Ever hear this saying before: "Our God is a God who is more than enough!"?
I have and it's true concerning the nature of God and His Word. Unfortunately, it doesn't always ring true for our worship teams. You can have more than enough on a Sunday platform, but trust me, this is every sound engineers nightmare. Somehow worship leaders get it stuck in their head that the more people they have on stage, the more anointed a service can be. I blame Hillsong for this!! They produce epic worship albums & conferences and when you watch them on youtube, they've got a least 20 people on stage! Makes the average person think "Wow, we can do that", but what they don't realize is that there is much music arranging, music producing, & post production involved with every song. That means there's a lot of sounds & instruments removed from the final mix. When it comes down to what you actually hear, it's a real basic set up much like your worship team. Of coarse I don't really blame Hillsong for this (tongue-in-cheek), but it's easy to look at a huge worship ensemble and think that you can duplicate it.
Today I'd like to share about the principle of Quality over Quantity on our worship teams. In my experience, most growing churches feel the need to expand their worship team on the platform as the church grows in numbers, but I would suggest either holding back or doing the opposite. Why? I believe that sometimes in order to move forward, you have to take purposeful steps backwards. Gideon was a perfect example of this principle in scripture (Judges 6 through 8). God instructed him to bring radical change to Israel and as he gathered an impressive army in numbers, the Lord told him that he had too much. Through a series of different tests, Gideon cut back his army from 32,000 men to 300. Quite a drastic & bold change. In the end, he proved to be successful with the army of 300 because he had the mens heart and respect. The Quality of the men became the success of the mission. I believe the story would have ended differently if Gideon was more concerned about the Quantity of men for the battle.
Now here's the take away from this post - The Quality over Quantity principle is all about the building up of people, not the end result of our worship production. As worship leaders, our goal is to engage the church in true worship and also lead/build up our team members in Christ. Would we really be able to pour into & build up individual team members if our attention becomes scattered? I don't think so. If our focus is divided because of the amount of people on a service platform, than we won't accomplish our goal. We actually rob our team's individual success when we're too focused on the overall finished product.
Here's a question you should ask yourself: What's better - 3 good guitarist or 1 great guitarist? Some would say 3 good guitar players but I go with 1 great guitar player because a great guitarist will always know when to play, how to play, what sounds to use, and always remember to tune up. Worship leaders take note: There is a difference between a good musician and a great musician.
On my worship team at church, I've actually taken away the quantity of vocalist on stage in order to concentrate on the quality of vocals. For me, stepping backwards has proved to be successful in our vocal team because now I'm able to give more attention to individuals. Also, scaling back our vocal numbers has opened up more leadership positions in the team (worship leaders or song leaders) and improved scheduling conflicts. I've also seen this principle work in our music as well. It's not about how many notes you can fit into a song, but it's about being musical and playing the right notes that fit. The famous Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis was quoted for saying this about quality in music "It's not the notes you play; it's the notes you don't play."
If you find yourself elevating Quantity above Quality on your worship team, I would suggest taking these simple steps:
1. Step backwards and - EVALUATE
Chances are you're doing that right now. That's good. Evaluation is a good culture to have and we should always be looking for ways of team improvement. When you evaluate the quality of your team members, ask yourself personal leadership questions like 'Am I able to focus on the growth of individuals?' or 'Have I created opportunities for my worship team to personally grow?' or even 'What growth steps have I taken myself?'. All good evaluations should start with ourselves.
2. Step backwards and - PRAY
We need God's hand and wisdom in all that we do. To try to get God's blessing on our own plans is foolish Proverbs 3:7 in the message translation says "Don't assume that you know it all. Run to God!".
I find that I receive clearer direction when I am communicating with my heavenly Father.
3. Step backwards and - GET VISION
This part is important. The reason why we add too much is because we don't have a vision for what a Quality team could actually sound like. It's important for you and your team to have vision and to be on the same page about what church worship should look & sound like. There are tons of resources online that you can use. If you don't know where to start, you can view other praise & worship set's at this website: www.worshipsetideas.com
4. Step backwards and - COMMUNICATE
After you've got some personal vision, than it's best to start communicating with your pastor and other team leaders. You don't want to approach this alone so it's best to get your leaders blessing on the changes you'll be making. Trust me, when you've got personal backing on this, the medicine goes down a lot smoother.
After that step, it's now time to start communicating this great vision to your worship team.
5. Step forwards and - DO IT!
As soon as you got vision and communication down, run with it (Habakkuk 2:2). While you're running, pace yourself. You don't want to make too many changes too fast as it might cause a riff in your worship ministry. Instead, give some time parameters about when you'd like to start making some changes.
Hopefully this post will help some of you and your worship teams. I'd love to hear some feedback on this topic so leave a comment below this post. If you have any further questions or need some help in this area, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.