Friday, November 6, 2015

10 Commandments of Great Worship Team members - Mark Cole

Thank you Mark Cole for this great article:

The 10 Commandments of Great Worship Team Members

Sometimes I lead the worship band and sometimes I play in the band. Both are important roles and have specific responsibilities to do them well. As both a leader and a player/singer, here are my ten most important rules as a team member:

1. I will be available at least twice per month and answer worship department emails within 24 hrs
• I find that players need to play a minimum of twice per month to stay in the flow of the worship and maintain good relationships with the leader(s) and team members.
• As someone who has scheduled worship teams for years, prompt replies by the team members is greatly appreciated. Also, it is a good habit to be prompt in all your communication. It is a form of discipline and respect.

2. I will listen to, practice and memorize the songs for Sunday
• Most musicians learn by listening. I always spend the .99 cents to $1.29 to download the songs on iTunes and make a playlist to listen in my house and car. Listening will teach you things that charts never will.
• I always take time to practice the new songs for the team and briefly review the older songs. I want to be excellent in my service to the Lord. God rewards faithfulness and excellence.
• Memorizing songs allows me to get past the music and worship God freely. Most worship songs are not hard to memorize.

3. I will show up prepared and on time for rehearsal
• Leaders and other team members really appreciate when all the team has done their homework. When the drummer knows the grooves, tempos and breaks, it makes the rehearsal go so much smoother. When the lead guitar and keyboard players have learned the introductions and lead lines, it saves so much time for the rest of the group.
• When team members all show up on time, it shows respect and value for the whole team. It promotes unity and makes the rehearsals go much smoother.

4. I will show respect and love for my fellow team members and leader
• The second greatest commandment is to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. When team members show love and respect for each other, rehearsals, worship and life in general is much better.
• Being a leader can be tough. When you respect and are patient with your leader, God sees and rewards that attitude and heart.

5. I will not doodle on my instrument when the leader is speaking
• Having great rehearsal habits is important. The time to practise your individual part is when you are on your own.
• You show respect for the leader and the rest of the team when you learn to listen at the appropriate times.

6. I will worship as I play my instrument and endeavour to be a great worshipper on and off the stage
• The purpose of a worship band is to worship God and lead the congregation to do the same. If you are just playing or singing then you are not fulfilling your responsibilities. Get past the music and worship God and lead by example.
• A sign that you are an authentic worshipper is that you are the same on and off the stage. People see you on and off the stage. Be authentic!

7. I will attend church and give whether I am playing or not
• Great team worship team members know the importance of regular church attendance. We all need to be great congregational members before we can become great worship team members.
• Supporting your local church means more than playing your instrument. Giving of your time and finances really shows where your heart is.

8. I will practice my singing and/or instrument regularly
• Great worship team members are better this year than they were last year.
• Great team members work on growing by practicing regularly, taking lessons and watching and learning from great worship videos.

9. I will wear the appropriate clothes for the dress code
• I never want my clothes to be a distraction to our worship times.
• My general advice is to develop a dress code that is modest and culturally relevant to your congregation.

10. I will grow in my walk with the Lord and live a godly lifestyle
• This is the last commandment but it is the most important. Loving God with your whole heart and life is the core of worship.
• Living a life that is pleasing to God opens up the door for God’s blessing on your life. Don’t allow sin to ruin that. Repent and get back on track!

Question: What points have I missed? Are you a great worship team member? What areas can you improve on?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Helping the Broken

A dear friend of mine is at the end of her rope - trying to help a person in trouble. I wrote this to help and encourage her today:

You can only do so much for people in situations like this. You cannot save them - they HAVE TO RISE UP ON THE INSIDE FOR THEMSELVES. I know you know this, but so many fail in the healing process because they want others to do the hard work for them. ...And it is very hard work to break bondages. No one can win these victories for us - we must find the strength of God and character inside ourselves, or the victory will never "stick." We go round and around the same pole.

Broken people are always looking for "saviors," or "messiahs." Stronger people who will "save" them when they don't want to do the hard work of overcoming for themselves. Kind friends can be sucked into the losing battle of trying to help - in the end they get worn out and abused.

There is only one Savior - He has done it all, and His victory is more than enough for every sin and brokenness. His Salvation is free...but it will still cost us our lives to change from our pathetic and broken wee selves into champions of His grace.

Victory can only come from daily decisions to walk in wholeness and holiness despite the cost - these are moment-by-moment, day-by-day, year-by-year choices that arise out of the seemingly ordinary situations we find ourselves in. Slowly we build pathways of grace - out of our darkness and into His light...but the old self is lost in the process and all that He has intended for us to become - our destiny - comes into view. We can no longer hold on to those lies, addictions and habits that framed our former selves. We are, indeed, made new.

What your friend needs is a vision to hold onto of their true destiny and identity in Christ; a Church that will be patient with them - all the while, not putting up with all the games that go along with this struggle to become whole; a strong commitment to this war and its many battles - this includes a commitment to Christ, His Word and the relationship of life that only He can give; Grace.

The love you want to show to your friend must be filled with these things - full of grace...yet grounded in uncompromising truth. An honest seeker will thank you for it and be changed by it.

God bless you as you serve her as Christ would serve her. Wash her pain, but hold her to the enduring and unyielding holiness of God. None of this means that we cannot falter at times...but He makes it possible for us to stand up again and again in the face of every mistake, injustice and suffering. NOTHING is strong enough to negate the power of His blood or the supremacy of his grace in anyone who has the audacity to fling themselves upon Him.

Rugby World Champions

New Zealand won the Rugby World Cup last Saturday - beating Australia 34 - 17. Here they are - doing the Haka (war dance) celebrating with the Webb Ellis Trophy and paraded through the streets of New Zealand's largest cities:

Congratulations All Blacks!!!
Thank you for all the memories!!!
How sweet it is!

Back-to-Back World Champions!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Rugby World Cup

The Rugby World Cup is now on in England - the tournament goes from 18 September to 31 October. GO ALL BLACKS!!!

Highlights from New Zealand's first game. The reigning World Champions pulled out a tough win over Argentina: 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Blog by John Zimmer

I read a blog today by John Zimmer ( - He has some great articles which I recommend for all of my readers. John comes to his conclusions and challenges on worship from a different perspective than most of us in Charismatic circles, so for that reason alone, I urge you to take a look at his blog. In the end, we are all worshiping the King of Kings, and we have so much to learn from our brothers and sisters in other denominations.

I happened upon one of Johns blog entries titled "Come to the Dance" (Come to the Dance) There are some questions in here that are of great interest to me, and I wanted you to read this section:

Zimmer, John W

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Come to the Dance

Isaiah 6:1-8

Among the myriad of gatherings we attend in life, how are these roles sorted out in worship? I believe the roles I have described above are sometimes confused when we come to worship. Who is the host? Is it God, or the pastor? Is the audience the congregation? For there to be effective, meaningful worship directed toward God, the roles need to be clear.

When you attend worship which role do you assume.  A Danish theologian and philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, identified three roles in worship that are much like a dramatic presentation. God is the audience, the congregation is on stage and the worship leaders are the directors. Be introspective for a moment and ask yourself a few questions about how you talk or think about worship. Do you have preferences in your worship style? That is, do you prefer a more reverent, structured worship time that is quiet, contemplative, and solemn or do you prefer a more celebrative atmosphere that is marked by shouts of joy, spontaneity and less structure. Are there things you don’t like in worship? Do you have favorite songs? These questions sound like survey questions for an audience, don’t they? Have you assumed the role of audience in your worship gathering? 

As in many of the gatherings of our lives, we are most often the audience. Having participated in each role, I would think the audience has the easiest role. You just show up. Not a lot of preparation is involved and you can just sit back, relax and watch. There is so much in our lives that we “watch”. We watch sports, television, concerts, weddings, graduations and so forth. We watch so much, it makes it difficult to step into different roles.  Taking the stage takes preparation, planning, and focus.

 John's conclusion...

When we gather to worship, God wants to hear from us. He wants to watch us worship Him. At any moment He may take over and remind us He has already paid the price that makes the gathering possible. Without the sacrifice Jesus made that provided the bridge of forgiveness, our worship of God would go unobserved. We need to be careful what role we assume in worship. He wants our best, which ironically, He has made possible.

Our answer to this question: Who is the audience in worship, who are the performers and who is the director? ...reveals so much about our theology and practice of worship. I fundamentally disagree with Kierkegaard's premise that God is the audience - the congregation are onstage and the worship leaders are the directors, but I do understand the heart of this matter. We all desire that our worship would be pleasing to the Lord and that we would be true ministers of the praises that ascend to his throne.

I think that the ultimate description of "roles" in worship is this:

• There is NO audience - only communing hearts
• There is NO one on stage - only conversing lovers
• There are NO directors - only facilitators and doorkeepers of the Divine presence

Some of this might simply be semantics - directors vs facilitators for example...although I prefer to think of worship teams as servants and doorkeepers rather than directors...but this is a very small point. The larger issue here is the role of the congregation in worship. 

Congregations used to think of themselves as an audience, and church leaders definitely treated them as an audience by having the "professionals" do and say everything in the service. I still hear congregations mistakenly referred to as an "audience."

A few years ago, we became a little more sophisticated and entertained thoughts of the congregation as the "performers" and God as the "audience of One!" However, this is also incorrect in my view. 

I see worship as a journey into the presence of the Lord where God and His people can commune. There are moments when the people pour out their hearts before Him, but the RESPONSE of the Lord must be welcomed and encouraged. If the people do all the talking and singing, we only have half of a conversation. The Lord wants His voice and will to be heard. The Lord has a plan and purpose for every service - it is up to the worship team to make way for God to speak through the congregation (1 Cor. 14:26), the singers (Col. 3:16), Instruments (1 Cor. 14:7-8; 1 Chron 25:1-8), the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12-14), the sacraments (Lu. 24:35), all of the arts (Ex. 31:1-11), and of course the Church leaders (Eph. 4:12).

I believe that the interaction between heaven and earth is a foundational issue in worship. The fact that God's voice comes through human vessels is a problem for so many churches, and for that reason it has been easier to keep the "conversation" of worship one-sided. Many mistakes have been made as we attempt to "carry" God's voice to the people - through the people. That doesn't mean that we should eliminate this entire part of the worship conversation. Peter calls every Believer to this worshiping priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9) - every believer is to be a mature, holy, royal Bride who carries out praise duties as part of God's plan for his people. We are not the audience in worship...neither are we the sole performers. We are the kingdom priests and ministers who pour out praise before our Beloved, and who carry his voice and songs back into the hearts of the Church and into this desperate world.

The voice of God is imperative. What do we have without this? His voice and presence are the most important component of worship. Let us not relegate Him to the place of an audience. Rather, let Him be very present in every gathering and let his voice be part of every service. This is what He says to every church:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
Rev. 3:20

Those who love the truth listen to His voice—John 18:37

Thank you John for your blog - some great thoughts on worship are there to inspire all of us.