Posted by Craig Borlase on 10 June 2014

1. Imitation

We’ve all done it; adopted a vocal style, borrowed a guitar phrasing, adjusted our strap/foot position/hair to be just like the worship leader guru we so admire. For a while, we feel like it’s working, until - hopefully - one day we finally wake up and realise that the mojo’s not in the voice, the fingers or the wardrobe. It’s in the daily habit of faith lived out.  

 

2. Repetition

We might not be playing the same songs week in/week out, but when this week’s band sounds just like last week’s band which also sounds like last year’s band, and when our musical flourishes could be jigsawed into any one of a number of songs, can we really hope for a different response from our fellow worshippers? It’s not a miracle drug, but when we change the sounds (and most of the time that means changing the instruments) there’s a good chance that we change the response.

 

3. Caution

Ever had that sense that you were able to worship with so much more freedom as you practiced at home than you were when the service itself kicked off? We’ve all been there. Yet while the combination of PA glitches, congregational dynamics and performance anxiety are all potential distractions, the truth is that that we are often guilty of holding back when there’s a chance of looking like an idiot. But, as any children’s entertainer/fitness instructor/motivational speaker will tell you, if you don’t give 110% from the front, nobody else is going to put down their phone. Worship isn’t a spectator sport, but nobody follows the tour guide who mumbles and shuffles his feet. 

 

4. Impaired vision

We talk a lot about the fact that worship is not just about singing songs. And it isn’t. But still we talk about it. So whose fault is it that people think that worship begins and ends with a nice two-part harmony? Maybe some of the blame is ours. Maybe if we saw the job of a worship leader as demonstrating what it looks like to live a life abandoned to God, who risks it all for their faith, then maybe we’d help people see singing as the consequence of worship, not the goal. 

 

5. Isolation

Getting onto the worship team shouldn’t reduce our contact with those who aren’t on it. It should increase it. Not because worship team members are special, but for the simple fact that when churches are made up of cliques, things generally start to look a bit dodgy. Also, it’s a good principle for any musician - worship or not - to spend time with people who aren’t all that impressed by what they do. The next time you see a street performer with a crowd of smiling people around them, take a long hard look and ask yourself whether you’d be willing to take such risks to get people engaged. 

 

5.5 - falling for blogs that offer short cuts

Blog posts that promise to break down a complex issue into five easy-chew morsels might seem delicious, but they’re just sugary snacks that are no substitute for a proper, nutritionally-balanced diet. Let's not believe the hype.

More like this

Feeling stuck? Try this songwriting tip (Understanding Worship In the New Testament Part 4)

The hymns and hymnic material of the New Testament are a great treasure as we consider early Christian worship. Both in its quantity and in its substance, this is the richest worship material of all. There are sufficient references to singing...

the Friday pickle: do you need more silence?

Silence can be awkward, can’t it? But not all silence is equal. The times when the mic fails or you forget what song you’re supposed to be singing next can be a million miles away from those moments when the...

Reasons To Be Cheerful (or why enthusiasm goes further than talent)

At the start of a worship set at a recent conference I took a few moments to look around. I was a good few years younger than the average age, which is saying something when you consider the amount of...