In a previous “Together-ness” article I shared how great an experience it can be when your worship band is in essence your small group. In my opinion, the worship band can be one of the most closely knit group of friends within a church group because of their shared purpose, interests, and talents.
However, there are times when the only time we see the people in our worship band is when we are in church. What happens when rehearsal is really the only opportunity to connect with others but there’s just not enough time set aside to go any deeper than just sharing a few songs together (while serving the congregation)?
Nothing can be more disheartening than hearing about other bands or groups who have amazing connections and friendships and then looking at your own situation and not seeing those happening. I’ve been there myself.
Here’s a few thoughts for the worship leader/team member who finds themselves in this situation:
- What an amazing privilege to serve your congregation with the people next to you in the band! Don’t lose heart!
- Just because you share common purpose and the same general talents doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll always go deep in friendship with those people.
- Deep friendships are organic, but like anything organic there are ALWAYS certain necessary factors to the blossoming and growth of those relationships. We’ll look at those a little bit later.
- “Small groups” (or deep friendships with a small group of people) don’t just magically appear. YOU hold just as much responsibility for helping to facilitate the organic growth of your friendships as the other people do. Whining about how no one ever invites you anywhere isn’t fruitful. How about inviting someone to hang with YOU!
GET UNSPIRITUAL TO GET SPIRITUAL
A lot of times we try to over-spiritualize our approach to creating deep, God-centered friendships within the “church” setting. We think that we HAVE to have 15 minutes of fellowship, a few songs, 20 minute Bible study, and then desert. I say quit trying so hard. Biblical friendships are similar to “being the church.” We are not the Church because we “go to church” and receive spiritual spoon feedings to make us better Christians. We ARE the Church because we ARE the Church. It’s who God created us to be. We ARE the Church because of who Christ is IN us.
The same applies to deep friendships. Your friendships aren’t deep because you meet once a week and do the same things over and over. You’re a great friend to someone because you ARE a great friend to someone. It’s who God created you to be. You’re a great friend because of the connection, ya know, Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
That being said, of course, we have to nurture our friendships, in the same way we have to nurture our “being the Church.” I know a ton of people who are mad skilled at a particular something, but aren’t great at what they do because they never nurture it. You know the person who is an amazing guitarist, but never practices and therefore misses out on a level of greatness and realized potential.
Our friendships are the same way. Start small. Get unspiritual. Think outside the Christianese box. Instead of trying to cram deep, meaningful friendships into a once a week rehearsal or Sunday gathering, start on Monday.
- Invite someone to lunch.
- Invite someone to your home to watch a movie or sporting event.
- Help someone with a project.
- Throw a party for the team (even if you’re not the leader).
- Get an ice cream after rehearsal with someone.
The thing is that by letting go of preconceived notions about how we’re supposed to “go deep” and starting by simply creating opportunities to build friendship you’ll see that the desired deep friendships will begin to blossom and grow OUTSIDE of the rehearsals and Sunday gatherings.
A few tips
- Start small. You’re entire worship band won’t be able to hang out with you every week. Pick one or two other people and just hang out.
- Don’t force it. If people can’t or even don’t want to hang out, then be sensitive to their desires. Just because you want together-ness doesn’t mean that they do.
- Don’t whine. If people aren’t including you in what appears to be fun, friendship building activities, please don’t whine about it front of those same people. It actually reinforces the possibility that you’ll never be included. If that is the case, make it point to create your own opportunites (and start small).
- Pay attention to your rehearsal/gathering buddies. The people that you seem to click with when you’re actually doing the worship band thing might be the best place to start for developing a closer circle of friends. If the alto doesn’t ever laugh at your jokes, you might want to try the bass player.
- Nothing better than food. Food is, I think, God’s gift to humanity. It’s the ultimate ice breaker. Some of the best open doors into deep friendship for me have been over lunch. Never underestimate the power of a well-timed burrito.
If you’re in a situation where it seems like this idea of “Together-ness” is a far fetched fantasy don’t fret! Just remember that God WANTS us to connect on a deeper level than just once or twice a week. It is really OK to want to pursue deep friendship. So go for it!