On a Journey to Transform Our Worship Team
I am about to undergo a journey. A significant journey. As a pastor of any size church that’s been in existence for any length of time, this journey is a potentially harrowing one. I feel as if I’m a living parable of the Led Zeppelin song “Ramble On,” as:
“I’ve smelled the rain, and with it pain, and it’s headed my way” and “we’ve no time to spend en route, the time has come to be gone.”
What’s the journey?
We are about to dismantle our current worship team.
These are WONDERFUL people. They have been faithful for many years, some of them, but our church is experiencing a significant drop in attendance. Passion is waning. Our dear congregation is aging and passionately praying for new energy, growth and younger aged families with children to come be a part of our church. In our minds, we believe we are past the point of trying continue doing what we are doing, which has been to hold on to musical preferences that were antiquated even in the 1980’s.
Recent comments about our “quaint little church” have been to me like trying to run wind sprints with sharp pebbles in my running shoes. The comments? “This church is just like the church I grew up in.” To this person, that had double meaning. On one hand, it was comforting to them. On the other hand, it was dreadfully boring and insignificant. These words were… Painful. Hindering. A Setback.
Consensus: Change is Necessary!
In the midst of the past three week’s worth of prayer meetings on Sunday evenings, our little band of prayer warriors are crying out to the Lord for HIM to grow our church and reach people that would never normally darken the door of our church. Our church’s music has been one obstacle to that mission. Several voices have brought this to my attention this past week. The voice in my own head, my wife, members of the worship team, our church leadership, and even a couple who have been committed to this wonderful church for several decades have all agreed. We need to transform our worship team. Change is necessary.
Two styles of change I am aware of are:
1. Frog in the Kettle (if I put a frog in a kettle in room temperature water then slowly turn up the heat over time, it will die rather than if I dropped it in an already boiling pot.)
2. Rip that Band-aid off! (It has to be quick in order for pain to subside quickly and resume normal life.)
From my point of view, this change to transform our worship team has been long in the making. With the recent departure of our previous worship leader due to relocation for employment, we have been faithfully trying to hold the ship together while the leaks appear to be filling the bottom of the boat (read: yes, we’ve floundered). It’s time to stop the leak, bail out the water and resume the voyage. In order to transform our worship team, we need a quick change.
It’s been a year since I arrived as Senior Pastor, and I’ve been agonizing over this decision ever since. The music has never once really been inspiring to me or my family. Let’s admit the disaster: it’s been boring, at times cutesy, tame, feminine, and definitely malaise-inducing. Hardly something to motivate me to reach out for God, hardly inspiring me to want to know Him, serve Him or do His work. It’s more like a family gathering of the elderly for the holidays and EVERYBODY knows the insider-lingo (wink wink) and “Oh, that’s just Bob, he always sings like that but we love him anyway.” Yup, call me shallow, but it bothers me. I’m not elderly (yet). I can’t relate to Southern Gospel (although I DID grow up in Southern California). I love classic rock and the British Invasion. The acoustic piano and drums don’t work well together with a harmonica. I hate the harmonica unless it’s used for a U2 or Bob Dylan song (and NOT playing the melody along with the singers). I have a really hard time understanding why we have four elderly women on stage with microphones in their hand but they’re turned OFF! I later discovered from our sound man that it’s because they’re tone deaf and no one has the courage to tell them that.
Enough is enough.
Come back tomorrow to discover what we’re going to do.