Ever been to a church with a Praise or Worship team? I am not going to argue the goodness or badness of it, I just want to give some thoughts on the subject. Though, in doing some quick reading, I did come across an idea that I like which carries great validity.
But first, why did this come up?
I was at a church tonight that has a praise team. I have been there a few times before. In general I do not like their style of music, but the pastor is a friend and he is having special meetings this week. So I went. I saw something though that I often see with these praise teams. A couple of the singers were singing and swaying and screwing up their faces like they were “working up” the emotion to praise the Lord.
Do they sing like that when they are not in front of the congregation? I have seen it some times. I have spent many hours on the platform of churches during song services and I have to say I have seen some people working up a sweat with their facial expressions…but rarely. In a church of 400 there might be one, or three. But on many praise/worship teams there are usually a couple or a few who look like they are putting on the best performance their high school acting classes could teach them.
Why? Why do you have to sing differently when everyone is looking at you than when no one is looking at you? Who are you singing for? To praise God or to be seen of men? I admit that you should at least look like you are excited to be alive and be used by God, but should you go over board on that?
Now back to my reading and a response to the issue.
There are two legitimate arguments that I can think of right off that would warrant having more than one song leader. One is that there is biblical precedence for having congregational music led by more than one voice. You see in the Old Testament, on a couple of occasions, where the congregation of Israel was lead by selected priests in music. Not just one person leading, but a group of people leading the worship in song.
The second argument for having a team of song leaders is so that you can more easily harmonize the music. If you have one song leader, then you hear one voice. How many of you know the melody line of every song in the hymnbook, but do not know any of the other parts of harmony? It happens. Especially when you have just one leader.
That brings us to the potential need to have a team of song leaders. You are lead in worship by a group which can provide the harmony to the congregation thus enabling them to sing a more pleasant praise or worship to the Lord. It used to be called a choir and worked for many many years without the showboating or other issues that seem to be introduced into the church by a small group praise/worship team.
Was the choir such a wicked thing that we had to throw it out?