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Author Topic: Leading worship vs. Performance?  (Read 6449 times)
jansenw
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« on: July 20, 2008, 12:05:22 PM »

The central focus of a worship service should be on God. When does our leading of worship turn into a "performance?" If “to perform” is to “do something difficult skillfully before an audience,” then we all do this to a certain extent.

Are there certain things that tend to distract more than others? Can guidelines help or is it something we always need to watch for and balance?

- One thing we can all do is to focus on worshiping God. We can’t lead them if we don’t go there ourselves.

- Another thing is to be unified as a team (body); have each team member demonstrate a unity (one focus) with diversity (vocals, instruments, & etc.)

- Another thing is to skillfully present these songs. An unprepared performance is a huge distraction for me.

What are your thoughts?
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JohnH
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2008, 01:05:27 PM »

We, as a WT, are pretty focused on leading worship and being in worship ourselves as we play, where possible.  If I am not practiced and very familiar with the material I find it difficult to engage in worship as I try not to be a distraction by making mistakes.  When I am practiced and very familiar, it all just flows. 

Someone in this forum once quoted, "Practice as though it all depends on you and play as though it all depends on Him." (or something close to that. There is another thread on this very topic someplace.)

Check my sig for a link to a Seminar entitled "Why Skill Really Does Matter."  Some good scriptural references to persons who are skilled in leading music, worship etc.

I tend to focus a lot on the technical aspects for two reasons: I'm pretty good at it and I do not want technical problems to distract from the Worship. 

One Sunday, at the last minute - as usual, the pastor decided he wanted to show a video with audio.  All of our inputs (16) were in use.  I needed to solve the problem or there would be pretty pictures on the screen with no audio.  In my frustration, 5 mins before the service starts with no chance to test a solution, I was reminded that "Remember the focus is on Him." 

Ok.  I remember that.  Didn't solve the problem though - I still needed a solution to a technical problem in order to facilitate that worship. 

Sometimes we do have to sweat the worldly technological problems.  "I don't really have to solve this feedback problem because it's all for Him" isn't applying the skills and talents and intellect that God gave me to be used for His glory.

I think my point here is: my personal contribution to the Worship service may be technological rather than spiritual and it allows others to worship - my goal as a facilitator of worship.

But, I drone on - so I'll stop.  BTW - i think the solution was to run a cable back to the line input on ch15 for the video/audio.  Always tricky because the ch15 mic input is one of the two pastors wireless mic inputs. It worked though. Smiley
« Last Edit: July 20, 2008, 01:08:16 PM by JohnH » Logged

"God hears the song in your heart."
"Yeah.  But we have to hear you play."
Why Skill Really Does Matter - Ken Boer and Pat Sczebel
2bhumble (Dave)
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2008, 06:57:26 PM »

I love how you said that "we can't lead them if we don't go there ourselfs".

I think you might have summed up what would be a good philosophy for all worship bands to follow.

As I have posted on here before, I don't believe we are there to do a show so to speak. We are there however to bring glory to God and lift His name with music.

You also said something about an unprepared performance. I get a little upset when people don't come to rehearsal, or show up really late for rehearesal, or show up completely unprepared at the service. The bible clearly states that we are to give God our best and I believe that being part of a worship team is included in that and to give God our best includes being prepared and familiar with the songs.
I am not saying they should know the song by heart, but they should at least listen to the CD a few times during the week.

Dave
 
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JohnH
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2008, 07:34:32 PM »

Quote
"we can't lead them if we don't go there ourselfs"

Oh my.  How did I miss that?!?!?

That's perfect.
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"God hears the song in your heart."
"Yeah.  But we have to hear you play."
Why Skill Really Does Matter - Ken Boer and Pat Sczebel
JohnH
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2008, 07:59:54 AM »

Wow, Frodo.  You guys have it worse than I do!  At least most of my team understands preparation and practice - though I'm not sure how often anyone does.

Have you pastor listen to the seminar in my sig.  The speaker makes excellent points about being skillful and how God appointed people skilled in certain things to certain tasks.

I have a rich vein of sarcasm running through me so, let me tap it now: Since nothing is impossible for God, why not just pick random members of the congregation to come up and be musicians and lead worship?  No preparation is necessary, not even basic knowledge of the instrument, so, if they just let God lead them the music should sound fantastic! 

I'm also supposing that he does all his sermons extemporaneously as well.  Probably doesn't even select a sermon topic until that morning. Wink

I'm reminded of reading the construction of the Tabernacle.  All of the most skilled craftsmen in woodworking, metallurgy, gilding, sewing, were selected to build the various components of the Tabernacle.  Random folks who could hold a hammer weren't chosen - the skilled craftsmen were chosen - People practiced and experienced in their craft.
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"God hears the song in your heart."
"Yeah.  But we have to hear you play."
Why Skill Really Does Matter - Ken Boer and Pat Sczebel
basseddie
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2008, 06:15:38 PM »

wow, and I thought our church was the only one going throught this kind of stuff

Dictionary.com defines perform as this

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This
per·form   Audio Help   /p?r?f?rm/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[per-fawrm] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–verb (used with object) 1. to carry out; execute; do: to perform miracles. 
2. to go through or execute in the proper, customary, or established manner: to perform the marriage ceremony. 
3. to carry into effect; fulfill: Perform what you promise. 
4. to act (a play, part, etc.), as on the stage, in movies, or on television. 
5. to render (music), as by playing or singing. 
6. to accomplish (any action involving skill or ability), as before an audience: to perform a juggling act. 
7. to complete. 
–verb (used without object) 8. to fulfill a command, promise, or undertaking. 
9. to execute or do something. 
10. to act in a play: to perform in the role of Romeo. 
11. to perform music. 
12. to go through any performance. 
13. (of loans, investments, etc.) to yield a profit; earn income. 

I see nothing where a perfomance is all about the performer. All about ego.

but to our pastor, the worship team should not perform...Huh
We do a lot of upbeat contemporary stuff these days that is going to get anyone who is on this side of the grass
moving around. If we move around then we are performing and that is bad.... go figure, bass, drums guitars, keys, and not
move.... Roll Eyes

according to the above definition, even the pastors sermon would be considered a performance.
We have a lady who sings, very good voice, loves the Lord, a joy to hear sing and to play for, she gets told she is performing, because
she moves around to the music. I say she is in the moment, she beleives what she sings, it touches her, it is her connection with God, the music is much more than words on a page or sounds in the air....a concept some people just cannot grasp.
I agree. If we dont go there, how can we take them there.

Ahh it all so frustrating dealing with people and pastors who dont know a thing about music... Huh

ed

ps, John, thanks for the link, I have downloaded all the files. I listened to 2. I dont agree with everything they say, but I was shaking my head
many times as they have our worship teams pegged on the "not what to do" parts.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2008, 06:20:27 PM by basseddie » Logged

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A mediocre musician is always at their best....

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1954bassman
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2008, 08:19:07 PM »

David dancing = performance  Grin
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Rob_U
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2008, 10:38:30 PM »

In my experience, those who resort to the "Performing" or "Rehearsing" arguments simply do not like music. They are grasping at straws to impose their will on others. As many of you have pointed out the Bible points to doing our best, and if we our to communicate the Word of God in a Spirit-filled way - it will be with our best and most honed skills, and our brightest enthusiasm. An individual's heart is the key to whether they are showing off, or showing the Spirit. And an individual's heart is the key to whether they are quoting the Bible to further God's will, or their own.
My wife and I left our last Church over a slightly more complicated version of this "idea". No, I didn't throw a "hissy-fit" about it. But after enduring months of bickering, and a couple of "musician meetings" (attended by more old guard members of the Church than musicians) which involved prolonged discussions about Bible quotes taken out of context, definitions written all over a chalkboard, statements from the old guard like "I just want to come to church and sing songs", outright and bald-faced lies about things that had previously transpired, suggestions that we bring back the "blended services" (that featured 1 contemporary song and 4 traditional) to "please everyone", and just a general feeling of confrontation versus Christian unity, I felt sick enough to throw up. Hypocrisy does that to me.
I'm sorry for the rant, but this remains a large "Church hurt" for me.

Our Lord paid the price for our freedom from sin, freedom to live, freedom to follow Him, and freedom to Worship, and I, and my new Church family, will not be told to sit down, and be quiet in His house, on His day. Halleujah - Amen!
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jansenw
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2008, 10:42:24 PM »

What we do in corporate worship, we do in front of God and with others. What seems perfectly natural for one to do while worshiping may be a no-no for others. Part of the perception of a "performance" is in the eye of the beholder (denominationally, culturally and ethnically)

Priests were asked to perform various duties during an offering. Performing in this sense is OK. How about performance as entertainment?

Perhaps the question should be, "What is entertainment and does it have its place in a worship service?"
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fretlessguy
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2008, 09:33:04 AM »

I believe that Dave hit the nail on the head. ANYTHING we do in the Lord should glorify him, therefore we should do our best for Him.
After all, He gave His best for us.

This does not in anyway suggest we need to be perfectionists, for we will irritate our bandmates by even trying to. However, we do need to be at rehearsals and practice, and be on time.

I ended my bass playing at church. It was expected that we needed to sight read everything we did without practice. They would not open up the church to do this on an off night. Since we could not give Him our best, we decided to put an end to it, at least for the time being.

After reading some of the posts I can tell there is an anti-blended service sort of thing among a few of us. I am a fan of blended services for the fact that there are still many congregations of people whose members like many different styles of Christian music. However, blended does not mean one hymn and six contemporary songs anymore than six hymns and one contemporary song.
Also, I think that playing one type of music to the exclusion of the other is not right either.
Blended means exactly that: blended.  We have Ephesians 5:19 and Clossians 3:16 as the examples to follow.

Unfortunately, it is a shame that this is an issue in the Body of Christ today.

Rob-I will pray that you will find a church or have found a church where you can worship where one group is not trying to enforce its will on another. Do not give up until you find it.

Doug
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...and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16B
JohnH
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2008, 11:40:36 AM »

David dancing = performance  Grin
You took the words right out of my mouth!  How dare King David move - with or without music!!  (where is my "tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek" emoticon???)
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"God hears the song in your heart."
"Yeah.  But we have to hear you play."
Why Skill Really Does Matter - Ken Boer and Pat Sczebel
Rob_U
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2008, 12:56:53 PM »

Rob-I will pray that you will find a church or have found a church where you can worship where one group is not trying to enforce its will on another. Do not give up until you find it.
Doug

Thanks, Doug. I Guess I didn't make it clear that we did find a new church home after that - 2 years ago. They were in great need of musicians for the Celebrate Recovery service, and I love playing with all of my heart for them.
I don't actually move that much myself, but I play with all that I can give (as long as it fits the tone, intent, and the Spirit within the song). But there is freedom for the musicians, and for the Worshipers in the congregation as well. And in the Sunday services, where I am a bit more reserved as a worshiper without my Bass, there is the freedom for me worship in my own way, as well as those who are more spirited.
There no arguments, that I know of about the music - everyone seems to enjoy it, everyone seems moved to joy, or sometimes tears. Either we all agree, or we just have something (someone) more important to focus upon during Worship.

David dancing = performance  Grin

He didn't just dance, he "danced with all of his might" - try playing your Bass with all of your might! I may have gotten close during a couple of passages - but that's spirited!
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JohnH
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2008, 06:13:25 PM »

This is great!!  (Not sure what it has to do with astronomy but, it has loads to do with this thread!!!!)
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap080722.html
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"God hears the song in your heart."
"Yeah.  But we have to hear you play."
Why Skill Really Does Matter - Ken Boer and Pat Sczebel
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