The past six years have given me an interesting perspective on worship ministry. I don’t just play guitar for a church, I also lead the worship ministry at my church as well as play electric guitar for other worship leaders around my area.
I have always enjoyed the perspective of being the worship and band leader as well as being the worship and band follower from time to time. There is nothing like leading worship to help me grow as a guitarists and there is nothing like playing guitar for someone else to help me grow and gain new perspective about leading worship.
For today, we are going to try an experiment. Today, you are going to read a post from Jed the worship leader, rather than Jed the guitarist.
As a worship leader their are a few qualities that I look for and value in the musicians I play with. These are also qualities I try to have when I am playing guitar for other worship leaders. These qualities can help you be a valued member of any worship team or band.
1. Reliable. You can be a good player. You can be a great player. But if you’re not reliable in the simple things like showing up on time, learning new songs and new parts, and having a good attitude, it will drive your worship leader nuts.
Every worship leader I have met would prefer to have musicians that are dependable and eager to serve than musicians who are skilled but can’t be relied on to do the simple things. Worship leaders have a lot to “worry” about. Don’t be one of them. Rather, inspire confidence in the leaders you are serving. Be the musician that your worship leader never has to worry about.
2. Flexible. Very few things ever really go exactly as planned. Life is full of surprises. Many of us have had those times when you show up for rehearsal just to find out that the drummer has food poisoning. All of sudden that great fuzz tone we dialed in all week seems a little out of place.
You never know what will happen. You may be play with a different bass player one week and you may have to adjust your tones accordingly. You may have a substitute worship leader one week, and this worship leader feels like every song sounds better in B flat. When worship leaders ask us to adjust or change, it’s usually not there first choice. They probably would like to do things the “normal” but circumstances outside of their control have changed and they (and you) have to adjust accordingly.
Then you have those worship leaders who never do anything the same way twice, whether it’s deliberate or not. Be flexible for them, too.
3. Know your worship leader. I have been thinking about this one quite a bit lately. I may do a post on this alone at some point.
This next sentence may sound a little strange. When I’m playing electric guitar, I’m not really concerned about sounding like myself. I’m not saying I’m trying to be another guitarist. I simply feel that my own personality will come through no matter what so sounding like myself is low on my list of priorities because I feel it will work itself out by default.
What is high on my priorities list is figuring out what the worship leader is like? What is my worship leaders style? What is my worship leaders influences? What do they expect from me as a guitarist? What can I do to make the worship leader confident in musical taste? What is their musical taste?
My goal isn’t to totally transform myself for every worship leader. My goal is to put forward the parts of my playing and style that line up with the worship leader and the worship environment. I’m trying to figure out the worship leader so I can find the space where their taste and preferences overlap with my playing than expand and amplify that space.
The better you know your worship leader the easier it will be to do the previous two points. Every worship leader has their style, their preferences, and their personality. If you can predict their wants and adjust accordingly, you will make them a very happy worship leader.
4. Eager to Worship. Playing guitar isn’t enough. It’s never enough. There is more going on just playing music and riff with really good tone and if there isn’t then your in trouble. A P&W guitarist is there to worship and to inspire worship in other people. God is worthy of worship…even from tone freaks. Even from you. If we are playing guitar and not worshiping we are missing the point of playing guitar. Allow me to also suggest that we are missing the point of life.
The times I have learned the most are the times when I can look through the eyes of someone else. Hopefully for you this help you get a glimpse of your worship leader’s perspective.