Worship Leading Choose Your Own Ending (Part 3)

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

(This is part 3 of the ‘Choose Your Own Ending Series.’ Parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here.)

Unfortunately, you’re a musician, which means you don’t use your arm muscles for much else besides sculpting your hobbit-half-beard and pressing rewind countless times on the ‘Where the Light is’ dvd to get the ‘Neon’ fingering right, and with a flick of the wrist like a schoolgirl throwing with her left hand, the capo lands harmlessly at the worship leader’s feet. Never has so much passion and effort produced so little result.

You finish the set, even without the assistance of your capo. You know your bar chords…you’re a real musician. The worship leader ends with a prayer/transition for the media team to get the ‘our church is cool’ video cued up, as you skillfully pick out delay-washed chords underneath his prayer louder and louder until he is forced to stop his own clashing finger-picked chords. (Yours are better anyway.) And in the cover of darkness during the video so that when the lights come back on everyone will go, ‘Whoa! How’d the worship team get off stage?!’, you fall in with the rest of the worship team into the green room, with that almost imperceptible saunter that says, ‘I’m not gonna say anything…but I pretty much just rocked it out there.’

You sit in the green room (you’ve heard this message before), and chat with the worship leader about the shortcomings of his Fulltone Fulldrive, and how your Fulltone OCD (version 3, of course) is clearly superior. You eloquently explain your stance on the matter, and then disinterestedly look around the room while the worship leader voices his opinion on the matter. In between various nods and mumbled affirmations so that he knows you’re still listening, you continue to not listen. The drummer and the bassist talk about the good old days when they were allowed to solo in church, the vocalists confirm your tone by talking to each other about how little they can hear themselves, and some guy you’ve never seen before sits on a chair towards a corner of the room. No, wait…maybe you have seen him before. Something about him being on stage with a weird white and black instrument that he plays with two hands or something? Oh wait…you think maybe you’ve heard it in between songs, but once the song gets started… Suddenly you are broken out of your confused trance and obligatory nods to the worship leader’s words. You’ve heard it. It has happened. The other electric guitarist just told the bass guitarist that solid state amps ‘can have their place.’

You begin to feel the rage swell up inside you. You get up to confront him. The Fulldrive versus OCD can wait. Quickly your eyes scan the room for a suitable place to hide the body should this get out of hand. Just then the pastor walks in while his video illustration plays on the screens. He glances at the team and says, ‘Hey, my friends’, convinced that by awkwardly calling people ‘friends’, they will automatically come to the conclusion that he knows them personally. Pastoral duty now done, he leans down to the worship leader and whispers something in his ear. You see the worship leader’s face go ashen. The pastor stands back up, gives a quick smile to his friends, and gets back on stage just in time to make a killer entrance after the video.

The worship leader has not moved. He just sits there, staring straight ahead as if transfixed by the glowing logo of a Bad Cat amp. You can tell something is wrong. The solid state battle will have to be postponed until next week. As fast as a Steve Vai solo but with much more soul, you are at the worship leader’s side. ‘What’d he say, man?’

The worship leader can barely get the words off his lips. ‘The pastor says that he feels the Spirit moving in the message this morning. He needs…a few more than our revered planning center schedule calls for. And we’ve…’ the words came even more slowly now. ‘…we’ve…been asked…to cut a song.’ The last phrase rings out like a death knell. You can see the worship leader start to get shaky. He’s at a mental, spiritual, and as always tonal, impasse. His pleading eyes look up at you for the answer. (Hey, we can dream, can’t we?) With the cold, hard, and weighty decisiveness of a Mercury Magnetics power transformer, you…

A) Remind the worship leader, that this is in fact a ‘worship service’, which can of course only possibly mean ‘music’, no matter what Isaiah, Amos, and John say, and therefore the pastor is lucky that we even give him time to preach his little sermon at all. Let’s storm out on stage with righteous indignation, and reclaim in victory what is ours!

B) Tell the worship leader that even if he has to cut a song, it’s not to worry; you’ve got a guitar solo specially crafted for this situation and which can be adapted to any song in order to make it longer than what the set would have been before the last song was cut. (You don’t mention the number of times you may or may not have dreamed about this exact scenario.)

C) Yell out, ‘Cut the Lincoln Brewster song! Cut the Lincoln Brewster song!’

D) Get lunch. When pastors, who all have this unwritten blood pact somewhere together that they must go long, actually warn you that they’re going to go long? Well, let’s just say find a place with a sit-down menu. And maybe some live jazz.

E) Encourage the worship leader to stand his ground and go have a Bible-verse-flinging session with the pastor. Always good times for everyone involved.

F) Get all stoked, and rally the team to definitely cut a song. Now you guys have something to lord over his head when you make the ‘church needs to buy us all Taylor’s’ push.

G) Go back to the solid state versus tube conversation. That is clearly much more earth-shattering.

H) Tell the worship leader to do the full set of songs anyway. Ya. The congregation loves those awkward staredowns between the worship leader and the pastor while they’re trying to worship.

I) Say that you’ll go along with cutting a song, but only on the condition that the one remaining song is changed to ‘Beautiful Day’. Yes. It’s a very original idea, too.

J) Pick up right where you left off, and use this lull in the conversation to drive home your point that the OCD is, in fact, better than the Fulldrive.

K) Encourage the worship leader to go ahead and cut a song, and in so doing be the first church leader in history to not think that their individual ministry was the be-all-end-all of every ministry in the church.

And you can’t choose ‘K’.


35 thoughts on “Worship Leading Choose Your Own Ending (Part 3)

  1. I’d pick (I) I think.

    Actually we had the earth-stopping weird other dimension twilight zone experience on Sunday of the Pastor asking us to go longer at the end, and actually throw an extra bit of song in there.. needless to say we jumped at this once-in-a generation opportunity, although some of our team looked a litte unsettled at me “just follow me” smile… mwahahaha

    And then as he stepped off the stage finally after our epic set drew to a close, I segued into a bit of
    A Bm D G D A…. and it was indeed a Beautiful Day 🙂

    Always love these choose your own ending stories!

  2. A)

    I have had possibly the weirdest/coolest experience ever. My worship leader/music director asked me to play more solos/lead work. Part of me thinks the request is a little wasted on me since I’m not a huge guitar solo guy, but it is a great excuse for more delay soaked passages of music.

  3. i’ll say encourage everybody to sit in the pews to listen to the message with the congregation but who does that!

    so I’ll pick “G” … it is really that important 😉

  4. It’s gonna be either B, D or G, but I think I’m leaning more towards G. Seriously, what can possibly be more important than the tube vs solid state debate? Tubes ARE better. Shouting and gesturing wildly like a Portuguese soccer fan also helps get the point across (we’ve got a few of those in South Africa at the moment).

    I think B is every lead guitarist in a worship band’s secret desire (yup, mine too). D is something I’ve occasionally considered – you’re right, it must be some kind of clandestine pastor pact that they always have to go long.

    Oh, and as for J, in the time-honored tradition of TGP, neither is better. It’s completely clear that the is far better. I haven’t tried any of the others, but it’s the best pedal ever! Tone for days, in spades and absolutely nails the D*mble sound. There…much better.

  5. Oops, it killed my brackets in the last paragraph. The name of the alluded to pedal is supposed to be: “insert currently over-hyped best ever overdrive pedal”.

  6. I’ve heard the pastor say, a few times, “I want to change up the songs because I changed the sermon.” One time, told him, “We put together a great song list so you are going to have to change your sermon to fit the theme.” He just laughed – he has a great sense of humor and respects the work we do.

  7. G. I honestly would just pick G.

    If i was the one leading I would happily listen to the guitarist if he had faith that F would actually work 🙂 everyone in my church has ovations or takamines except myself – I have a Taylor and really like it; I’ve had tone compliments from ‘civilians’ in the ‘audience’ when using it.

  8. Here is my choice…

    “J) Pick up right where you left off, and use this lull in the conversation to drive home your point that the OCD is, in fact, better than the Fulldrive.”


    “In between various nods and mumbled affirmations so that he knows you’re still listening, you continue to not listen.”

    So… In my original not listening… I continue to not listen or have any interest in what the worship leader is saying. When he gets the news and shares it, well needless to say I wasn’t listening and don’t really care what he was saying in the first place as I was still thinking about how the OCD is better then the Fulldrive….

  9. Ouch. Brutal.

    I was gonna go for secret hidden answer L, still do all of the songs but faster tempo and with half the verses and choruses cut out, but with solos intact, but then I realized that the pretimed delays would be off. That said, I’m going with I.

  10. Baggas–lol You got to go long, and play Beautiful Day?! Wow…that’s a beautiful day indeed! 😀

    Sam–ooh, that’s the stuff dreams are made of right there! 🙂

    Rhoy–listen to the message? These words are strange and foreign to me. 😉 hehe

    MikeZA–lol Exactly! The pedal that sounds best is the pedal that Gear Page dictates to sound best…that week. It is one of the immutable truths of the universe.

    Mark–lol Perfect answer! haha

    Nater2–lol 🙂

    Chris–that is cool. Always nice to have a leader who can kid around and not take himself too seriously. For sure. 🙂

    Jamianne–lol Awesome comment, Babe! 😀

    Mark–I know. On paper, as far as a worship team goes, we’re supposed to hate each other. hehe Opposites attract! 🙂

    Dan–lol Ooh, nice one. Awesome comment!!

    James–I agree with you on the Taylor’s…especially plugged in with the latest expression system. I know it’s the name everyone is sick of, but they just sound really, really good.

    Sal–lol Nice comment, brother!! Unfortunately, that’s totally me all too often! haha

    Colton–yes!! You can totally go with secret answer L! I love it. 🙂

    Cam–nope. I was just fantasizing a little. hehe 🙂

  11. Sorry to ask a question that isn’t related but can anyone tell me where to go (i.e. another blog or a site) where I can find out a good keyboard for our youth group to buy for the band… we have no keyboard and we need one. Unless you keys players out there have any preferences. Budget is low under $600 would be best.

    • I heard that the Kurzweil SP2 is good, its about £600 in the UK though which is probably a bit over budget for you…

      Maybe you could look at one used 🙂

  12. At our church, worship leader texts FOH, telling him/her that the post-service CD music is sacked, worship team will be JAMMING as the Spirit leads!

  13. Ben G–for pads, a used 61-key Korg Triton has some great sounds, and can be had for right around $600. Also, Nord makes some great keyboards.

    A lot of people are doing the midi controller thing into Logic or some similar computer program. I think Logic is a fairly decent price, though. The Kurzweil PC88 is a great midi controller.

    And then there’s this older Roland model that’s great, but I can’t remember the name now. Sorry…I wish I was more of a keyboardist! 😀

    JayDub–that is awesome!!

  14. I would LOVE to do the midi controller into a laptop using Reason or something (I own reason and a midi controller but no laptop). Unfortunately the added cost of a new laptop isn’t worth it… I think maintenance on a keyboard is probably easier than keeping a computer running also. I’ll have to look up the Korg Triton. Thanks Karl!

  15. Are you spying on us? Cuz half of the scenario has actually happened to us.
    To funny. Life is stranger than fiction, you just can’t make this stuff up. I feel better knowing that….. we are not alone.
    Then its back to solid state vs tube, but we know the out come. TUBES RULE, its not really a debate now is it.

  16. James–good call! 🙂

    Ben G–hmm…good point. Ya, if you get a Triton, look for a patch called ‘Sailing’ and then don’t allow your keyboardist to ever change it. 😉 haha

    t–lol I’m glad I’m not alone either!! hehehe Ah, church life. 🙂

  17. Last week our pastor came up to do the welcome/meet and greet totally in the wrong place. We were playing loud and hard. There was no stopping it. He smiled, threw up his hands and got off stage. It was really funny.

    I have been in a lot of churches where I can relate to the song cutting dilema. However, the church we are in now, this becomes less of an issue. We are always changing, adding, cutting, lengthening that if the pastor said “we need to cut a song” we would just go with it. Although, that rarely happens…it is usually the opposite. Our pastor turns to us to add more music and even requests certain songs while on stage. Talk about Spledid!


  18. haha That is awesome! I love it when pastors are able to be off the cuff like that!

    And he sometimes requests more music?! Woohuu! That’s awesome. 🙂

  19. I can’t remember the number of times we really wanted to do a bunch of songs, so we just cut verses and choruses and did them all faster tempo. It was kind of silly, but we are/were young.

  20. I would totally go with B! This is the stuff that dreams are made of. I am always looking for an excuse to stick the latest (Eric)Johnson/Satch/Yngwgie/Petrucci lick that I have learned into a worship set.

    This would be the case if it wasn’t for one teeny tiny detail. That detail is G. I really don’t even care at this point. Who ever just said that “solid state has its place” should really be fearing for their life (wow! i sound like a total tool)

    But seriously, tubes will ALWAYS reign supreme!

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