Breaking News

MINISTRY POWER +TIPS :::: 5 Spiritual Dangers Praise Team members Must Avoid

There is a certain glamour or prestige associated with being on the praise team; at least in many people’s mind. Praise teams have become the it thing in churches, it seems. But with their popularity comes many challenges.

While doing some research on the subject we came across a powerful article that dealt with some of the “spiritual traps” many praise team members can fall into.  The title of the article was 5 Spiritual Dangers To Praise Teams.

Here, we present those tips and they were written by Ron Cross.

5 Spiritual Dangers To Praise Teams

  By Ron Cross

Praise team members are gifted and talented people. We’ll assume that you have all made a commitment to Jesus Christ. Your role is a high visibility one, and there are a number of dangers that you need to be aware of. 

Danger #1      Ego issues
 I was the guest speaker and worship leader for a Men’s Retreat and Sunday services at a large church in South Dakota. When I began rehearsing the praise band, a guitar player was very vocal about his displeasure at the key of a song I’d selected. Here’s the thing about worship: if you have a prima donna whose poor attitude corrupts that of the others, it is much more difficult for the praise team to worship. I conferred with the minister, and the guitar player was asked not to participate with the team while I was there. The resulting worship was focused upon God, and the team did a great job. 

            Musicians take pride in their craft. Whether vocal or instrumental, most have an emotional investment in what they do. Being a part of a team effort places you in a position of having your pride challenged. Consider the vocalist who at times tends to let their pitch drop just a bit, or one who isn’t getting the correct rhythm. Being corrected by the worship leader in front of the others can be a blow to our ego. Some musicians are far more impressed with their talent level than are others and can tend to want to push their sound to rise above that of the others. What can you do about that?

            The solution is different for each person, and the wise worship leader will learn how to best deal with the various ego’s on the praise team. Reminding the team as a whole what the collective purpose is can help members retain a grip on the importance of their particular role. You can demonstrate a great attitude, be willing to accept constructive criticism, and help keep ego issues to a minimum on your praise team. Here are a few suggestions you and your worship leader might consider to help ego issues from arising:

·        Begin rehearsals with scripture and a brief word of encouragement. Use this as a chance to share scriptures about humility, being a servant, considering others better than ourselves. Volunteer to lead that brief time or rotate that responsibility with the worship leader or others. 

·        Share the spotlight. Don’t focus upon the most talented person, but allow others to express their individual talent from time to time. There will oftentimes be one person who has a very high level of talent. We need to keep in mind that none of us are indispensible. It’s healthy for several musicians to share the spotlight times. 

·        If the member is consistently causing problems with the team, the worship leader needs to be willing to gently but firmly remove the member from the team if intervention doesn’t help. You can help by supporting the worship leader and speaking positively of changes that might have to be made. Keeping a healthy attitude is key.

Danger #2      Addiction to the spotlight

            This is closely aligned with the ego/attitude problem. Being in front of people on a weekly basis can become addictive, and tends to give an unhealthy balance in how a member views themselves and their life. A person’s identity shouldn’t be defined by being on a stage. Craving the thrill of the spotlight can cause us to view our home life as a boring place where we aren’t truly appreciated. It can become more important than practicing the spiritual disciplines that build our strength. 

            While we want talented and dependable people on the praise team, it is vital to your worship that the head and heart are in the right place. The need to be out front can be spiritually unhealthy. If you think this might be a problem for your team or an individual on your team, visiting with your worship leader and try to find a solution.  

·        Consider rotating team members or even having multiple teams, giving everyone at least one week a month “off” to be a participant with the rest of the church. 

·        Encourage the team to show their appreciation for one another, to applaud and rejoice when someone else is able to shine, especially when that person doesn’t often get the spotlight

·        Schedule a complete a cappella service from time to time without the need for vocalists or instrumentalists, giving them the week off.

Danger #3      Being a performer rather than a worshipper

            The praise team member’s role is to model worship, to demonstrate worship by actually being involved in worship. There is the danger that you might begin to consider yourself from a performance standpoint for the benefit of the audience. Thinking about the technical aspects and how one looks or is perceived is not conducive to worship. Being aware of those technical details while also communicating with the Father isn’t always easy.

 One of the frequent complaints I’ve heard of praise teams, especially those of the megachurches, it seems, are that the impression is that they were putting on a show rather than worshipping. Now, it’s easy to make judgments when you are sitting high in the stands, and some of that criticism is unwarranted. However, if some people are caught up in watching how you worship rather than being involved in worship themselves, it is important to reflect upon your worship to ensure that all that you say, do, sing, and play are done with God’s presence in mind. 

            The goal of the worship leader is to help the praise team have the proper mindset, to think first about their relationship with God and the offering of their praise and heartfelt worship to Him. Actually, praise team members ARE performers, but like the rest of us, we are performing for God’s pleasure, for His glory and His exaltation.

When I lead worship for host churches I oftentimes ask how many people are in the audience. The answer is: one. God is the audience and all of the rest of us are performing for His approval, granting Him heartfelt worship. Our focus and performance are strictly for Him, not for others. To achieve that goal, try the following:

·        Discuss the difference between being a performer and a worshipper with the team. While you want to be free to express your praise and to encourage the church to worship, what you do needs to be spontaneous rather than orchestrated. If more than one source indicates that someone’s activity is distracting, you’ll want to discuss how distracting people from God’s presence is counterproductive to worship.

·        Take your team to other churches from time to time to observe other praise teams. Ask them if the praise team there helped lead them in worship. Critique the experience and help them think about what they are doing.

·        Put reminders with their music that says, “GOD is the audience. Worship Him!”

Danger #4      Burnout

            Being a member of the praise team can be an exciting role. However, there is the chance that being involved can lead to spiritual burnout. Rehearsals and multiple services can drain our time and energy. If you are naturally active, you can be so involved that you grow to resent the time drain of the team. A wise man once said, “You can do anything you want. But you can’t do everything you want.” That is an important time management principle. If you are doing cub scouts, teaching Sunday school, on planning committees, heading the PTA and coaching a little league team, you probably don’t have the time or the energy to devote to being part of a praise team. It’s all about making wise choices. It’s OK to say “no” to some things.

            Burnout isn’t a problem just for people on praise teams. We all can be tempted to take on too many things and then grow resentful when our time is so filled up we have no time just for “us.”  So what can you do? Again, visit with your worship leader, and you might try the following:
·        Make sure every person on the team knows that they can request time off. The worst thing that can happen is for you to think that if you aren’t a part of the praise team, it won’t survive. Believe me, it will!
·        Discuss burnout, how it affects your family and person life, point out some of the key traits of burnout so that team members can recognize when they are approaching danger levels. Make sure you have time with your team to talk about things and pray for one another.

·        Recognize that the issues might be in a person’s personal life and have nothing to do with the team. Be supportive of one another and pray for one another. Be willing to release team members who are over-extended with the hope that after reducing some of the demands on their life, they can return to the team.

Danger #5      Ignoring Spiritual Disciplines

            People on the praise team are just assumed to be spiritually mature and healthy individuals. Whether it is stated or not, more is expected of those on the team, a higher level of spirituality and accountability. It’s not fair, and the Bible certainly doesn’t identify such double standards.

            But it is possible for people to be on the edge spiritually while smiling and singing or playing on the stage week after week. You might assume that serving on the team gives you all the spiritual nourishment that you need. Well, it doesn’t. Like every believer, you need to practice the spiritual disciplines if you expect to have any vital spiritual strength.

 For information on the spiritual disciplines, I recommend Richard Fosters “Celebration of Discipline.” As a charismatic Quaker, Foster does a great job of discussing a number of the disciplines. Daily bible reading and prayer, meditation, journaling, periodic times of self examination are just a few of the spiritual disciplines that believers need to be involved in to grow and remain spiritually strong.

·        Talk about the disciplines with your team. Have them share what part of the scriptures they are reading. Lead your team on a 10 week scripture reading experience.

·        At the end of all of my rehearsals, I gather the praise and tech teams and we share victories, needs, and events of our lives, then we pray for one another. If a member is being tempted or tested, we circle around the member, putting a hand on a shoulder and pray for that brother/sister. We care about one another. The praise team is your small group, the ones that you support and who support you.

Those are a few of the dangers that lie in wait. Remember that as ministers, you are being used by God when you sing or play. To the evil one, you are the enemy. He wants you to struggle with ego problems, to become addicted to the spotlight, to fail to worship, suffer burnout, and think that you don’t need to tend to your spiritual nourishment.

But the good news is that God has enabled you to avoid these dangers. You have the Holy Spirit, your gifting and talent from God, brethren to encourage you, and a chance to do something significant for the kingdom. So, enjoy your work in the service of the King.

CREDIT :: This is a post from Ron Cross.

No comments