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I think it's crucial to evaluate the level of distractions, even going to lengths like interviewing members and semi-new visitors to ask about their candid thoughts on the worship experience.
Frankly, we can't afford to give any less than excellence. If a member of the band is being distracting either by their obnoxious clothing choices or bizarre guitar effects, I think it's up to the worship pastor to constantly be nipping those issues in the bud.
Choosing to eliminate distractions is obviously easier said than done, but if it isn't a constant goal of creating (what I call) a 'submersive worship experience', we're missing the point.
How would you manage that when everyone has different subjective views on what's a distraction, or on what's excellent? Some people think it's too loud, others think it's too quiet. Some people want newer songs, others think you're introducing too many new songs too quickly. Some people think anything less than suit is disrespectful, while others feel over-conscious about their own casual attire if they see the band all in suits. You can't please everyone and in a large enough congregation you'll find one nitpicker for almost everything the band does.
So how do you worship leaders manage this? Or if you left it up to the pastor, how does he (or do you wish he would) manage this?
Loved reading everyone's thoughts on distractions and spent the entire time reading wondering how many of these we commit every week as a worship team/leaders. I think we are 9/10. For us, it's how you handle the distractions. SO now that I am past my guilt of distracting worship on a weekly basis with my 'you-can-count-on-them-technical-difficulties'.....
The only other thing that stuck out to me was... Hosiery!?!?! Oh my stars, if we required ladies to wear hosiery I would be completely confused, as would 98% of the women who grace our stage. (Being a mostly male forum, this is foreign to you, but hosiery is HORRIBLE and HEINOUS, hence the alliteration).
My #1 distraction/pet peeve are people that let their kids go to the bathroom during the service EVERY week. Every week. It's an hour, every week. Just like last week. Plan ahead. (Again, this is probably personal).
I have to say as far as hosiery, they have seemed to back off on that a bit, especially in the summertime. But, our gals and young ladies that are wearing a dress or skirt usually have leggings or something on under it anyways (whether they are singing that service or not), so it's not really an issue. Truth be told, some of the bright shiny tights/leggings things, and fishnet or funky design pantyhose can be more of a distraction than anything else.
Now I must say that I've never actually seen the leader ask anyone to sit out a service because they weren't wearing pantyhose under their dress.
The main driver for the pantyhose thing was the platform is elevated about 3 feet, and people (usually kids but some adults) come up to the area in front of the platform. It's not very deep, so the singers were more toward the edge. So, as our singers especially are moving about, they may inadvertently show off a little more than they bargained for, so the pantyhose stipulation was added to help minimize the issue. But, we've rearranged some things on the platform so it's not as much of a concern as it used to be.
It's the same thing with the 'bend over test'- we used to do more meet & greet during the worship set, and the kids all liked the high fives from the singers, who would have to bend over to give the high fives....
I had to chuckle at the kids and bathroom remark too. Our pastor has actually made mention of that a few times- lighthearted but serious- take the kiddies to the bathroom before coming in or they can hold it, just like school.
If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.
I actually really appreciate your original post. After I read David Platt's book Radical, I couldn't help but view our worship planning through the lens of the book. There are so many "minors" that we major on. As a worship leader, I get so frustrated that the comments I get from folks include, how fast/slow the hymn was sung, how they like the title of the song on each page (or not on each page of ppt), that the song was about a min too long, etc etc. I do grieve because in my own life I experience deep and true worship and if folks are so focused on shiny shoes or delayed ppt, then are they really focusing on God or on the "presentation"? Is their worship so fragile that if someone hits a wrong note they can't worship?
What I have done is try to shift the focus of worship (I'm new in my position) from one of ministering to people to one of glorifying God. I think that this is making a big difference- even with those who were on the worship team. People are noticing that the focus is off of them (you know, all the "me" songs) and back on God...and are commenting that they are experiencing deeper worship during the service. I'm trying to lead by example- and if the focus is totally on God, then hopefully that message becomes stronger than anyone's personal likes or dislikes.
On the flip side, I have had to let some folks go because of lack of skill and I've implemented a "do not be a distraction" dress code.