• Page 1
  • Page 2
  • Page 3
  • Page 4

Building And Maintaining A Worship Band

We are a band, and not a team. (We are not an athletic team, although there are many similarities: personal and group practice, discipline, and physical stamina. But we should have more finesse and less muscle; we are not trying to score a touchdown or make a basket, but to write a score.)

Jesus said, "...a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4: 23-24)

Everything we will talk about today will be based on this concept, both literally and figuratively.
(quotes on worship)

"To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God. To feed the mind with the truth of God. To purge the imagination by the beauty of God. To open the heart to the love of God . And to devote the will to the purpose of God." William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury (deceased)
Spirit: by the Holy Spirit, intuitive, emotional, spontaneous (but not irrational); giftings, can be measured (but not immediately and not by conventional scales)

Truth: logical, reasonable, factual, biblical, with understanding

pg 1

Building And Maintaining A Worship Band

1. Vision, Goal, Action Plan - We do things that look like a traditional band (choose players, rehearse, write music, etc.), but our vision, goals, and actions are quite different.

a. Vision - Do you have a vision for your group? Are there some specific things that are unique to your situation, fellowship, congregation, leadership, location? Who are you trying to reach with the gospel? The Role of Vision: Vision defines our destiny. Vision points us to the future. A vision which originates from God is clearly articulated and wholeheartedly embraced will impact us in several ways:

1. Incite passion in our lives.
2. Help us to focus our energy and resources.
3. Provide a framework for developing strategies and long-term plans.
4. Capture and utilize imagination, creativity, and energy.
5. Unify our efforts.
6. Better enable us to persevere through trials, criticism, and opposition. (Michael Palandro, Senior Pastor, Vineyard Christian Fellowship, Houston, Texas) Most churches have their own personality or identifying ethos that is created by the overall vision statement and the people who rally around that statement. Worship bands are the same: their members create a personality by their skills, temperament, and maturity in the Lord.

b. Goals - What is it that we want to do specifically? Lead worship, do outreach, evangelize through neighborhood crusades, do concert ministry, increase musicianship through seminars, raise up a youth band, children's band? etc.
c. Action Plan - How are we going to accomplish our goals? Being on a worship band is a time-intensive commitment, and should be taken very seriously. Our people are wanting to enter new dimensions of worship, and that requires a rededication on our part to personal practice and prayer.

Everyone on the worship band should lead in some area:
1. by attitude
2. in their willingness to serve
3. in bringing in new music (not just the job of the minister of music)
4. by recruiting others
5. by making sure they are the best they can be, both musically and spiritually

pg 2

Building And Maintaining A Worship Band

2. Language of Worship - We need wording that is simple, specific, easily understandable and communicates both in spiritual concepts and musical terms. CLEAR COMMUNICATION!!

a. "Let's just worship the Lord" - This expression has a different meaning for almost all of us, from the kind of music it evokes to body language to emotions.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."(Col. 3:16-17)

Here is a relationship to singing and worship (everything we do, do it to Jesus). To worship is to bow down (Daniel 3), to kiss the hand (referring to both God and the devil in the gospels; Matt. 2, 4, 9 14, 15, 18, 20, etc.), to be reverential (Acts 17).

What does worship look like? Sound like? Is this worship to be exuberant, loud shouting? Or quiet, calm, reflection?

b. anointing ("smearing, rubbing, pouring, mixing") The doing is on God, not us ("You anoint my head with oil" - Ps. 23:5; "He (Jesus) anointed the eyes of the blind man with mud" - John 9:6). We cannot work up the anointing that is God's gift. The anointing is also a teacher: "the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit, just as it has taught you remain in Him." (I John 2:27). So the anointing is out to accomplish many things: healing, teaching, filling us with God himself. The Comforter has come.

c. the song of the Lord - This is an expression that is common in charismatic churches which seems to connote that one song has preeminence over others because of its special anointing, or that it was used once in a special way. This phrase (the song of the Lord) is not found in scripture, and too much importance can be ascribed to a certain song. I believe there are songs that are timeless (Holy, Holy, Holy), songs that are simple but powerful (Praise the Name of Jesus, one of the first choruses ever written), and songs that are used for a season and then discarded (I See the Lord, The King is Coming). There is no one song that is The song of the Lord, but whatever song that is appropriate for the moment.

d. playing in the spirit - (I Sam. 16) Sometimes mistaken for noodling. Most often this occurs at the end of a song, when one or more members of the worship band begin to improvise. We should not shy away from improvisatory playing, but be very judicious in calling all of our extemporaneous music playing in the spirit. The proof is in the fruit it produces: brokenness, humility, joy, healing, restoration, repentance, etc. One thing we have learned recently in the Vineyard: emotional or musical displays don't necessarily translate into a move of the Holy Spirit.

pg 3

Building And Maintaining A Worship Band

3. Personal practice - you (as a worship band) are the soul of the worship experience for your fellowship: the congregation will only go as far as you take them.

1. self-practice: scales, arpeggios, articulation, phrasing, dynamics, practicing with a metronome. DAILY!!
2. self-arranging - begin thinking about how you play songs:
  • a. note choice: melody or harmony? obligato? many notes or sustained notes? rhythm: simplify (make every note count).
  • b. where to play in the arrangement - (usually from beginning to end) be selective; don't "wear out" the listener, make everything you do count.
4. Personal Spiritual Growth
 1. Are you committed to your church? are you a member? Do you tithe? Are you involved in any small groups/prayer groups? How is your prayer life, Bible study?
2. What is your motivation for being on the worship band (personal recognition vs. service)? If this was the extent of your musical outlet, would you be satisfied? Do you view this as a stepping stone to something else?
3. What can you give to the worship band? (Besides the obvious musical ability, can you arrange music? write? do slides? be the librarian? coordinate rehearsals? arrange social times? help with special music?) To serve is to mature in the spirit.
4. How do you handle disappointment, criticism, suggestions? The more public you become, the more a target you are to criticism (that's why so many of us don't witness: fear of criticism). We must deal with these issues if we are to fulfill our destiny in God.
5. Are you in growth relationships with others? Mentoring? Discipling? Prayer groups? Bible studies? This is a must for handling disappointments, etc. (see above).

5. Group Rehearsal
1. Be on time!
2. Pray.
3. Get the music early if you need to.
4. Talk about the song before you play it. (Form, style, instrumentation, meaning of lyrics, dynamics. You may or may not want to listen to a recorded version of the song. Will your arrangement vary from the record? etc.)
5. If you can't hear the other musicians, you're playing to loud.
6. Play less than you think you need to. (self-arrange)
7. Don't worry if you don't get it on the first rehearsal. (Most of us don't.)
8. When you are feeling confident about the music, take some risks (but try to do it in practice first).

pg 3