars between songs — I can’t do that because of the awkward silence but a supporting guitarist might pull it off. Having said that, even capo changes can be awkard so I try to stack songs where the first few will be at the same capo setting, then swap during a prayer.

    I haven’t experienced the “odd note” so far, but I do need to drill my team on keeping the train going even if I hiccup, sneeze or whatever. They tend to stop singing as soon as I miss a word — too much pressure on the poor leader :-)

  21. This topic has been rather amusing (thanks Karl), because it does reveal the wide range of responses — both those that cross our minds as well as those for which we just can’t help ourselves but to ‘do the wrong thing’ — that occur each week in communities of believers around the globe! :)

    If there’s one sentiment that our worship ministry leadership team has worked hard to help all of our folks understand, it’s probably best summarized by the thoughts I’ve expressed in what I’d like to call…

    The Worship Band Member’s Prayer:

    “Lord, help me to remember that none of what transpires in this worship service is about me (my tone, my ability to play, my moment to shine, …). I am irrelevant. You are who people should see and experience.

    Let this be the sole motivating factor for everything I play, every FX pedal I use, my body language… I ask that you keep me from doing anything which causes people to disengage the communion of their hearts with You. If in my frailty, I falter despite by my best effort to prepare for supporting Your people in worshipping You, I pray that through my weakness, You’ll be seen as strong.

    Forgive me when I momentarily lose sight that this is all about and for You. I am nothing…”

    – Amen

  22. Omgosh, Karl! It seems i’ve soiled my self laughing so hard! all the other interns at 1st Baptist Nacogdoches are staring at me and dont understand . . .

  23. Rhoy–lol I used to believe that capo’s were the devil! hehe

    Jay–I totally see the validity in doing away with worship teams, and just using independent bands if your church wants to worship through music. Because the band is exclusive, and has total buy-in from every member, things will be tighter. And this is a good thing. :)

    However, I also recognize the validity in the home church worship team model, specifically because it is not exclusive. Yes, this model loses a lot of the musical tightness, but it also allows a closeness as the team and the church learns about worship together. There’s a bond there that even the best performer cannot match. But most importantly, it allows the worship ministry to also function as an outreach and teaching ministry. It includes so many people, gets new people involved, and allows people to use and grow their talents for God. It’s definitely a difficult model, as it strives to exist both for the servants and for the people being served.

    I think both are valid…it just depends on why you believe your specific ministry exists. :) Great discussion, my friend!

    Tom–totally. And that’s something that I believe isn’t wrong…if we are at the specific service in order to learn what to do and what not to do, in order to better serve when we’re the ones on stage. However, we also need to learn how to shut that part of our brains off when we’re at a service for the purpose of worshiping as a congregant. That’s the part I struggle with…especially if the guitarist has bad tone. ;) hehehe

    Randy–great stuff! Awesome point on reducing awkwardness by keeping songs in the same key. I do that as often as possible.

    And the switching guitars thing…the first time I ever led (as in, being the front man), I switched guitars in between two of the songs. And man. Those 5 seconds seemed to last for about an hour!! haha Needless to say, I don’t do that anymore unless the keyboard is starting the next song or something. :)

    Mike Oliver–very cool. I think the reason why it’s so difficult sometimes is that we don’t really have any other venues besides the current western church model where someone is on stage without being the central focus. So we know it’s for God, but sometimes it’s difficult to get the stares and applause out of our heads. hehe Still don’t know why God chooses to use us, but I’m glad He does–He’s taught me a ton from all my failures on that stage! :)

    Joel–haha Well, glad I could bring some humour into your day, my friend! hehe :) Cheers!

  24. I will definately agree that the Worship team structure is great for teaching and encouraging. I think what i was leaning more towards saying was that the church leadership has more of a sway as to what happens in the functionally and overall feel of the “service”. In some respects and examples, too much pull on their parts.
    This is what i was trying to get at when i said:
    “Each church has built a mold, a guideline packet as to what they want in exact form and regulation for their worship service, thus rendering status quo and safe services.”

    Again i defiantely still agree in the validity of the “worship team” to teach and encourage, if not you and i wouldn’t be around my friend.

    i wanted to say that i love this blog, its one of the best things i’ve found on the interwebs and i appreciate your time and dedication to it.
    j

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  26. I could see bringing in a pro to guide and direct the worship team for a few weeks. Same thing for the sound technicians. Other than that I would not want to see the church hire “pros” unless the local body of believers just could not provide people gifted enough to do a reasonable job. And that would be a small church who couldn’t afford a band — they’d probably sing along to purchased tracks.

    Perhaps in large churches if the bulk of the attendees are primarily spectators who don’t get all that involved a pro band could be appropriate, but the large church would have an even larger pool of gifted people to choose from so…..Plus, it’s not a concert.

    On keeping the capo in one spot for a few songs, Karl I do that to minimize delay between songs where possible, but not to maintain a single key. I may do song #1 capo 2 playing the Key of E with Key of D chords, followed by song #2 Capo 2 Key A played with G chords etc. For me it’s all about matching the key to vocal range — so the capo moves as little as possible but the keys vary quite a bit.

    • Not to rock the boat, but I have some clarifying disagreement to this. I think it’s a rough thing to have a band where some people are paid (pros) and some are volunteers. My last church did that. And I don’t mean paying the worship leader, and not the other folks. We had 2 campuses (campi?) and at one the leader, pianist, keyboardist and lead guitarist were paid. The singers, drummer, bassist and other guitarists were not. The issue I had is that we had people who were capable of doing the jobs the pros did, as a volunteer, and doing it just as well. So, the message that was sent to us was “we don’t trust you to do your job.” So, if your going to use pros, use them sparingly, or exclusively. I don’t think it works if you go halfway as a long term solution.

      BTW, at our other campus, only the leader and pianist (band leader) were paid, and the band was much tighter than the “pro” band. And, since we were all there for the same reason, worship was better.

      • I’m with Joel on this one… Is the goal a ‘hot, tight band’ or ‘authentic worshippers’? If it’s a ‘hot band’, then hire professional musicians. However, don’t be surprised at the skeptical observations from seekers and other visitors about the worship experience seeming contrived, with some of the band members seeming to be ‘detached’ from the experience.

        People are pretty sharp… They seem very capable of detecting whether even the body language of your worship team conveys their authenticity for the Person of whom they sing and play. Our team recently received information from our paster of assimulation (yeah, I’ve heard all the Star Trek ‘Borg’ jokes on this one — “Resistance is futile…” — LOL!) whereby a seeker sent back on a feedback card, “I just wanted to say that I closely watched your worship team last Sunday. Although I’m not sure what I think about this Christianity stuff, it’s clear to me that your band and your vocal team really believe in what they’re singing and playing about. I found that refreshing and encouraging as I contemplate what all this means to me…”

        That people ‘connect with God’ through worship is far more important to me than whether or not the band scheduled for that week has a glitch or two at some point in their leadership of that week’s services. Remember, our purpose for worship IS very different than our purpose for making music in other contexts. Our worship leadership team will take musicians with ‘simple skills and a sincere heart’ over ‘music genius but no spiritual substance’ any day of the week. That being said, ‘having chops’ and an authentic heart are not mutually exclusive conditions. We have a number of folks on our team who can flat out play AND for whom the authenticity of their faith is crystal clear when they’re supporting worship.

      • Sorry… The comment attributed to ‘Anonymous’ under Joel’s comment about ‘hired professional musicians’ or ‘local volunteers’ was mine. I forgot to fill in my name. Thanks — LOL! :)

  27. Karl,

    This is fantastic! You always nail the subtle nuances of the worship band experience…but with better gear. :) I hope you don’t mind but I copied and pasted this, along with a link to the site, to my Facebook profile to share with all of my worship band friends for their enjoyment. Keep it up man!

    Shawn

  28. Jay–gotcha. :) So are you suggesting that our services should be a bite more ‘unsafe’, or that church leadership shouldn’t adhere so rigorously to the ‘models of church’? Either way, I’d agree with you on both counts. :) I’d also say that perhaps we should be much more unsafe in our daily lives. Of course, that’s very easy for me to say sitting at my laptop in a heated room listening to U2. ;) But hey, I’m working on it!

    And thanks for the kind words on the blog. I really appreciate the perspective you’re bringing right now. :)

    Randy–I agree, and I do lean much more towards the ‘in-house worship team’ model. I love your point about bringing in pro’s for a while to train people up, though. Yikes, I can just imagine if Edge was here for a bit…’You know Karl, you really shouldn’t play that right there.’ lol That would be awesome!

    And interesting point on keeping the capo position the same, but changing keys. So you’re going for keeping the awkward transitions to a minimum, but still changing keys for the vocals. Very cool. Personally, I keep a lot of songs in the same key so that they are able to flow into each other. I find that key changes (even well-modulated ones), can sometimes be distracting and change the mood. I like to flow from say, All We Need in G, to Here I am to Worship in G, to Wonderful Cross in G with a female vocalist leading (gotta make sure the ladies can sing in some of the keys, too! hehe). Just something that seems to work for me, in the spirit of flowing and keeping the transitions as minimal as possible.

    Great points, my brother!

    Joel–haha ‘Campi.’ Good form.

    But seriously, they paid half the band and not the other half? Sounds like a recipe for mutiny right there! Wow! I suppose I could see where a church could fall into that…paying some core members when they were the only ones there, and then not having the budget as the band grew…I guess. But I still think that’s a very poor model. How’d you deal with that?

    And not to open another can of worms, lol…ah forget it. Let’s open it on up!! Were the paid musicians believers? :)

    Mike Oliver–great comment! In my humble opinion, you just did a great job of describing the balance in the worship ministry between heart and talent. It’s such a difficult balance because as you said, people can tell right off who’s heart is in it and who’s heart is not. But at the same time, I have a problem with people who say that the talent doesn’t matter ‘at all.’ Because in that case it’s like, ‘Well, if the talent doesn’t matter, then why have a worship team playing instruments at all?’ Just have someone open up a hymnal and everyone starts singing. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that; but to have a church putting the time and effort into a worship team, and then saying that the music and talent doesn’t matter at all, seems like a bit of an oxymoron to me. :)

    So, I agree with you completely that even though skill does matter, the heart should trump everything. But if we can get some skill too, that’d be nice. hehe :)

    Shawn–haha Thanks for the kind words. And no, I don’t mind. You’re welcome to post it wherever you like. :)

  29. Karl,

    Thanks for triggering another observation… From our worship leadership group’s perspective, talent ‘does matter’ — it’s just not the ‘primary’ consideration. We systematically interview/audition every new person who expresses interest in getting involved with worship ministry (and this is after a pre-requisite that they’ve been an active member of our community of believers for at least six months). The ‘interview/audition’ serves two purposes:

    [1] We want some idea of ‘why’ they feel motivated to be involved with worship ministry and …

    [2] Is this really a ‘gift’ they possess (talent)? Being in a worship band is really demanding, much like ‘session’ work; come in, see a chart for the first time, listen to a demo of the song, and then you’re expected to play it. If you can’t read a chart, can’t keep time, can’t execute, can’t stay on pitch (and you seem to be clueless that you’ve let your instrument slip out of tune — a heinous sin — LOL!), this isn’t for you.

    So… we have vocalists sing by themselves, then with 1 part harmony, followed by 3 part harmony. Can they stay with their part?

    We have prospective band members play a song with which their familiar. Then we pull a chart of one of the songs we presently have in rotation and have them play. We’re looking to see if they can at least handle the minimal functions of the role (if it’s rhythm guitar players, we have to have some idea if they can played a synchopated groove, since much of contemporary worship music is ‘conversational music’, which tends to benefit from synchopation (but that’s another topic for another time).

    As the resident ‘band leader’, after one normal cycle through a song, on the second pass, I’ll deliberately do some off-beat phrasing, or tuck phrasing with a different time signature against what they’re playing to see if they’ll stay where they’re supposed to stay or will they try to chase me.

    My point is, talent does matter — I believe God deserves the best that we can offer (which is why our teams rehearse). I’m appalled when I see any old thing slopped together and passed off as being ‘acceptable’ for the Lord. However, it’s not the principal consideration.

    There is an added benefit to placing greater emphasis on the spiritual mindset of the worship team member during the selection process. I can honestly say that over the past 14 years of being involved in contemporary worship ministry, we’ve had very few people issues (you can count them on 1 hand). ‘Heart’ matters; and so does talent…

    Thanks! (that’s my $0.02 on this topic — LOL!) :)

  30. It seems that having a vocalist who isn’t playing a “lead” instrument ( keys or guitar ) “conduct” a song is difficult. With a little more practice the instruments can certainly start off with the vocalist kicking off the singing, we just have done very little of that. I am concerned about the female vocalists being able to work in the keys I’m choosing, but I’ve had confirmation from female vocalists and worship leaders that if I pick a key for myself ( Baritone ) the women should be able to sing along comfortably.

    Plus, more men may sing. Quite often lead singers in professional Christian bands are tenors as are many worship leaders. This can lead to keys where many men are either constantly jumping octaves or just not singing. ( since most of us are not using hymnals and the number of men trained to sing lower harmonies is probably dwindling)

    I don’t think my range is great and I definitely don’t want to be sqeaking. If a note is getting a bit high I’ll just back off the mike a bit and hope the other vocalists are covering it. It’s either that or try to emulate Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys ( not ). :-)

  31. Karl,
    I think when believers get together it should be anticipated in our spirits, like when you went to your last U2 concert, as if we were REALLY going to meet with Jesus with like minded people.

    This will always be difficult to achieve in a church building with “paid professionals” who diligentally work to keep things to where they seem safe to the average congregational attendee. I’m not trying to come down on this type of thinking, primarily because it is so well practiced in our day.

    But as worshippers, we have to find new ways to get past man made boundaries, the same boundaries we as worship musicians make (for example) when we disect a worship service.

    This means a common goal with loose strings should be formed between the entire body of believers. Something that not only leaves room for God, but gives him the entire room to work his magic.

    We (i) can use the term like minded all we want, but this doesn’t mean a like mindedness in style but rather a cllection of souls passionate about really wanting the anticipation…like a U2 concert, you already know its going to be stellar, but…what exactly will happen?

    So with that thought, back to a worship team, it is VERY difficult for any worship team to have that kind of cohesiveness week in and week out. I think this is due to no sabbath for the weary (worship teams) and not enough community on the spectator side. ok ok, i don’t mean to hog your blog. peace

  32. sorry, i just realized i’m not really joining in on the technical pieces here as far as worship and the flowing, instrumentation, etc.

    I guess i’ve just come to the point where i’m comfortable with what other people do, even if it is horrible, i can live with it. Because i know i’ll typically have to knock back my trem to get the g-string back in tune, and sometimes, sometimes, MY VOLUME MIGHT BE ON (& the song’s in E)

  33. from bad note, to capo, to pro/paid musicians … this is one good post!

    to join on this conversation regarding “pro” and “paid” musicians. i think it has its merits so long as the “pro”/”paid” musicians also believe in what they are singing/preaching (read: believe and accepted Christ as the only way to salvation). one thing that it does is to put accountability to do better. i’m not saying that volunteers will not do good, but i’ve seen it too many times where volunteers are just satisfied to have strummed a chord (and that may include me at times). if a volunteer does good or bad, it sometimes doesn’t matter. while a “pro”/”paid” musician is regarded to provide better musicianship.

    btw, i don’t get paid cause i don’t think i am worthy enough to receive any payments for the skill set that i have :)

    oh, and did you know that George Harrison actually used a capo on the 7th fret for “Here Comes the Sun”? i just read that in a guitar mag today that has a feature on the use of capo! what a co-incidence :D

  34. Mike Oliver–well, I can’t say it much better than that. I do want to highlight though, that you actually make mistakes on purpose in practice to see if the band can keep going. Now that is awesome. As for me, I always try to play my mistakes off as on purpose during rehearsal, but no one ever believes me. lol

    Great comment!

    Randy–totally! I’ve noticed that too…that the songs in keys for female voices cause more men to sing because they can drop lower and actually reach those keys. As a general rule, if you’re a tenor, you usually drop the key a 4th for it to be comfortable for a soprano to sing melody, and a 5th for it to be comfortable for an alto to sing melody. So, a song like Wonderful Cross is comfortable for me in D. So I drop it a 5th to G for the female vocalists to comfortably sing melody. We may fine tune by a half step or so later, but the rule works about 90% of the time. :) And gets the dudes to sing in the congregation! hehe

    Jay–yep, I can’t say that any better. Props! And I agree that it can be difficult for tightness, and that rest is important. I try to do acoustic at least once a month so the team can rest, and I’ve got a few people who can lead once in a while so that I can have a break. :) And then I spend those breaks at U2 concerts! hehehe

    Rhoy–if a capo is good enough for George, it’s good enough for me! haha

    And you bring up a good point about payment causing more responsibility. There’s only so much you can do with volunteers because…well, they’re volunteers. If they show up late, hey…they’re volunteers. Now, with volunteers, it does give you the opportunity to teach more about punctuality and responsibility without just pulling the ‘careful or you won’t get paid’ card. Interesting topic; I’m still not exactly sure where I stand on it.

    And you’re right…this post has turned into more of a message board. And I love it! hehe I’m learning way more from all the differing opinions than I ever would have from just me writing a post. Thanks, everyone!! :)

  35. OK, someone (Karl? I could just scroll up, but I’m American…) was asking about my former church. To start off with, the worship leader had no clue how to do his job. And seriously, I say that with love and honesty. He knows music in and out, but I think he has forgotten what it means for a congregation to worship together through music. EVERYTHING was a big production for him, and frankly, the best worship times I have had are the ones where we weren’t quite ready on our own. Where we almost nailed it in practice. Those are the times when we realize that we suck, and we need God to make us sound good. And that is when true worship happens, when we bring the best offering we can, and somehow what we play as a group goes through this amazing Holy Amplifier (class A tube, no doubt) and comes out as something so much more than what we put in. And that leader forgot it. As far as the people that were paid, some were amazing, some weren’t. The leader’s wife was the paid pianist, and she never trusted any of the volunteers to do their jobs. The keyboard player, on the other hand, is one of the best musicians, and worshipers, I have ever had the pleasure of playing with. His ability to add so much by adding so little is a quality I strive for. At the other campus, the two paid musicians we had were amazing as well. That leader is one of the most humble men I have ever met, and quite the contrast from his counterpart. Oh, and as far as paying half the band, the volunteers were there first. The pros were brought in to replace volunteers that the leader didn’t like. As people, and musicians, they were great. I had no beef with them, but I lost all respect for the worship pastor.

  36. Wow. (And ya it was me who asked.) That’s really sad. But it’s a good warning I suppose, for all of us. There’s this fine line we walk between truly worshiping and also making sure we’re providing an atmosphere where the congregation can worship with us. And I know in my life, it’s not taken much in the past to push me over that line either way…whether it be one way, and just having my own private worship service and allowing the congregation to sit there in awkward silence; or whether it be the other way as you described of making it completely about production.

    Thanks for sharing, brother. That’s a great caution, and one that I need to read often. :)

  37. I learned a lot in that band. A lot about how not to do things, how not to treat people, and what it looks like when you are doing things for the wrong reason. I’m glad for what I learned, but at the same time my heart aches for the people that are involved. The amazing thing is that God still allows worship to happen, despite the human issues. A lot of my own ideas about worship are a direct result of the issues I had at that church, and like every other season of discomfort in our lives, the lessons learned from it are stronger than the ones learned in comfort.

  38. wow, great thread. Isn’t it great to be able to have fun and laugh at ourselves in God’s house? Sometimes I think that we get so serious and take ourselves so seriously that it must look weird to onlookers. Although if I make a mistake I’m definitely making a face at the worship leader/sound guy/anybody else….
    I used to church hop when I was younger looking for churches with great bands, music evokes such a personal response, and when you are young and immature it’s all about you. Now, I still cringe with out-of-tune instruments and lack of preparedness but I don’t mind if the band messes up as long as they can actually lead us in worship.
    As far as the capo goes, I’m anti-capo for lead players. Learn your inversions! You shouldn’t be playing the same thing (barre chords) as the worship leader is playing anyway so do something different, even if it is in E flat. Capos can make a song much more accessible for the congregation and should be used to make certain chord progressions work but if you are playing lead, just say no!
    When I was 20 I did lead once with two kyser capos on at the same time. One upside down covering the top five strings to make it like drop D and the other to move the key up a whole tone!! Shoot me now!

  39. Weighing in late to this one but I’m a huge Capo fan. Especially for the acoustic guitarist it’s an invaluable tool for achieving nice open chord voicings in different keys. I’ve been becoming quite a passionate evangelist for the Capo, trying to teach all our guitar guys how to use it without having to rewrite their chord charts… I even wrote a page on our worship team blog on this issue..

    As a lead guitarist though, I don’t use it as much, but occaisionally when I’m playing a song that involves me playing some lead and rhythm stuff I’ll pop it on. I’d never say No to using it, but it just isn’t necessary for melodic guitar playing most of the time.

    The cut capo is a great tool to get some nice sounds, though I haven’t really explored it’s full potential.

    And this last part really does feel like cheating, but I’ve started using capo a bit when playing mandolin, since I’m not good enough to handle all the wacky stretched out chord shapes in different keys yet…

  40. I agree, playing electric guitar, you should never be playing the same thing as the acoustic, and thats where the capo comes in handy. I will readily admit, I rarely use it on electric. But there are times when we do a dual acoustic set, and for that it is invaluable. We always have one guitar capo’ed differently than the other, so that the chord voicings are different. Nothing (only slight hyperbole) sounds more boring to me than multiple guitars playing the exact same thing. (Unless one guitar is using delay, and the other one has drive. Or both have different drives. Or different delays. Or different tone. But then, one could argue that then they aren’t in fact the same.) So, you can use the unison for emphasis if you need it, but I personally love hearing 2 or 3 guitars all playing different (compatible) variations on the same chords.

  41. I thought I’d add an example of my extensive capo use on acoustic when leading worship. Yesterday’s set below. There is prayer after song #3 which gives me a chance to move the capo. Slight break between #4 and #5 to move the capo. Without planning on my part, the congregation sang mostly in D and E — well there was planning in the sense that I put them where I can sing best.

    1. Victory Chant Started playing in D Capo 2=Key E modulate to E (F#) then to F# (G#)
    2. It’s all because of Jesus Played in C Capo 2=key of D
    3. Paul Baloche’s Thank You Lord Played in D Capo 2= Key: E
    4. Mat Maher’s As it is in Heaven Play in C Capo 4=Key: E
    5. Amazing Grace/My chains are gone Play in C Capo 2= Key: D
    6. Tomlin’s I will rise Played in D Capo 2= Key: E

  42. Mark Colvin–totally in agreement on the taking ourselves too seriously part. As a general rule, we’re just usually not as important as we think we are. lol Love what you said about finding a way to worship even when the music isn’t at its greatest.

    As for capo’s, I just simply see them as a tool. Can they be useful? Yes. Can they be a crutch? Yes. But that’s the same as anything. So I’m of the mindset that if they make something sound better, than use ‘em. For instance, when playing lead in Bb, I know all my inversions, but sometimes I still want to be able to come down and hit the big tonic chord after a lead. So if I want an open sound, I’ll capo 3 and hit a G form tonic. Or if it’s a bit more of a biting rock song, then I might capo 1 and hit an A form tonic. Or on the other hand, if you want a chunky bar chord, take the capo off and just hit a Bb form.

    They can also be useful playing lead if you’re the only lead guitarist, and need to keep a string open as a pedal tone during a lead.

    And there are some good technical mind exercises that involve capo’s as well. Maybe the worship leader is playing in Db, and using G form chords on capo 6. You don’t want to play the same thing as him, but you also need a Db pedal tone for a lead. So you capo 2. Now you have to play your leads in Db, watch for changes from the worship leader in G, and play your chords in B form. On the fly, that can be a great mind exercise for a musician, and at least for me…much more difficult than just taking the capo off.

    Just my humble opinion. :) But I used to talk down on capo’s a ton, until I realized how useful they can be in making the music sound better. And then once I started using them, I realized how much more they make you think. :)

    Baggas–I agree, I’m also a huge capo advocate now. And I didn’t know you played mandolin! Right on. Something I’ve always wanted to learn, and just never have got around to. Cheers!

    Joel–great point, I also believe it can be great on an electric. Although, I’m also one of the few people who really loves it when instruments play the same thing. Not all the time of course, but if the melody is good enough, then big full unison from the instruments can create an awesome juxtaposition. Or maybe I just like lots of big rock ‘n roll chords! haha

    Randy–love it! And do you use modulation progressions to get into the different keys, or do you just hit them? I think both are valid, just wondering which you usually prefer. :)

  43. I do use modulation chords such as hitting the V7 of the new key, or maybe IIm then V7 of new key. In Victory Chant we just change with no modulation progression. The keyboardist is a fan of half-step modulations but I generally don’t go for that because it can take me from G to Ab or something else I don’t want to play on an acoustic when leading.

  44. haha Oh, lovely capo 1. And that’s the way it should be as far as keyboardists go…kind of. hehehe :) Isn’t your lead pastor also a very accomplished keyboardist? Think he’s sneaking back to the sound board and boosting the keys? hehehe

  45. Forgive me for digressing a bit here, but this has become my online “church” community. Looks like I’ll be taking some time off from worship leading. I’ve been leading for about 4 years now, but am feeling it’s time to take time off and re-assess things.
    For me it’s just not being on the same page musically as most of my team ( maybe not on the same planet ). I bring in the slow, worshipful ballads on a regular basis, introducing a new song nearly every month, but when it comes to a new up-tempo ( dare I say “driving” ) song, my team balks ( except the drummer).

    Essentially they either don’t like such songs, feel we don’t have enough band to pull them off or that they don’t lend themselves to vocal harmonies (it’s all about me and my vocal opportunities?)
    I have raised the idea that we’re there to serve the congregation, and if that means doing some songs that aren’t ballads or hymns then that’s what we need to do. I think if you want to guarantee your congregation is either old, primarily female, or both, just do hymns and ballads. I know that’s a generalization, but I’m not alone in that assessment.

    The other issue is commitment and consistency — I want more of both from the team but it isn’t there. So rather than risk a poor attitude, I think I need to take a break and perhaps pursue musical interests outside of church.

  46. Randy, I totally respect you for looking for where else God may want to use you, rather than forcing an issue and getting bitter. I’ll be praying for ya, brother. Are you going to keep attending that church?

  47. Love the capo comments. I tend to use them either to keep from just doubling what the other guitar is playing, or If I really like the open strings in a particular chord shape. I have also enjoyed using the cut capo for a different sound.

  48. Awesome points. Ya, I don’t necessarily understand all the capo hate. It’s just another tool that you can use creatively to make new and exciting sounds. Love the cut capo stuff, too!

  49. I’m not leaving, in fact as I continue to pray I’m getting a better understanding and perspective of things. I think I’ll hang in there for now. I just sent a pretty detailed email to my team explaining things. If you have at least one or two team members who really “dig” the same music you do, hang on to them!! I told the team I thought being on hand 7 out of 8 Sundays should be the norm — we’ll see how they handle that.

    I must confess, and I told them this also, that I’ve begun to notice how the team and the congregation responds ( really worships ) when singing a worshipful (slower) song they know and love. That actually does compensate for my initial reaction which is ” I can’t stand to play that song for the umpteenth time !! ” :-)

  50. Wow, then okay! Even more respect for you for being able to stay and still not be bitter! :) Hopefully they dig the being called to step up to a more committed level. And I totally agree on seeing people worship. That’s what we’re there for anyway. It totally helps fuel me when I sing Everlasting God for the fourth year in a row! haha

  51. Of course, even some golden oldie worship songs were probably first heard on the radio, so that in and of itself is just spoofing, as opposed to a legitimate criticism. No tatoos on this worship leader. :-)

  52. haha Ya, nothing wrong with playing songs that are on the radio…except maybe playing them for no other reason than because they’re on the radio. hehe

  53. Pingback: Worship Leading Choose Your Own Ending (Part 4)

  54. Pingback: Worship Leading Choose Your Own Ending (Part 5)

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