(Austin Stone Worship Note: This post is the first in a series on how band members can serve their worship leaders, and the first in a two-part post from Kyle on this topic. Part 2 can be found here.)
Part 1: Be Faithful, Serve the Vision
At the Austin Stone, we highly value a “band-centric” environment for our worship, a group of guys/girls that are committed to the group as a whole. Among other things, that means that we try to grow together as a family would.
And, like a family, we’ll be more effective when we know the vision of the family and be faithful to it. If you are a member in a worship band, that means finding where you fit and being faithful to that role as long as God calls you there, even if it is not your favorite place to serve. Our music and art will be better when we have a solidified team for the long term, working towards the same vision and goals. That means that we frequently need to re-orient our individual outlook to make sure it is lining up with the vision that the worship leader is striving towards.
A Lesson From David
One of the unfortunate things that I have seen often in my years of traveling is worship musicians who see their role as trying to “usurp” the vision and leadership of the worship leader they are serving under. They want to be the leader, and not necessarily for pure motives. They may be seeking the spotlight instead of God and they might perceive the worship leader as getting the glory they want.
Often the result is not outright rebellion, but it is obvious in their lack of faithful support of the vision of the worship leader. Failing to complete the tasks your worship leader has given you shows a lack of faithful support.
David, the man after God’s own heart, had a great outlook on leadership and faithful service. In fact, we can learn a lot from how he handled his unique situation to see how we should respond in kind. 1 Samuel finds David in a strange position: having been anointed as the next king of Israel by God through Samuel, he is still in service to Saul as long as he is king. We even find David defending Saul despite Saul’s attempts to kill him! His reason is revealed at a moment when he had the chance to take Saul’s life: “I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.” (1 Samuel 24:10)
Musicians, if the Lord has you serving under a worship leader, you are meant to do just that: serve faithfully. There may come a day when you are the one casting vision and leading the team, but until that day, your call is to serve the vision of the worship leader as he leads others in the pursuit of Christ. Humble service always trumps outspoken ambition. This is contrary to how our culture says we should ourselves become leaders, but it is the example of Christ. Indeed, Christ Himself came to serve and not to be served (Mark 10:45), and His obedience in service was so extreme that He quite literally humbled Himself to death (Philippians 2:5-11).
Good leaders can always identify those who have served the family faithfully and have sacrificed for the vision. I will always trust those who have shown themselves faithful in the small things more than I will those who have spent their entire time with me extolling their own virtues and trying to force their own vision on the rest of the team.
I want to tackle a few more practical examples in part two, but for now, suffice it to say that the best longterm service you can offer the worship leader you play with is asking questions like:
- “Where are we failing?”
- “Is our band driving towards what you are wanting?”
- “What tasks do you have that I can assist with?”
Remember, you are leading the body of Christ in your worship, and how you serve the body of Christ is a good indicator of where your walk with Christ Himself is. At the end of the day, you are working not for men, but for God (Galatians 1:10).