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"I doubt I'll play in church again. That's a young man's game"

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  • "I doubt I'll play in church again. That's a young man's game"

    So here's the situation...

    In my work band, we have a new drummer. I've known him casually for 10 years, we used to work in the same department. As I've moved around to other roles, we lost touch. Now that he's playing in our work band, we've had a chance to get caught up.

    He's a top-shelf drummer too. Guy can play anything from rock, country, blues, rockabilly, jazz, you name it. He's mid 40s, athletic, pleasant personality, a bit introverted, and he's a born-again believer that was regularly playing in his church (a fairly big church at the time).

    Long story short, he's not going to church there anymore. He's been going to another church. So I asked him if he's still playing drums in church, and he looks down and lets out a sigh, he says "No, I haven't played in church in quite awhile. I doubt I'll play in church again. That's a young man's game". I said, "what do you mean?" He proceeds to talk about the trend of these young-adult teams like we've discussed here before. He didn't directly say so, but I got the impression he was turned down because he didn't fit the age group they wanted.

    Here's a guy- a mature, stable born-again, blood-bought Christian, served the Lord a long time, talent oozing out of his ears, with a heart to serve, being benched because he's not 20. Moreover, he's all but resigned himself to this idea he's too old to serve on the platform anymore.

    This issue is personal to me and many others as we see the trend of 'aging out' of the ministry we've held dear for so long. Last I knew, God didn't give His anointing on musicians an expiration date. I also fail to see a scriptural or doctrinal basis for it. As sincere as the intentions may be for doing that, it's sincerely wrong. But they are the one that will have to explain it to Jesus someday.

    This is one area I love my church. We have 3 generations on our team and it's awesome. It's not perfect, but when we have a guest minister or speaker (some from churches of 1000 people) tell our pastor how anointed and powerful our team is, it makes me think we are doing something right. Not to brag on my team, but we have the older raising up the younger, we have great chemistry and low drama, and musical maturity. Most importantly, we are walking in our anointing and serving the Lord Most High.

    With all that being said, I'm praying for my drummer friend to not give up. Also, for anyone else out there that's had to deal with this issue, don't give up. God will open doors and make away for you to serve in your calling.

  • Smitty
    replied
    Well said, Mike! I absolutely agree. I have no idea what the next 20 years will look like, but I know that we will have our work cut out for us. That said...I'm in!

    Leave a comment:


  • Mike on Bass
    replied
    With where this discussion is going, it would be a timely read for Russ' recent blog posts on the main page about multi-generational worship and reaching millennials.

    I'm a hobby statistician so I have been looking into the Barna data. There are a couple of key points that Russ highlights that play right in to this disucssion

    * Millennials report that they are being drawn to churches where they feel they are a part of the 'family' and growing weary of the age-targeted approach. They are reporting a dislike of churches "marketing" Jesus to their age group with hip-looking worship bands, coffee bars, etc., especially when they are light on the Gospel message and strong Biblical teaching

    * They want to be involved in the church- they want more involvement, more engagement and more influence. They want to be involved in a culture that spans generations and makes them feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves.

    It really is an eye-opener to some of a collective line of thinking that we have going on.

    We have a specific style of music (mainly modern pop/rock with some R&B and folk occasionally mixed in) that we play and some of those people either could not mentally shift gears in how they played or refused to learn something new (or just didn't have the musical ability). Some of them had good hearts and some of them were simply unwilling to follow or receive feedback from someone younger than them. Unfortunately age doesn't always equal maturity or humility or even musical ability.
    Absolutely valid points. I can relate to the older people not always wanting to respect the feedback from someone younger. I've been on both sides of that fence. Part of it is the older people having too much pride/stubbornness to receive coaching from people they perceive as inexperienced. On the other side, I've experienced young leaders come in prideful and full of youthful egoism. They are going to show us old guys how it's done, church leadership has given them enough rope to hang themselves, and that's exactly what they do. They either get burned out and quit ministry or run the team into the ground and get fired.

    Being successful takes a balance youthful enthusiasm and sage wisdom. Change has to be strategic, not just trying to reinvent the wheel. One has to develop a sixth sense of where the landmines are and avoid them. One's experience of doing it for 20 years' is a wealth of insight, but this isn't 1995 anymore. We have to do things different to reach the next harvest. We all have to be open to learn and grow together.

    I'd really recommend for people to check out Russ' articles and links- some great information in there that should help people rethink how we've been doing all aspects of church, not just worship.

    Leave a comment:


  • DunedinDragon
    replied
    This really kind of opens up a completely different area of discussion. I think there are times we make assumptions about who we are and what we need which then limits us in discovering what we could become. Whether young or old, people can came into a worship team with a set of skills that, on the surface, don't seem to match the current feel of what the worship team does. We often look for a replacement to be the clone of the person they are replacing. If we do that we automatically limit the contribution they might make and how it could be a very positive influence on the worship team. Different doesn't always mean "bad". It just means different.

    I think back to when we needed to find a replacement for our drummer due to the demands of his job. We brought in a much younger drummer. Our original drummer was not flashy, but was incredibly consistent in timing. The newer, younger drummer was much flashier and really brought out the dynamics in a lot of our songs. Had we said he was too flashy for our style I think we would have suffered. His timing might not have been as consistent, but that was easily fixed using click tracks. But by incorporating his particular skills we became a much better team.

    Leave a comment:


  • danielled
    replied
    Originally posted by Doc Kavanagh View Post
    My opinion only : If your congregation is younger or your target demographic is younger , try and draw younger players to your team . On the other hand , we are blessed with boomers in our congregation . They grew up with and love Beatles , Stones , Doobies , Fleetwood Mac , Eagles . The CCLI Top 100 that we lead with is not all that different . We have found that our congregation , many aged 50 and 60 relates well to , and worships readily with the Chris Tomlin , Paul Baloche , Hillsong , Matt Redman that we offer them . Presented well , the odd 30 year olds and 80 year olds in our congregation will worship to these songs , as well .

    That said , I always have an ear to K Love and the CDs that Worship Leader magazine sends out with newer / younger songs because I realize we cannot get mired in the past . To do our part in spreading the Gospel through music , we must be trying our best to stay young and relevant . I encourage every team leader to seek out younger musicians , newer , younger music . Work to stay fresh and relevant .

    That said , our team has only one thirty year old , and all the rest range from late 50s to their 80s . And they CAN rock ! So don't throw us old geezers out the door yet !
    I think this is a really good point in the discussion. Over the last few years there have been a few "older" people either on our team or auditioning for the team who we chose not to bring on. We have a specific style of music (mainly modern pop/rock with some R&B and folk occasionally mixed in) that we play and some of those people either could not mentally shift gears in how they played or refused to learn something new (or just didn't have the musical ability). Some of them had good hearts and some of them were simply unwilling to follow or receive feedback from someone younger than them. Unfortunately age doesn't always equal maturity or humility or even musical ability.

    However the ones with good hearts that were able to play in the style we do at our church are wonderful, valued members of our team All that to say that it may not be an issue of age, in and of itself, but more an issue of stylistic, generational differences.

    I would also add that there are a lot of incredibly talented musicians in their twenties. Not all, of course, but youth provides a lot of time for honing your skills. When my husband was younger he would spend up to 8 hours some days practicing guitar! I can't imagine finding the time for that with jobs and family now.

    We can all learn from each other in a variety of areas--I don't think you can necessarily box it in to say that all older musicians are better or that all young people are immature or lacking in integrity. That's why the church is a body. We all bring something different and valuable to the table regardless of our age.


    Editing to add: when I say stylistic/generational differences I'm referring to musical styles--not appearance And usually the style is set forth by the pastor of the church whom we trust God is speaking to in terms of the vision of the church and how to best reach the people it's called to.
    Last edited by danielled; 05-06-2015, 06:57 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Smitty
    replied
    I have always approached it from the standpoint that I was training my replacement. I audition anyone who is interested, but not that many who audition make it to the platform...not even half. I am not overly critical, but I am mindful of what it is that I am doing, why I am doing it, and who I am doing it for.

    Smitty

    Leave a comment:


  • Doc Kavanagh
    replied
    My opinion only : If your congregation is younger or your target demographic is younger , try and draw younger players to your team . On the other hand , we are blessed with boomers in our congregation . They grew up with and love Beatles , Stones , Doobies , Fleetwood Mac , Eagles . The CCLI Top 100 that we lead with is not all that different . We have found that our congregation , many aged 50 and 60 relates well to , and worships readily with the Chris Tomlin , Paul Baloche , Hillsong , Matt Redman that we offer them . Presented well , the odd 30 year olds and 80 year olds in our congregation will worship to these songs , as well .

    That said , I always have an ear to K Love and the CDs that Worship Leader magazine sends out with newer / younger songs because I realize we cannot get mired in the past . To do our part in spreading the Gospel through music , we must be trying our best to stay young and relevant . I encourage every team leader to seek out younger musicians , newer , younger music . Work to stay fresh and relevant .

    That said , our team has only one thirty year old , and all the rest range from late 50s to their 80s . And they CAN rock ! So don't throw us old geezers out the door yet !

    Leave a comment:


  • milepost13
    replied
    My drummer is 60, he's the best drummer I've ever played with. The median age of our band is about 40. As far as I know, nobody has ever walked out of our church saying "I'll never come back here because they drummer is too old." I have heard countless comments about how good he is though.

    Nate

    Leave a comment:


  • Mike on Bass
    replied
    Here is a great article from last year posted on the blog

    http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/t...odern-worship/

    Great discussion so far.

    I wholeheartedly agree the older need to raise up the younger. The fact is, we need each other.

    The younger generation can bring a lot of energy, enthusiasm and hope to a team that us older people need. My absolute favorite part of having the youth on our team is they bring that liveliness and goofiness that reminds us not to let life turn us into a bunch of stuffy old geezers.

    They can also bring new ideas and perspectives we can draw on to keep our musical pipeline fresh and relevant.

    The younger generation needs us, too. They need us to care enough to gently guide them- guide them away from the land mines, let them find their own way, make their own mistakes, and learn from them. As much as we need their youthful enthusiasm, they need our mature stability.

    I think it is a "crisis" of our contemporary worship style that it is difficult (and sometimes counterproductive) to involve everyone you can in music ministry. In a traditional service, anyone with any interest at all is welcomed with open arms into the choir. But in a band setting, you only need so many drummers or bass guitar players.
    That's true- it doesn't come without it's challenges. But it sounds like you are trying to include as many as practical. There's a difference between having more talent than you have room for and purposefully excluding a certain demographic. That's where the heartburn is at.

    Maybe you could invite him to play with your church.
    Believe me, I'd take him in a heartbeat and there'd be room for him. But I don't want to recruit him because he's a great drummer- I first want to make sure he's in a good place spiritually and invite him because he'd thrive in our church.

    This kind of thing is really making me wonder what other kinds of opportunities are out there. I'd really like to see more of these mature musicians get together more- a few from here, a few from there- and start forming praise bands that may not play on the platform every Sunday but play in other community events, outings, guests at other churches, etc. It wouldn't surprise me one bit to see a movement in the empty-nester age group that are done running their kids around to soccer and track and baseball, have time to focus on it, and have some connections to get into places as a ministry. Gospel missions, shelters, all that stuff.

    Leave a comment:


  • DavidGolden
    replied
    I think it is a "crisis" of our contemporary worship style that it is difficult (and sometimes counterproductive) to involve everyone you can in music ministry. In a traditional service, anyone with any interest at all is welcomed with open arms into the choir. But in a band setting, you only need so many drummers or bass guitar players. In my 400 member church, I now have 3 bands that rotate different Sundays: one primarily 40-60 year old adults, one primarily 20-40 year old adults, and one the youth band. Everyone has to stay humble, and it's not a perfect system, but I've been able to keep 6-7 drummers involved, several bass players and guitarists, and a bunch of singers. But we're about maxed out, and it can be a struggle to hold it all together sometimes. One more drummer showing up to our church and wanting to play is probably not going to find an enthusiastic welcome from the existing drummers. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I have been able to find some success and "band identity" by grouping them by age (which means it is my job to do the mentoring for the younger ones).

    Leave a comment:


  • DunedinDragon
    replied
    We have roughly the same situation with around 200 members, predominantly older but getting more and more young people. I can understand in this situation trying to involve the younger people somewhere within the service as this is a great opportunity to grow in serving. However, being in this situation it's very important that they have the mentorship of older members to help them develop in both the discipline involved in serving as well as technical knowledge.

    I've been exposed to a number of other congregations in which it's clear they want a "face of youth" in their worship teams, primarily I think to encourage younger demographic growth in the congregation. I think that's important but in every single case that I've come across this the key thing I've seen is lots of spirit, but fairly serious musical mediocrity.

    Most of us that have been in the music business for much of our lives understand this. It takes many years to develop the technical discipline and understanding of how to put music together that inspires and touches people emotionally, and the vast majority of that involves technical details involving arrangement, dynamics, mixing/blending, pacing, etc. People listening to it may not recognize those details, but they know when they are affected emotionally..but they can't say why that is. We know why that is because we designed and intended it to be that way based on our years of practical experience either in stage or studio production situations. But again, you need these mature members who are willing to share and take on that mentorship role.

    I honestly feel sorry for those congregations that focus on the youth culture of music because ultimately it's their congregants that miss out on an extraordinary worship experience where the music moves your heart.
    Last edited by DunedinDragon; 04-03-2015, 05:50 PM.

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  • Nacah
    replied
    The church I am at and have been for 5 years is still a predominantly older church, however that trend is slowly changing and the median age is lowering ever so slightly. I am the worship leader and at 54 I know that my days are probably numbered (though my mid-40's pastor is very pleased with our music program) and that is OK with me. I still expect to play a role in worship for many more years (somewhere and probably as a backup WL). I strongly believe it is my/our role to mentor the younger generation of worship musicians. However, currently my worship team is still on the older/mature side. I'd say the median age is around 48 yrs old. That is based on this coming Sunday's Easter service 11 worship team members. My 19 yrs old daughter and a 25 yrs old guitarist are the only thing keeping that median under 50. Sadly, one of my guitar players is around 65-ish and was the recent victim of the age discrimination at a couple of other churches where he pursued being a part of the worship team. We're happy to have him and the guy can whip out a Lincoln Brewster-esque lead, if needed. I have been asked to try to recruit younger musicians/singers, but this is easier said than done. We do want to have a balance of multi-generational team members. Our church is only around 200 members attending, so it's slim pickings.

    Leave a comment:


  • TMAInc
    replied
    Unfortunately this practice is more widespread than most would like to admit. Many leaders in the current generation feel they don't need mentoring or, sadly, feel their "image" will be tarnished by having someone over the age of 45 on the platform. I get it - churches want to reach a particular demographic and feel having only millennials on the stage will help achieve that objective. Meanwhile, there are mature men and women who can mentor and coach who are largely ignored.

    I started leading worship in 1987, long before many of today's worship leaders were out of diapers. I have conducted worship seminars around the US and abroad. I have managed some of the top worship artists out there. While I don't believe my calling at this stage in my life is to lead from the platform (I'm 56), I do believe God has called me to mentor and help raise up the next generation of worship leaders. I even took our church's worship leader to lunch to get to know him, introduce myself, and offer my help in training and mentoring. Never heard back from him after that.

    Maybe I should have worn skinny jeans and a beanie to lunch.
    Last edited by TMAInc; 04-03-2015, 12:43 PM.

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  • acmeseed
    replied
    Mike,

    Send him to our church, we are in desperate need of a drummer

    In our church we have a range from 16 to 75 year olds. I am 59 and started playing with them almost 4 years ago. Before I stated playing they had a guitar player who was quite old, he had to retire from another church because their stage was too high and it was getting dangerous for him to get and be up there, our church took him in and he would sit to play as he was too frail to stand, he was a great guitar player and we miss him a lot, he passed away some time ago.

    It's a shame that some churches would engage in such practice; let it be their loss.

    Leave a comment:


  • Doc Kavanagh
    replied
    The older need to mentor the younger . It's biblical ; it's common sense . I will stay on the platform until I have a young one who can play guitar as well as I can . I will stay involved in Worship Team leading until one younger than me has learned enough from me about band leading and Christian worship .I will do all I can to invite and welcome young people to be a part of the adult team . It's just the right thing to do .

    Leave a comment:

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