The role of a worship team is no longer confined within the bounds of music ministry only. The worship team’s scope has expanded rapidly to consider some of the multidimensional tasks that seek to accomplish various roles within the church.1 Every worshiping team consists of different functions that must always work together to coexist harmoniously in the church. In totality, the goal of the worship team has always been to honor God above all and tender our worship to none other than to Him.
Usually, this warrants team practice as believers, but for musicians, there certainly might be things that they could always do to grow in the church as a worship team.2 Worship brings within the church a unique aura of identification among the fellowship of the believers. For believers to thrive in the Lord, a strong and abled worship team is always necessary to assist the church in its endeavor to serve God. Music, especially for the sole purpose of worship, is crucial for spiritual up lifting and identifying with God as a worship team.
Worship lubricates the spiritual psyche and oils the wheels of narrative through music.3 Music in turn conducts the emotional responses, regulates our sympathies, extracts our tears, and excites our glands while rejoicing in the Lord. Music in its intrinsic nature, relaxes our pulses, and triggers our fears, in conjunction with the image and in the service of the larger purposes of our faith. No element of human creativity dutifully captures our relationship with God than the words of portrayed in a worshiping choir, especially where artists and audiences share similar spiritual and religious orientation.
Whereas not all music seeks to explore the linkage between man and God, there simply appears to be a strong bondage between hymns of worship and their reception to the church.4 Much of the worship seeks to explore the interpretation of man to the Kingdom of God, all of which is dependent on the religious niche to which the worshiping music is made. Inasmuch as music may not necessarily be the central theme in contemporary spirituality, it is fit to say that worship excels through music.5
Many studies have been done on a wide variety of themes, and these are often published in specialized journals beyond the gaze of mainstream Old Testament pedagogy, and usually as a way outside the literature read by students of spirituality and religion.6 In an attempt to unravel the full mystery behind the role of a worship team, this article will endeavor to look into, first Biblical foundations with considerations to worship, then explore the historical developments and finally take a look into the practical considerations inherent here-in.
In the 1st Chronicles 25: 1, David organized the first ever music ministry known in the history of worship, the idea was a fulfilment of the work of prophesy detailed in the Old Testament. David sang songs of worship to his creator whom he adored so much, and loved with all his heart.7 He regarded singers high before any other person and had them sing with the sweetest of their voices at the altar. He arranged several festivals throughout the year and invited singers to praise God and His holy name, all day from early morning.
Historians who critically study the bible will tend to refute several aspects of this first paragraph, that are not in their correct chronological time, yet they will do well to come to terms with the information it provides of David’s connection to worship, songs – Psalm. Israelites took up these connections and passed them over to the church who accepted them. The Bible tells us that through worship, the Lord delivered David from his sins and elevated his kingship forever. Because of God’s forgiveness for the affair with Bathsheba and the killing of her husband Uriah, God made an agreement with David to give him a kingship full of glory.8
The book of Psalm, by authorship, is concisely a duty of worship revealed and tended in lyrics. Here, the prophetic duty of listening to God was in full play, and most believers concern that we listen to God most during our moment of worship.9 Hearing Gods message for his people was the sole duty of worship and through these believers could eventually be aided in revealing the vision of the Kingdom of the God. In the book of Revelation, the same theme is presented, only that in this particular text, the prophetic revelation is primarily concerned with Christ.10
To the great composer of music, therefore, the words of the book of Psalm were not necessarily written for private mediation, as most believers may tend to think, the mindset of the Christian Church holds that the hymns contained in these books are for the sole purpose of public worship. Suitable for the lonely heart and sorrowful soul, the doctrinal attribution of Psalm is equally useful for the consolation of the poor in spirit. This attribution captures the true meaning of the creed of the teaching according to the songs of David. One of the more pronounced literal and truest dimensions of the orientation of David’s work in the Psalm is the notion of the beauty of the Kingdom of God.11
Much of the documentation in the Biblical approach to worship seeks to explore certain actions or personages as sacred, holy, historical, or unique. This designation often encourages the believers to consider the readership of these unique works in discrete pilgrimage to quench their curiosity of the beauty of the Kingdom of God. In doing this, the search for Biblical knowledge ends up putting a responsibility on individual believers to reconsider their actions.12
In most of the Biblical orientation to worship, the Holy Book explore how ordinary space could be converted into a sacred space, and suggests that this symbolic process reflects the human characteristics associated with both the physical features and the deeper, abstract implications of delimiting a particular action, personage or place as secular or sacred. This is the Bible’s greatest strength, speaking from the conviction that humanity could be salvaged to inherit the beauty of the land of the living if believers are separated from his sin.
Having seen the magnitude of his sin as an individual, David poured out his all to God in prayers for forgiveness and cleansing. Being able to visualize himself through the path of self-ruin but determined to serve the Lord, David found great meaning to walk in the light towards the tabernacle of hope.13 Accordingly, David sought revered with God and he cumulatively did this through the words entailed in a song of worship. These great compositions tell us of the greatness of the power of worship in appeasing the Lord.14
The book of Psalm is a presentation of musical themes contained in prayers and poems from diverse authorship profiled for the sole purpose of worship. Psalms are a collection of independent literary thought that were composed by various personages to speak to diverse audience for human experience purposes.15 Psalm, though presented in its intrinsic poetic luster, differ greatly from other prophetic oracles, propositional documentation, or moral constraints of the doctrinal pedagogy that assumes a revelatory yanking from God to humanity.
Psalm, seen under these lenses serve to highlight the hope and desperation of believers through worship and incentive. In doing this, the conviction and fear of those who offer themselves to God in the celebration and progression of the duty of life is revealed.16 Whilst the canonical pedagogy of worship is naturally musical and poetic by way of composition by believers as pathways of expressing our gratitude to various exceptional personages in the bible, believers nevertheless regard worshiping hymns as having been inspired by none other than God.
In addition, the basis of the word of God is to be used in the holy teaching of the faith of the church in meditation through worship.17 This conceptualization highlights the legitimacy and the vitality of such expression in life of the individual believers and the spiritual community under which believers subsist. In any case, Psalm have been referred to as the Hymnbook of worship, and the faithful in every generation in history find it fresh and evergreen containing prayers and hymns that resonate to the experience of the life that God seeks for believers. The enduring luster of the canonical pedagogy of worship bears a true witness to a unique feature that is primarily a rite of passage to the Kingdom of God. The book of Psalm endeavors to remain a contribution to our enduring need to worship God.18
The primary role of a Worship Team is to tender our glory to God, the creator of Heaven and Earth. God is the Alpha and Omega, the Lord of Host who undoubtedly is the wholesome purpose of our lives. The elements of the worship form of the Christian fellowship doctrines roots back to historical traditions of worship, whose foundations are informed by apocalyptic features of faith concession.19
The three main thematic concerns in the historical development of worship are relationships between Christ and God, relationship between Jesus and the World as well as the response of the world to Christ. To the elect, worship is the relationship between believers and God, which is achieved through Jesus Christ His Son. The relationship between Christ and God is documented in John [1: 1-2] and [1:18].20
Simply put, “In the beginning,” a manifestation that reminds the reader of the creation story in the book of Genesis Chapter 1: verse 1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This expression initiates us to the worshiping community that God desires for us. Worshiping is a journey that initiated through the Christ the person and his ministry cresting upon his death with a rejoinder upon his resurrection.21
In the fellowship, therefore, the worshiping team has historically carried over the duty of encouraging the masses to the task of serving the Lord. In this regard, the foremost theme amongst the worshiping team has had to do with keeping the candle of the Lord burning bright in the lives of the believers. Worshiping is the medium for expressing an in-depth, particulate nature of God, and the dynamic relationship between followers of Christ and God.
Largely, the worship team’s roles sprung from the Hellenistic culture, though; today much of the roles of the Worship team do not necessarily need to exhibit the semantic concoction of the Hellenistic philosophy. Under these schemes of things, the roles of a worship team hold true as typical to Jewish and Old Testament foundation.
In fact, the absence of the expression of Jesus as word in other texts of John’s Gospel is a confirmation of the fact that this might have been an existing mantra in approval of the word explored in the liturgy of the society however taken and used by John’s evangelistic mindset as an introductory phrase to his Gospel.22 In addition, the manifestation of the works of John the Baptist in John over to Saint Paul is most likely the resultant feature of a redirection of the believers to the very foundation of worship.23
Technological advancements in the media industry have now become the standardization measure for a history rich in paradigmatic shifts in the roles of the worship team.24 The media industry today, is among the top most inspiring aspects of the church today. Televangelists today have developed some of the most important temporal strata that try to capture the chronological aspects of media advancements. The work of a worship team embodies the notion that transmission technologies have taken upon the vertiginous power that our cultures yield.
Today the media is almost all pervasive taking on a vintage position of influencing both the information we dispense and receive, swaying our power of perception, both our spirituality and religious persuasions as well as our commitment to the word of God. However, the schematic media analysis has its foundations in the Paleolithic cave technologies, which are reminiscent of today’s televangelism programming and the printing press.
Keen observers of the 19th century such as Carlyle roundly claimed that the introduction of the printing press might have destroyed feudalism giving way to the modern world. However, to the media, much of the focus on the concept of modern worship sphere is unprecedented through the scales of media history and televangelism.25
The concept of televangelism as a way of modern worship refers both to the general discussion amongst the members with common concerns that define themselves as a community. The church, on the other hand, is all that which subsists outside the purview of public life, which is concerning only personal agenda. The primordial analysis of the structural change of the worship team has been central to the believers to be able to promote widespread participation in rational discourse that is aimed at realizing the best out of a society.26 The church in the believers’ own making was instituted largely for the sole purpose of seeking the attention of the soul for the acknowledgment and fulfilment of the heavenly duties.
Practical Considerations: problems and practical solutions
Working as a group, the Worship Team volunteers quite a lot to the believers’ during worship including music programs. At the same time, they reinforce the spoken word through scripture, visual arts, drama, and dances. Gender and adulthood are arguable concepts that denote social and cultural constructs that the society assigns to individual’s behaviors, values, and physiognomies. They are attributed to males and females; perceptions, institutions, and laws of the church as a society reinforce them.27
The foundation of these social constructs revolves around the notion that they are ordinary in essence, or that they are intrinsic within an individual and for that matter, unalterable. This kind of relationship has often been the challenge to the worshiping team.28 On the other hand, gender constructs as well as the conceptualization of adulthood are shaped primarily by ideological, socio-economic, and interpersonal – relational determinants, each of which is succinctly the dictates of the society.
Under these lenses, adult human females rightly qualify to be viewed as women while grown-up boys would be called men.29 This no doubt is the preserve of every society’s ideology. In some churches, women are not allowed to partake of the roles in leading worshiping teams. Clearly, a strong worship team is vital to keep the faith of believers high.
Effective church leadership and a robust charismatic foundation have always featured significantly as the success factors in worship team roles. At the top of its priority, worship teams position themselves under a commitment schedule that offer leadership aspirations the drive of purpose in the church. Its pilgrimage to heaven is fuelled by a popular ambition to self-discovery and the ever-burning need to transform the society they lead – which is the church.30 Worshiping accordingly has proven to be an ever-yielding duty that arguably put the society in some circular motion.
The basis of a worship team is the ability to explore an experience in a way that helps us to know and act better in the world around us. In essence, therefore, what a worship team seeks to achieve, is to explore the connections between the church and God. In other words, they seek to offer explanation to the followers in a way that tends to explain why certain things do happen in a particular way and in a particular context.31
The consistent element in exploring how worshiping teams influence believers and even become synonymous with the church is an element that ensures believers identify with the church and even take pride being members of the elect. The worship team pursues these interests through identifying that the element of intersection between God and man is the church. From a worship team standpoint, therefore, the church is a bridge that connects us to the other side – heaven.32
It is important, however, to understand that the social constructs that the society uses to evaluate individuals in the church are based in the lenses of the perceived right thinking members of the church, and used extensively to assess others, especially women.33 This view is determined by the way an individual relates him or herself with other members of the worship team.34
The society to some extent has a most uncanny way of judging individuals, and it evaluates people on the outward expression rather that within the intrinsic constructs that individuals endeavors to achieve in themselves. This is such that, if an old grown-up man momentously acts boyishly, he risks being excommunicated from the worshiping team. Boys and girls, therefore, are mirror lines of both men and women; the only fear is that at times the church arbitrarily apportions weird criticism along these ideological lines, as to biasedly downgrade the very genders based on an individual’s actions, rather than on their social stature.35
From the forgoing analysis, it is prudent to determine that the roles of a worshiping team are varied and are not confined within the scope of the church only. Much of the duties that have characterized worship team have transcended the bounds of modern media and televangelism and over to the oversight duties of supervisory roles of the worship team to the elect.
While the church continues to be viewed as the ladder to heaven, the worshiping team is the foundation that strengthens believers and makes them to stick within the teachings of the church. In totality, the goal of the worship team has always been to honor God above all, and tender our worship to none other than to Him. Habitually, this warrants team practice as believers.
However, for the church, many things might be needed to grow in the church as a worship team. These consist of commitment to the service of the Lord, as well as endeavoring to serve as an exemplary to those who are in the church. Worship begins with an individual, and it spreads to embrace the church. With it brings to the church a unique aura of identification among the fellowship of the believers. For believers to thrive in the Lord, a strong and abled worship team is always necessary to assist the church in its endeavor to serve God.
- Douglas Flather and Tami Flather, The praise and worship team instant tune-up! (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wayne State University, 2002), 72.
- David Stone, “Worship manual,” University of Toronto.
- Clayton Erb and Brandenstein Bill, “The role of music in worship: striving for a balanced approach to music in corporate worship,” University of Toronto.
- Clayton Erb and Brandenstein Bill, “The role of music in worship: striving for a balanced approach to music in corporate worship,” University of Toronto.
- Alison Siewert, Worship team handbook (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1998), 83.
- Alasdair Heron, “Shaping the worship of the Reformed Church in Geneva: Calvin on prayer and praise,” HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies 68, no. 1 (2012): 16-29.
- Bob Kauflin, Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God (New York: Crossway Publishing, 2008), 23.
- Bob Kauflin, Worship Matters: Leading others to encounter the greatness of God (New York: Crossway Publishing, 2008), 30.
- Myles Munroe, The purpose and power of praise & worship (London: Routledge, 2000), 169.
- Matthew Starner, “Worship team requirements & expectations”, Worship Team Guidelines.
- Terri Bocklund McLean, New harmonies: choosing contemporary music for worship (Bethesda: Alban Institute, 1998), 127.
- Bhekani Tshabalala and Cynthia Patel, “The role of praise and worship activities in spiritual well-being: perceptions of a Pentecostal Youth Ministry group,” International Journal of Children’s Spirituality 15, no. 1 (2010): 73-82.
- Gesa Hartje, “Keeping In Tune with the Times-Praise & Worship Music as Today’s Evangelical Hymnody1 in North America,” Dialog 48, no. 4 (2009): 364-373.
- Robert Castle, Develop a worship team (Grand Rapids: University of Michigan, 1996), 57.
- Victor Gangai, The worship Kenbook (New Jersey: NCO Publications, 2013), 23.
- Terry Law, The power of praise and worship (Tulsa: Victory House, 1985), 275.
- Bob Kauflin, Worship matters (New York: Crossway Publishing, 2007), 56.
- Victor Gangai, The worship kenbook (New Jersey: NCO Publications, 2013), 54.
- John Frame, Contemporary worship music: A biblical defense (New Jersey: P & R Publishing, 1997), 41.
- Geoffrey Wainwright, Doxology: the praise of God in worship, doctrine, and life: a systematic theology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 84.
- Peter Masters, Worship in the melting pot (London: Wakeman Trust, 2002), 35.
- Janet Crawford and Thomas Best, “Praise the Lord with the Lyre and the Gamelan?: Towards Koinonia in Worship,” The Ecumenical Review 46, no. 1 (1994): 78-96.
- Daniel Frankforter, Stones for Bread: A critique of contemporary worship (Westminster: John Knox Press, 2001), 89.
- Pete Ward, Selling worship – how what we sing has changed the church (Bletchley: Paternoster, 2005), 3.
- James Stevens, Worship in the spirit (Bletchley: Paternoster, 2002), 45.
- Elmer Towns, Putting an end to worship wars (Ventura: Broadman & Holman, 1997), 67.
- Greg Scheer, “A musical ichthus: Praise & worship and Evangelical identity,” International Journal of Community Music 2, no. 1 (2009): 91-97.
- John Frame, Worship in spirit and truth (New Jersey: P & R Publishing, 1996), 46.
- Dan Lucarini, Why I left the contemporary music movement: Confessions of a former worship leader (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 2002), 5.
- Robb Redman, “Worship Wars or Worship Awakening?,” Liturgy 19, no. 4 (2004): 39-44.
- Monique Ingalls, “Singing praise in the streets: Performing Canadian Christianity through public worship in Toronto’s Jesus in the City parade,” Culture and Religion 13, no. 3 (2012): 337-359.
- Robert Webber, Blended worship: Achieving substance and relevance in worship (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Hendrickson, 1996), 56.
- Dan Lucarini, Why I left the contemporary music movement: Confessions of a former worship leader (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 2002), 7.
- Tom Kraeuter, Guiding your church through a worship transition (Lynnwood: Emerald Books, 2003), 78.
- Greg Scheer, The art of worship: a musician’s guide to leading modern worship (Grand Rapids: Michigan State University, 2006), 105.