I go through this dilemma about every 2 years or so. Do I go with one band that plays every week or do I use anyone and everyone that has an interest in our worship ministry? Well, it’s been almost 2 years now and I’m having that conversation with myself again, so I thought I’d let you in on it. I’m sure that some of this conversation is fueled by the incredible time I had playing with a pretty amazing band at the Church Planter’s Forum a few weeks ago. Check it out here.
At my last Church I spent the first 3-4 years learning how to be a worship leader. That means that I was constantly developing teams, which means that anyone and everyone was involved in the band. There are definitely some benefits to that. For example, as a Church Plant you don’t have a lot to choose from so by opening the band to anyone it really broadens the pool of players. It also allows you to develop musicians who otherwise wouldn’t get a chance to play on stage… anywhere! I can think of a few that are playing on a regular basis right now because of that. Also, by using less developed players it allows you to sculpt them (most of them) into the type of musician that you desire for your team. Not a bad thing at all.
On the other hand, by using anyone and everyone the quality of music does suffer somewhat… who am I kidding, it suffers a lot! And the task of scheduling 30-50 musicians in a way that no one feels left out is daunting in itself.
By using a set band you potentially get a higher quality band (not guaranteed) and usually a more committed band as well. But then you run the risk of burning them out. And when that happens you have the task of finding replacements or simply playing without them.
I spent the last 1-2 years of my time at that same Church with a set band (or set bands). I have to say that it was nice showing up on a Sunday morning not worrying about whether someone was going to nail a lead or stick a fill. And yet, here I am in that anyone and everyone scenario again.
Don’t get me wrong, I love working with young musicians and I love developing teams. I was called to a little Church Plant here in town that had one band. Half of it left when I showed up almost 2 years ago so I’m really excited that we now have so many people involved in the worship ministry today. It means that God has been able to raise up some talented musicians in our Church. And the cool thing is that I’ve been able to help them find their sound and their place in the ministry here.
Needless to say, there are positives and negatives to both approaches. I’m just reevaluating them right now. So let me lay it out clean and clear and then I’d love to hear your input.
Set Band Pros…
Higher Quality Musicians
More Intimate Relationships
Tighter Sounding Band
Less Stress on Sunday Mornings
Set Band Cons…
Scheduling when they’re not available
Smaller Pool of Musicians
Potentially Robbing people of the opportunity to use their gifts
Anyone and Everyone Pros…
Larger Pool of musicians
More people serving/using their gifts
A more moldable team of musicians
More “Teachable Opportunities” 😉
Anyone & Everyone Cons…
Lower Quality Musicianship
Having to say ‘no’ to someone if they’re just not cutting it (with a set band, you have an excuse).
At first glance, it would seem that the larger your Church is, the more people you’d involve in your worship ministry. However, I’m not sure that’s really the case. What do you think?