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Cross Cultural Communication

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Worship Research Paper

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:24
The first thing the new worship leader needs to do is to get alone with God, fall on his knees and worship Him with all that is within him, as he saturates everything with prays. Prayer is essential for the true success of any worship leader. Maintaining the level of spiritual passion is priority number one. Without a vibrant relationship with God there is a lack of spiritual power to enable the worship leader to go beyond his or her natural talents and abilities. The private worship life of the leader makes all the difference in the world. Transformational worship leaders understand what it says in (John 15:5) “apart from me you can do nothing.” The priority of intercession on behalf of the previous fallen worship leader and those who were injured by what happened, will help usher in healing to the situation. As the new worship leader offers prayer regarding the frustration of the Pastor will serve like the intercession of Aaron or Hur for Moses during the battle Israel fought against the Amalekites in Rephidim in (Ex. 17). The Pastor of the church is like a Moses in the church and the worship leader is like a Joshua or an Aaron. The disgruntle members in the church need the prayer recorded in John 17:21-23. Jesus prayed, “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” The prayer of the worship leader over the entire worship team should be that God would anoint or “smear all over” them, the fragrance of worship. As a new worship leader, the first appointment to make would be with the Senior Pastor. During the first meeting, any advice that the Pastor would give regarding the conflict stemming from the previous worship leader would be very important. Any and all pertinent information regarding the situation that might still effect the worship team as well as advice on how to handle any concerns would be crucial. It would also be important to understand what the Lord is doing in that specific church. Gaining insight from the pastor’s perspective about needs of the congregation would be insightful. Meeting with secretaries of the church is important because they have information about the daily operation of the church. Also meeting with the business manager for the purpose of obtaining budget information and procedures dealing with finances in the worship department is major and would be helpful for making decisions. It is also critical to meet the board members and learn the role they play in the church. Studying vision statements, mission statements, flow charts, policy and procedures, creeds of the church or anything that assists in getting the big picture of what the church is all about would be vital to success. Memorizing the names of people is so important to building a rapport with them. If the church has a directory with pictures of the pastors, elders, secretaries, members of the worship team, this would be a good place to start. People are more willing to support someone who shows that they genuinely care about them. Learning about family members, special interests, or hobbies that people have also make others feel that you care. Proverbs 18:24 says that if you want to have friends you must show others that you are friendly. The worship leader needs to take the initiative to make friends and show a genuine interest in other ministries. In the worship department, the worship leader can launch a "Get to Know You" interview. This process would give the worship leader opportunity to learn about his people, then show interest in the team members. Questions would be prepared ahead of time. Because the new worship leader will have oversight of the worship team, he or she should become familiar with the musical experience and spirituality of each member. This must be done in a non threatening way. Establishing a healthy worship team requires as much information as possible and requires making an investment its individuals. The standards of the worship team need to be clearly communicated for those who are recruited and those who have been involved in the past. “Worship is an overflow of a life devoted to God” (Kauflin: 230). In light of the previous worship leader who was disqualified because of inappropriate behavior, reviewing the standards and expectations for being on the worship team will help those who did not agree with the discipline of the former leader. This will also set the tone for the worship team which in turn encourages an attitude of commitment and dedication. In order to begin building a trust in the relationship between the worship leader and the pastor, including the pastor and his support in decisions will build unity. One area that requires the advice of the Pastor is in recruitment. When recruiting new members or interviewing previous members, the following basic responsibilities and expectations need to be clearly communicated:
1. Confesses and believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
2. Involved in personal prayer and bible study.
3. Love to worship God and lead others to give God all the glory.
4. Recommendation by a member of the pastoral staff, elders, or a leader in the church.
5. Completed application/ interview process.
6. Audition.
7. Agreement with the vision of the church. One of the most important people for a worship leader is a coordinator or assistant. This person needs to be loyal and trustworthy. Finding someone to help organize meetings, schedules, rehearsals etc. is a top priority for the success of the team. This will allow for effective time management and an efficient level of commitment that a worship leader needs. Whether it is a paid position or a volunteer, careful selection is needed and delegation of tasks and responsibilities is urgent. The time and energy to get to know people really helps when it is rehearsal time. Before starting rehearsal the worship leader needs to assess what the worship team needs to focus on for the upcoming Sunday service. It may be a new song that is being introduced. There may be a spiritual need due to the upcoming central theme to be presented. Identifying the main thing, the focus for the rehearsal will be the best use of time that has been set apart specifically to prepare for the worship service. In the book, “The Five Keys to Engaging Worship”, (Chisum: 47) it states that, “unrealistic expectations can be the root of poorly planned rehearsals.” That is why it is crucial to have a rehearsal plan which is designed to serve others and not self. The first Sunday service in which the new worship leader is in front of the congregation, must be planned with much prayer and careful song selection. Songs should enhance the message and should be designed to complement what God is doing in the church. Chisum (p. 74 -75) offers an excellent resource in his book to help design worship music, which include seven steps. This resource is the book, “The Handbook for Multi-sensory Worship” which states that it is necessary to guide a process that communicates what the goal of the service will be. The criteria is as follows: felt need, desired outcome, theme, word, metaphor/ image, enhancement ideas, and featured options. Working closely with the pastor for direction and adding a planning team is more effective than starting from scratch. There may be a previous song list that can become a framework to work from. Selecting the right songs can be accomplished using many different resources but must be done prayerfully. It is easy to rely on ones experience and talents but God’s Spirit can direct spontaneously or by inspiring are planning. Thinking through not only what song to sing but also what to say makes for smoother transitions and maximizes the use of each song and minimizes distractions. At the beginning, it is probably wise not to make too many changes. People are creatures of habit who like their comfort. Making room for the pastor to take the lead in making changes is respecting him as the primary worshipper leader in the church. When making decisions that will be a significant change in the church, as a worship leader, leadership support must be gained. This does not mean that the worship leader should repress creativity. The creativity of the worship leader may be expressed not only in the way songs are sung but also in the arrangements and instrumentals used during worship. Setting up systems for personal growth is critical to the spiritual passion of the worship leader. By attending conferences, reading books, and meeting with mentor groups or peers, the worship leader stays current and encouraged. Whenever possible, it is also helpful to visit other churches and learn more from other schools of thought or practice. Aspiring to constant and never ending improvement will guide a leader into a walk with God that is vibrant and alive. “When we stop growing, our team does too.”
(Chisum: 64) Communicating with pastors or directors of other ministries for the purpose of assessing any needs they have for worship in their departments will build more unity in the church. This can also enhance the worship experience during the week that takes place in smaller groups. Children and youth also need to be taught and experience worship by leaders who have a heart for it and are equipped to lead. Training worship teams for times of worship and praise in other programs is a vital part of expanding the vision of worship in the church. Facilitating music for small groups or cell groups would also be a way to teach Sunday songs and introduce new songs. The worship leader needs to plan and prepare times of purposed training for singers, musicians and media teams. Providing resources and materials for growth shows the worship team that you care about their personal and corporate development. Planning to attend a conference together would be a great way to impart vision to team members. This has potential to create times of bonding for the team together. The worship team could travel to Australia to a Hillsong’s Conference to expand their vision of worship and the be challenged to continue growing. Training in a retreat setting is also special for those who need to be refreshed in their relationship with God. This may be a time to focus on specific areas of weakness and strengthen relationships. To help the church transition from a traditional style to a contemporary style there are a couple of suggestions which could be offered to the pastor. First, the church might consider having two services, which also would provide opportunity for the church to grow. One service could include a traditional style of worship and liturgy and the second service with a contemporary style. Second, the church could have a month of Sunday services built around the theme of worship. Biblically based worship and teaching on worship could provide a vehicle for change by which the Pastor can cast vision with an urgency for reaching our world. Organizing songs for special events is a challenge that the worship leader needs to be prepared for. This requires tremendous energy and time. The worship leader needs to recruit and delegate such tasks with schedules and deadlines that are realistic. Finding musicians and singers who enhance the events is an opportunity to look outside of the church. Again, making sure that leaders are in agreement with bringing in other musicians and singers from outside places is an important consideration. Planning is a real asset to the worship leader’s success. When the need presents itself, the worship leader needs to be prepared to preside over weddings and funerals musically. These special occasions are opportunities to touch the unchurched. Music is able to soften hearts to the gospel. It is important to establish some means of evaluating the worship service; the technical aspect of the service and the quality of worship in the services. When starting a new position as worship leader, surveying the congregation for specific feedback of the worship service might be helpful. This, along with feedback from the leadership, is a valuable tool to improve the performance of the team. This will help to measure the goal of creating a certain atmosphere during the service. Being open to criticism also helps others on the team also be open. Viewing videos and listening to recordings of services is an effective way to evaluate the team. The life of the worship leader is subject to many attacks from within and without. Worship is a powerful weapon against the powers of darkness. The atmosphere can be changed by a transformational leader, anointed singers, and gifted musicians who are conduits for God’s Spirit. The goal of creating a certain atmosphere in worship service must yield to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Therefore developing a sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading is the most important facet of being a transformational worship leader. This begins during the week by staying connected, listening and communing in intimacy with the Holy Spirit daily. Satan still attacks our worship. We were created to worship so we will worship someone or something. When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, in Matthew 4 it says,
“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." If the devil tempted Jesus in the area of worship, he will tempt everyone else. Worship leaders need to keep their guard up and prepare for his attacks. Fame and success are spiritual tests which reveal an individual’s character. When people start to praise worship leaders for their talents or accomplishments, it is wise to learn how to deflect praise and give credit to others who help make the leader look good. One of the most challenging realities of being a leader in ministry is to live a consecrated life unto God. The temptation to “fake it until you make it” is very real. That is the reason it is necessary to be authentic and honest with those who God has placed in your life to hold you accountable. The advice of the well known evangelist Billy Graham is very appropriate concerning being in the ministry. He said that a leader should not touch the money, the women, or God’s glory. In conclusion, God, not the appointment of man, will help the church move forward into a place of health and blessing. A truly transformational leader is needed to bring a change in style and atmosphere. This is possible by faith and trust in a God, “...who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Eph. 3:20) The worship leader must be diligent, strategic and spiritually in tune with the greatest worship leader of all time, Jesus Christ.

Bibliography
Chisum, John. The Five Keys to Engaging Worship. Engage Press, 2008.
Kauflin, Bob. Worship Matter. Crossway Books, 2008.
The Bible, New International Version.

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