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Non-musician worship leader looking for advice / Encouragement

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  • Non-musician worship leader looking for advice / Encouragement

    Hello! I'm new to the site and had been reading a little bit in past posts and hadn't come across anything (as of yet) as to my area of concern so, here goes!

    I have been worship leader for a total of two years at my church. Initially I was only interim until someone else could be found. That person was found and then left again after several months. Further delving into the persons work history showed that this was a routine occurrence for them, but that is a different matter completely. Needless to say, I was called on again to serve and did so happily. I missed being able to lead worship and felt the desire to do so again anyway. This, however, leads to my issue. We have been using a blended musical approach to our services for several years. I would select songs out of our library of titles for the beginning of the service and then hymns from the hymnal for the middle (before the sermon) and the closing invitation. We have had a woman who would play piano for the hymns but, as of late, she has had more things coming up medically and personally which has lead me to either choose from the more contemporary songs that we have or find sites where more traditional hymns were played on piano/organ to download as tracks. This has all been in an effort to keep the older, more traditional minded members of the church happy. Don't get me wrong, I love singing hymns as well and think that they most definitely hold a place in worship! My problem is that without someone to play the piano, the more modern forms of supplying music have to take over. The fact that I don't have the ability to play piano (or any other instrument for that matter) also bleeds over into practice times with the rest of the praise team. Practices essentially boil down to run-throughs with very little ability to actually focus in on problem areas. Yes, using an iPad the approximate section that is causing problems can be located and repeated but if there is an actual issue musically it can be hard to iron out. I guess what I'm trying to say is there are a lot of times when I feel that I may be hindering the worship of our church rather than aiding it. When Christmas and Easter roll around, there are no cantatas, no special concerts. Even finding people to sing specials can be problematic with my hesitation at trying to find good singer/music combinations. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels here and it has really started to worry me that maybe I shouldn't be doing this at all. I've started to wonder if I shouldn't just tell the church council to start looking for a new worship leader/pastor. I love what I do here, but I can't help feel like I'm letting people down.

    Very frustrated,

  • #2
    Hey Dave,

    This is where the lack of instrumental experience/ability can make you feel like the weak link in the chain, But it's also an opportunity to challenge your musicians to figure out how to play the hymns or create guitar-friendly arrangements (or find them online)

    Assuming you have guitar players, this is where they can take the hymns and transpose them, rearrange them, make it work.

    Being a leader isn't having all the answers and saving the day, Sometimes it's pushing your team to rise up to the challenge and figure it out.

    I don't lead a worship team but I lead a great team of 20 or so highly technical and very smart customer support reps. What I've learned over the years is when we face a tough challenge, we deliver the best results when I empower them to discover the solution. They work together and come up with great ideas that work. They have ownership in it, they are engaged and it gets stuff done.

    My suggestion- tackle it together. See if you can find other arrangements of the hymns. See if your team can come up with a way to make it happen.
    If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.


    • #3
      Hi Dave,

      I note this is a slightly older post, so first of all, how is this issue going?

      I have recently left my old church and am looking for a new one, but at my old church, we had several non-muso WLs. They struggled with the musical direction of services, in a manner very similar to what you have described.

      The way they got around this was to have a music director (MD) whenever they were rostered on to WL. They would work closely with their MD during rehearsal, looking to the MD whenever something did not sound right or when there was a musical decision to be made. The MD was a muso in the band who provided support to the WL and helped coach the band through any musical difficulties. The MD also stepped in when band members had conflicting opinions about what was happening in a song.

      The MD is a life-saver. If you can, find yourself an MD. Then you can lead confidently, without feeling you have to know everything about music.

      Hope this helps!