Guest post by Tim Tribble
Imagine for a moment that you are walking into a church for the first time. As the service nears commencing you notice the band come out, shuffle their lyrics and sheet music on their music stands and pose as a well rehearsed unit.
Meanwhile, you notice mid first song that the bass player hasn’t looked up, the vocalists are in a constant posture of prayer and the guitarist appears to be studying micro-biology with his chord chart.
Many of today’s churches are limiting their effectiveness in being able to provide an engaging worship experience because they are too afraid to remove the music stands in fear of the fall out of raising standards.
1. It will supercharge engagement
Your role as a worship team in a service is to provide an atmosphere where doubt, despair, sorrow and regret have no foothold.
It sounds really simple but removing the stands will remove a personal barrier between you and the congregation for a purpose of authenticity.
When the congregation can make eye contact with a vocalist or musician who truly believes in what they are singing it communicates 100 times more than just words on a screen.
93% of communication is non-verbal. Don’t share your testimony with a music stand, remove the barrier and communicate your passion to someone who walked into your church looking for hope.
2. It will force you to choose who you lose
A good leader wants everyone on the team.
A great leader recognizes where the weakness is, makes efforts to coach and offer training, but then also knows when it’s time for people to move on.
Great leaders won’t sacrifice the potential of the organization to appease those who choose not to improve.
Removing the stand will remove the excuse. You will lose players or singers who simply don’t have the time to practice.
It’s a risk you have to take.
You will lose engagement if the music set is distracting because people don’t know their specific parts or if the set is poorly executed. Which group of people are you prepared to lose? For us, losing engagement and the possibility of people coming to Christ wasn’t a risk we were willing to take.
3. It will strengthen your team
Every person on a team is accountable to one another. That’s what makes it a team.
When the worship team is comprised of people who are genuinely trying to grow themselves in their craft it creates an accountability structure where you count on one another to rehearse the parts, know the setlist and transitions.
There’s no room for personal agendas.
Everyone is striving for the excellence. Removing cheat sheets and stands will put an expectation on each player to rehearse what they are responsible for and bring it to practice.
Teams that lack responsibility and accountability often rely on apathetic habits which can only produce mediocre results.
4. It will free you up to genuinely worship
Memorization is internalization.
We commit to mind and heart what is generally very important to us. As leaders in the music department, we should be in a mindset of worship all week long and not just on Sundays.
Knowing the songs off by heart and having the structure well practiced and transitions smooth will allow you to embrace what you are trying to deliver to those in your church.
Have you ever been in a worship service where you were so worried about the next tag or bridge that you emotionally disengaged from the experience altogether? If you said yes to that question, chances are you took some of your audience with you.
Study your lyrics, commit them to heart, memorize your chords and practice it exhaustively with your team until it becomes second nature, then watch how engaged you become in the exact thing you are working to project.
5. It will expand your recruitment list!
Anyone out there need more members on their team? Of course we do, we are always looking for people, but why aren’t people always lining up to volunteer?
To put it simply, excellence begets excellence.
You attract what you are. If the quality of what you produce isn’t inspiring then its time to step it up a notch.
There’s a reason this is the last point. Until you remove the crutch, you will never fully trust yourself to walk on your own. Trusting your team to grow is necessary before you can run as a team.
Raise the standard of your team to a level that people can’t find in a karaoke club on a Friday night. People love to be pushed provided is done with love and they know that you have their best interest at heart.