If the mega-church movement brought anything negative to the landscape of local church ministry, it’s the “concert” vibe. Over the past fifteen years, churches have started looking and sounding more like performance venues than churches.
Add in weird, insecure people (read: worship leaders) and we end up having folks on stage who treat the congregational worship of God like a late night gig somewhere.
Consider these three things as you prepare to lead worship.
THEY’RE THE SINGERS, NOT YOU
You know what’s fun about doing a gig? The whole crowd doesn’t sing along the whole time. You can get loose with the phrasing or yell the whole the last chorus or do that stupid whisper thing that Bono does all the time.
Try that at church and things get interesting. Oh, you’ll have their attention all right, but it will more of a why-is-this-idiot-turning-our-church-into-a-discotheque. (I know nobody says ‘discotheque’ anymore. But dang, that’s a beautiful word.)
Corporate singing is kinda’ the thing about leading worship. You writhing around a microphone doing your best Michael Buble is pretty much the opposite of that.
THE SPACE BETWEEN MATTERS
At a gig, when a song’s over and the smattering of applause dies, that’s break time. Because folks are eating or drinking or playing Galaga in the back of the room, bands typically use those two minutes to re-tune or talk to one another off mic. There’s often a good bit of silence in most gigs while people player gear up for the next song.
Silence in church is a whole different thing. There is a value for quiet and meditation, but it’s not so you can walk over to the drummer to yell at him that you’re gonna’ change the key of the song. When you lead worship, you gotta’ be aware of the space between songs – what are you gonna’ do that’s helpful and wise in moving to the next element of the service.
And pleasepleaseplease don’t let the church band do that stupid thing where somebody just plays a random chord or hits the kick drum three or four times in between songs. We can hear you, guys. No need to make sure you’re amplified every four minutes.
When you take off that guitar or walk over to the keyboard at a gig, it’s all good. You don’t have to say much. Those in the club who are watching, won’t worry much about it. Heck, you got all this time between songs, why not grab up that drop-D classical guitar for your power ballad, right?
Church is harder. I’m not a big fan of the worship leader changing instruments, but I realize it can helpful to play in a different tuning or to let a different instrument drive a song. Just know that changing what you’re playing in a worship setting requires a little thought and planning. And saying, “Um, I’m gunna’ go over there now, ‘kay?” isn’t really good enough.
What did I miss?
What “gig” things make their way into corporate worship?