Lately, I’ve been astounded at some of the “horror stories” I hear from church musicians regarding the way worship pastors have led their teams – tales of selfishness and ego and manipulation.
Most of have seen it firsthand. And some of us have done it.
Today, we’re talking very practically about what “praise team abuse” looks like.
How do you know if you’re abusing your team?
I’m going to go ahead and start with a very simple, very obvious request:
Don’t yell at your team. EVER.
Oh, if there’s a monitor feeding back or you need everybody to quiet down for a second, sure, but this thing where worship leaders get angry and blow up at their teams has got to go. Worship leaders are good at making excuses (“I was just really tired” or “They wouldn’t do what I wanted” or “Nobody’s gonna’ disrespect me in front of the team”,) but I honestly believe that yelling at your team doesn’t produce one single true positive result. You may scare them into obeying you, but in the long run, you’ll regret raising your voice in anger.
Are there times when a worship leader has to stand his or her ground? Sure. But it’s my theory that those moments are few and far between and hardly every have anything to do with monitor mixes or song arrangements or dumb stuff like that.
This is a big one for most of us. One easy way we manipulate our teams and take them for granted is creating an environment that’s extremely inconvenient for them. We don’t provide them with resources or try to make sure the church is taking care of their gear or we expect them to know exactly what we want without telling them the first thing.
Doing this is dangerous stuff. I’d venture that this is almost always a factor in someone stepping down from a praise team. We want our people to understand service, but as worship leaders, we have a responsibility to pastor them.
Practically, this can take a lot of different forms – consistently showing up late to rehearsals when the teams ready to start, changing too much on the fly and getting frustrated when the team can’t go where you envision, etc. Unfortunately, this is something all musicians struggle with…be thoughtful of your team!
This last one is probably not as visible as the others. (It’s hard to miss a guy yelling at his team or a girl who makes her band wait around.) But your team can spot pride a mile away. I’m operating on stage or back stage in a way that’s intent on glorifying yourself or comforting your own insecurities and not paying attention to the needs of others, those closest to me will know it…immediately.
This abuses the team in two ways: Primarily because I’m not living like Christ by exalting myself over others. Secondly, it models a terrible attitude for my other teammates. You’d be surprised at how many team members “learn” pride from their leaders. Yikes!
There’s no way we can list all the ways worship pastors abuse their people. But these three tend to be quite common among us. Maybe you’ve read this and realized that you’ve done some of this stuff. Maybe you’re curious how things can get so bad, so fast.
Next time, we dig a little deeper into how this sort of abuse happens…and what we can do to combat it!