Professionalism in the Church
Today in the world that we live in, we hear a lot about professionalism in the workplace, schools, places of business, etc. For example, when we are at work, we are expected to do the absolute best job we can do, no matter what and rightly so.
Should the Church be exempt from this same ideal? I think not. Please don’t get me wrong on this; I am not at all saying that the Church should be run like a business, because I don’t think it should. A business and the Church are two different things and should be treated as such. What I am saying is that I do believe that as a part of the Worship Team at Mt Pleasant Baptist Church, the same energy we spend perfecting our job skills should be applied to what we do as worship leaders. For example, only the most skillful of musician was allowed to play for King Saul in his melancholy. That most skillful of musicians was David, who would soon become King. I believe in having that same mentality in what we do as singers, musicians and worship leaders. After all, these are talents and abilities that have been given to us from God, as it was with David.
“Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” – Psalm 33:3
If I am honest, I have heard “Christian” music that is, well, middle-of-the-road at best. I know that we all have our own specific tastes in music, and so I am not talking about opinion, but I know that we have all heard music that just isn’t up to par, so to speak. Unfortunately, sometimes, this comes from worship programs from within the church. I have found that this comes from many things and it usually isn’t a talent issue at all, because God will use willing vessels. Most of the time I think that the lack of attention to detail is usually what sticks out. How does that change? How do we decide to not settle for mediocrity in what we do?
Attention to Detail
I think that attention to detail is crucial. For music programs, the attention to detail or lack thereof, will make or break you. Not only is it something that the Worship Team will notice, but the entire congregation will notice as well. For example, something that we do at Mt Pleasant that I really appreciate is the fact that we create transitions between our songs. When doing a song set, we will do 3-4 songs back to back with no real pauses in between. To create good transitions between those songs, we first of all create a song set with the songs all in the same key. If we do change keys, we only go up in key and never down. We would also create subtle key change transitions to make the change seamless in that situation. Secondly, between songs, instead of just stopping the music all together, our keyboard player will continue to play a passage into the next song along with occasional electric guitar swells. We do this so the sound never actually stops at any point as it also helps to keep the notes in the singer’s ear. Next, during the music, the singers move around on the stage so as never to just stay in the same spot and I must say they do a great job of making it look and feel great.
Just skimming the surface of other points; the instruments are in sync with each other and we pay close attention to cut offs, unique passages, making sure we aren’t playing on top of each other, etc. Also, the audio/visual team does just as good of a job coordinating the sound and lights to tie everything in.
What’s the Point?
It may seem like I have laid out a nice overview for you of what our typical Sunday Morning service looks like, and it is. These things also work well. But, please don’t get me wrong; do we have hiccups? Yes; most definitely. I think any Worship Team or any group at all who is striving to improve and to do their best will have those hiccups. So, with all of those things said, you may be asking, “What’s the point?” Or, “It sounds like a concert, aren’t you trying to draw a lot of attention to yourselves?” We are attempting to do quite the opposite. We are trying to create an atmosphere of worship. We focus on ministering to the Lord, because after all, we as people on that stage cannot meet the needs of the people in the congregation. But we can minister to God, who can meet those needs that we can’t even see; that is the point. When we make sure we have seamless song transitions, tight music, good lighting, etc, everything flows together without attention-grabbing pauses or awkward transitions.
I’m speaking from a bit of experience when I say that a congregation won’t notice and can’t tell when you do everything right and everything goes as planned, but they are very quick to point out anything that isn’t right. That is why we pay such close attention to our worship set.
So again, here is the point: we minister to the Lord while he meets the needs of those in the congregation and we do it to bring Him as much glory as we possibly can on this earth. As worship leaders, that is why we do what we do.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” - Colossians 3:23-24