You Know You're On the Worship Team When…

Sorry, everyone. I seriously promise…there’s some gear demo videos, mod videos, and effects usage demo videos on the way…I’m in the process of recording them as we speak. I’ve just been really busy…and well, let’s face it…probably being a loser and surfing gearpage rather than playing. 😉 So, for now, I figured I’d just make fun of worship musicians. Always good times to be had by all there. And in the spirit of not taking myself too seriously, I have limited this to only things that I have done…or, unfortunately, am currently doing. So here ya go! (And feel free to add as you see fit.)

You know you’re on the worship team when…

  • when you’ve felt ‘post-modern’ and ’emergent church-ish’ for doing a Third Day song.
  • when you’ve felt ‘post-modern’ and ’emergent church-ish’ period.
  • when you arrive a half hour late to practice, spend 20 minutes setting up, and then ask if the band can start the whole set over so you can practice
  • when you won’t turn down
  • when you can apologize for not turning down, but explain quite honestly, that if you turn down, your tubes will cool…which will in turn irreparably harm the worship experience
  • when you actually believe the above statement
  • when you no longer associate with any ‘actual people’ at church…you just stay on stage between services and tune for 20 minutes
  • when you harmonize, play over, or syncopate every note of every song
  • when you don’t pray with the pastor anymore before the closing set, but turn your guitar’s volume down and practice: a) scales, b) your solo for the next song, c) random nonsense, d) all of the above, or e) all of the above so intensely, that the congregation can hear you even with your volume off
  • when you wear your ‘show clothes’ to church
  • when you are able to explain the afore-mentioned ‘show clothes’ as ‘stage clothes’ so as not to distract from the worship experience, even though said clothes are more expensive, tighter fitting, and slightly more Bono-esque than anything you wear the other 6 days of the week.
  • when you no longer need to listen to the pastor’s message…you’re now ‘mature by association’ by being on the worship team
  • when you have a bigger and more expensive rig than over half of touring, professional musicians
  • when you’ve accidentally-on-purpose referred to the church members as ‘the audience’
  • when you’ve accidentally-on-purpose referred to the church members as ‘civilians’
  • when you get that fake-surprised look when the ‘civilians’ come up after the service and comment on how big your board is. ‘Oh, this? It’s just a couple things I threw together.’
  • when you’ve totally bogarted every solo at full volume and with every gain pedal cranked, and then act bashful and embarrassed that people are ‘noticing you’ when the pastor comes up after worship and says, ‘Wasn’t that great worship? How about our guitar player?’
  • when you can’t name anyone at the church who’s not on the worship team
  • when you consider buying that 4th amp you don’t really need and that you profess is ‘really too big to bring to church except on Easter’, your tithe.
  • when you feel wronged that the altar call went so long that you had to cut a song
  • when you’ve started a grand total of 12 worship songs with the ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ riff
  • when you’ve felt hip and on the edge and ‘post-modern’ for playing the ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ riff in each of those 12 songs
  • when you’ve worked out in your bedroom 16 other songs that the ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ riff could fit into, just in case the worship leader asks (or even if he or she doesn’t).
  • when you watch Hillsong United or Chris Tomlin cd’s as a group and then talk about all the things they do wrong, what you do better, and how much better your group does the songs they wrote.
  • when you are a rockstar. And it is undeniable.
  • when you consider every worship team who is able to draw more people, or get more ‘expressive’ worship out of their congregations or worship concert audiences, sellouts.
  • when you convince yourself that you only have 50 people at your church because any more than that would take away the intimacy of worship…until you get 1,000 people at your church…then the maximum number for intimate worship mysteriously changes.
  • when you use every time there are no lyrics to solo.
  • when having anyone else but yourself in the monitor is ‘distracting’.
  • when you have dotted eighth delay on for every song.
  • when you refer to your worship sets at church as ‘gigs’.
  • when you write blog articles entitled ‘You Know You’re On the Worship Team When…’



39 thoughts on “You Know You're On the Worship Team When…

  1. So true about Hillsong and Tomlin.
    The funniest thing I heard last year was someone say: Chris Tomlin is so over. His sound is so last year.
    Actually everyone trying to sound like Coldplay is so last year 😉

  2. You’re killin me Karl… I gotta get back on the post wagon. My job changed and I’ve been major slacking…

    The one about getting props from the pastor really strikes home… I totally struggle with that. I do the no eye contact wave when I get that one. I can’t pull off the “it’s all from the Lord” line, although I’ve heard it many times.

    A classic list… Ha! Splendid indeed… (My Tim should be ready in less than a month. I cant wait!)

  3. “when you consider buying that 4th amp you don’t really need and that you profess is ‘really too big to bring to church except on Easter’, your tithe.”

    So there’s the Love of Music. 😉

  4. “when you no longer need to listen to the pastor’s message…you’re now ‘mature by association’ by being on the worship team ”

    What is it about this. I’m annoyed when I see worship teams do this but I do it every time I have a chance.

    Really good Karl.

  5. @Larry: Funny!

    my two shekels…
    “when you think you should split the services into tradition and contemporary just so you can play the rocking stuff every week.”

  6. haha There are some great ones here! Nice comments, guys.

    Rhoy–lol Nice!!

    Dan–seriously, I here people say things like that all the time. And I make fun of people who make more money than me just as much as the next guy, but there comes a point where we have to seriously think that maybe…just maybe…there might be a reason beyond luck and beyond knowing the right people that these guys are famous and we’re not. hehe

    And good call on the Coldplay thing. What cracks me up, too, is that we’re all still trying to sound like Coldplay’s first album, not even the new stuff!

    James–haha Those were great…and frighteningly poignant. Props. And ya…hehe…we gotta keep a sense of humour about ourselves, but at the end of the day, it’s the biggest and most undeserved blessing to be on the worship team.

    Nate–ya, can’t wait for some new posts! hehe

    And I always do that, too…I distract by playing too loud, but then pretend I don’t want to be noticed. lol

    And congrats on the Tim! It’s a life-changing pedal. 😉

    Ren–lol Absolutely!!

    Jed–haha thanks, bro. And great idea! Hopefully we’ll get a worship leader one soon…but I gotta space them out and start doing some gear demo’s like I’m supposed to before people start getting bored with my little anecdotes and start wanting some actual tone stuff they can use. lol 😉

    Larry–haha Yep! I catch myself all the time calling them ‘sets.’ Nice!

    Chris–haha Exactly. Or you want the church to start a new ‘modern’ service so you can play all the stuff the worship leader says no to. hehe

  7. @karl
    “so you can play all the stuff the worship leader says n”

    no kidding. if I hear the phrase “you just have to remember the dynamics of our congregation” one more time…

  8. -When you call yourself a session player because you play at 5 or 6 different churches.

    -When you have a passionately polarized opinion of PODs or AxeFXs

    -When you think to yourself, “this wasn’t worth carry my gear in” because you didn’t get to play anything fun

    -When you confuse your own value with the value of your gear

    -When you don’t think guitar sounds good without delay :)

  9. @chris… lol, thanks! and +1 on your comment when trying to jam during “early service.” One day the pastor handed me an acoustic and said “try this one”.

    @ mike…. “session player”…. I call differing churches “gigs”. As in: I just got done touring (youth camp) and have several local gigs this weekend.
    and definitely: for a “special service” (Easter) I lugged ALL my gear/guitars and all they wanted was a rhythmic delay as our base rhythm. I was sooo bored.

    You know you are on the worship team (as a guitarist) when:

    Your personal gear is worth more than the stage’s whole sound system.

    • Haha. The lead singer of my old rock band is also a worship leader in a town about 20 miles from mine. When trying to get an endorsement deal (I can’t even really remember what for) he said, “I play at least 52 gigs a year.” haha. Whatever works I guess.

  10. Hi Karl, this is my first stop in to your guitar for worship site. It is awesome. You know you are on the worship team when you finally realize that you are playing for an audience of one. I have recently purchased some new gear in quest of that perfect tone. Let me know what you think. For guitar I have a 1980 Gibson Firebrand 335 S Custom solid body with the original “Dirty Fingers Pickups”. Pedal is the Carl Martin Quattro version 1 with compression, 2 overdrives, tremolo, & echo. Amp is the new Egnater Rebel 20 watt head with the matching Egnater 112 Cabinet. For reverb I have the VanAmp Sole-Mate analog spring reverb. The Quattro & Sole-Mate will be here on 2/13. What do you think of this setup? Comments about the guitar / pickups / pedal / & amp are greatly appreciated. I have been playing for about 44 years with the last 15 years in worship bands. I welcome any input from you.

  11. Chris–haha I hear ya, bro…unfortunately, I tell my team that way too often. lol

    Mike–those were awesome!! The ‘value’ one was powerful, bro. Props.

    Larry–hehe yep! Or when your personal gear sucks power from the sound system.

    Greg–welcome, brother! It’s great to have you here! Your rig sounds like it’s stellar, and I second Mike’s opinion on the Sole-Mate…awesome verb unit. As for the Quattro, I’d love to hear your take on it. I think it’s awesome that companies are trying to make analog stuff more functional and versatile, because on the average, they sound better than most of the modeling stuff. So, I’m hoping the Quattro sounds awesome, because I love the idea behind it. Only thing I might possibly question is the Dirty Fingers pickups. I tried them in a Firebrand once, and thought they were a little harsh…but it could have just been the wood in that particular guitar, because a lot of people dig those pickups. How do they sound in your rig?

    And again,welcome!


    Tom–haha Absolutely nothing wrong with Third Day…I like them, too. But they are like the most popular band in Christian music, and I see so many churches thinking they’re ‘cutting edge’ for playing Third Day, and it’s like, ‘Third Day rocks. But cutting edge?’ lol But you’re right, they’re a great band, and one of their guitarists uses a T-Rex Replica, so they’re okay in my book!

  12. Hi Karl, the Dirty Finger pickups are very hot but I must say that the Egnater Rebel 20 has such a great tone I might be compensating for the pickups with my amp. I will get the Quattro & Sole Mate on Friday. I will report back with my assessment of the new gear. If not the Dirty Fingers pickups what you suggest. This 335s Firebrand is solid mahagony which tends to be a darker tone.

    I also have a Schecter C 1 + with the Duncan Design pickups. I am thinking about new pickups for this axe. Any suggestions.

    I am hoping that the Quattro is all that it is supposed to be as well. I have been using a POD X3 Live (with some LInconln Brewster patches) but I have not been happy with my tone. As I get older less gear with better sound is getting more & more apealing.

    Thanks again for your input, & I’ll let you know about the Quattro & Sole-Mate.


  13. When you try to figure out how you can create the silhouettes-against-a-red-backdrop look that U2 pioneered in “Rattle & Hum”.

    When you hope the pastor prays extra long at the end of worship so that you can run through some more wicked cool volume swells.

    When you’re convinced that the lack of congregational response has more to do with their “hard hearts” than your lack of leadership (ouch. that hurts.).

  14. Greg–if you got your hands on a solid mahogany Firebrand, I’d say keep it! A lot of them were walnut, and not solid, so that’s awesome! I had a Firebrand The Paul at one time (mahogany) and it had T-Tops in it. I really liked the sound. Currently I’m using Wolfetone Dr. V’s, which are the closest to ’59 PAF’s I’ve heard. If by chance you don’t like the Dirty Fingers once your rig’s altogether, I’d give both those pickup sets a try. :)

    And I totally hear you about less but better sounding gear. There’s something about tubes and analog circuitry that digital modeling just can’t live up to (in my humble opinion, of course! 😉 )

    Ivan–haha Great to have you here! Ya, that riff is over-played in worship music. But yet it is, like the best riff ever. lol And ya, U2 riffs are always so catchy…even the like .001% of them I actually don’t like still get stuck in my head. :)

    Jeff–yikes, bro! I’ve seriously done all 3 of those! As I kept reading them, it started to hurt more and more. Especially the volume swells one. Blast. Props to you for a great comment, but next time, go easy on my pride a bit, will ya?


  15. Splendid brilliance Karl!

    I was surprised how many matches I found.

    You mean it’s not okay to feel wronged when a song gets cut? Why can’t a pastor cut five minutes? It’s just five minutes! 😛

    And how does the worst song always survive the cut? No comprende.

    Don’t be bogarting those solos …


  16. haha Thanks, bro! And you’re so right! The song I can’t stand anymore, or the one I haven’t practiced, or the band sounds the worst on…never gets cut! haha Good call!

    Karl (trying desperately not to bogart solos…but failing all too often…hehe)

  17. Ethan–hehe Ya…it’s really sad, huh! I feel the same way…I keep hoping someone will comment with one I haven’t done, but…nope. lol

    Cheers, bro!

  18. Tim/karl

    “I feel God telling me we should skip the last song,” says the pastor to the worship team and the congregation.
    Perhaps I could retort…”amazing, God was just telling me you preached too long today.”
    LOL – so it goes.

  19. Hi Karl,

    I did not like the Dirty Fingers Pickups in the Firebrand 335S. I traded that axe in on a 1982 Gibson Firebrand “The Paul”. It has the sock “Vintage Pups”. Solid Mahagony body. Great guitar. Do you know what the “Vintage Pups are”? Are they the T-Tops you referred to above?

    Now for my review of the Carl Martin Quattro. Absolutely Awesome! It is the 1st version with tremolo. The compressor is just outstanding. It can be used as a clean boost. It has 2 overdrives that kind of remind me of Carl’s plexitone OD. The 1st OD is a lighter more crunchy OD & the 2nd OD is an awesome kill some bugs tone. Just outstanding! The tremolo is one of the best that I have heard. The echo (delay) has a tap tempo & is very flexible for a variety of delay sounds. I give my way 2 thumbs up & props to Carl Martin. It is buit like a tank, extremely easy to use, dead quiet, transparent to tone, & every aspect of the pedal is as if you bought top of the line seperate boutique pedals. My friend, who is an outright audiophile & tone nut, loved the Quattro so much he found one on Craig’s list & we made a 2hr journey one way to get his yesterday. It is that impressive.

    The VanAmps Sole-Mate reverb is quite possibly the best reverb unit that I have ever heard.

    I am looking to add a Gibson Classic ES-137 with the stock 490/498 pups. Any thoughts on this axe?

    Thanks again Karl for such a great site. Greg

  20. Chris–lol Isn’t it great how we all think our own ministries are the most important? haha Good times and great point.

    Greg–awesome review! I might have to check that pedal out. And ya, that Sole-Mate is rad.

    And that Firebrand sounds like almost the exact same model I had. Right on! You can tell if they’re T-Top pickups by looking at the to of the bridge pickup. It’ll have a little ‘T’ embossed on the face.

    As far as the Gibson classic, I’m a little wary of anything that’s come out of Gibson in the last 15 years, unless it’s one of their custom shop R7’s or R8’s. Even those I have no real hands on experience with. For an ES-137 style guitar, I’d check out Collings. :) But then again, if it sounds good, go for it!

    And thanks for the kind words. I’m glad this site can be a bit of a help! :)

  21. I sooooo have a 4th amp I literally plan on only using at Easter, since we have that service at the highschool here in Kelso.

    Totally nailed me on that one!

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