For about 13 years, I have played drums for worship teams. In the last 3-4 years, I have been leading teams from guitar and piano. It’s certainly been challenging to learn new instruments and learn how to lead others – while worshiping from the heart. All to say, I’ve had some diverse experience.
I’ve noticed something within “church worship.”
With awesome bands (Hillsong, Elevation, Bethel, JesusCulture, etc) playing awesome songs, in the local church we tend want to replicate the sound and feel of those cool bands. And that’s great.
However, it seems as though our worship teams can become sort of like “Christian music cover bands.”
We want to be relevant and cool. And we want to play the songs just like the records. (On the flip side, we’ve all had a favorite song ruined when a team doesn’t try at all, amirite?)
The question I’m asking is though: do we view the worship team as a team that plays other people’s songs …or is it a worship band?
Why does this matter?
A band is organic. A band creates worship. A band needs unity. A band creates new things.
Most worship teams are volunteer musicians. Lacking equipment and people, often it feels like a rag-tag group trying to get through the latest [insert big name here] song. Bigger churches often have professional musicians whose skills and equipment are more developed. They play songs just like the records. It’s awesome. But often they’re just covering others music.
Both are trying to be like someone else.
What if we stop pressuring ourselves to be just like someone else?
What if the local church viewed the worship team more as a band. Like your own, real, band that creates new songs, plays songs differently, all to lead people to worship.
As team members, what if you viewed yourself more as a band member. Someone who intentionally grows and humbly serves. Someone who can create new things. You don’t have to try to replicate worship moments from a record…you can create new ones.
I’m not saying give up on musicianship or quality. Or to be prideful and try to make the local worship team more than it is. It doesn’t matter if you call it a team or a band.
But there’s unity when your focus is creating worship that leads people to encounter God.
This perspective shift is humility in your musicianship. What an honor we can serve others and worship Jesus.
I’ve walked away from many worship sessions complaining about what I didn’t do right or what was a struggle. I think that was a “Christian music cover band” perspective. A focus on perfection.
In reality, He really just wants my heart.
Maybe if we look at our teams through more of that “band” lens, we can focus on worshiping God with our hearts. From there, we create and serve the worship times we lead, rather than pursing replication or perfection.