We, the elders of FCF, endorse the following concepts and goals for the music portion of our worship service. We invite your comments and suggestions as to how we might improved what is written here and as to how we can best accomplish these goals.
SOME DEFINITIONS OF WORSHIP:
Steve Cole: Worship is an inner attitude and feeling of awe, reverence, gratitude, and/or love toward God resulting from a realization of who He is and who we are. (Supporting Scriptures:
2 Sam. 6:12-17; Ps. 18:1; Ps. 84; Isa. 6; Matt. 16:13-19; Luke 5:8; John 4:23-24; 20:26-31; Phil. 3:3; Heb 12:28-29; 13:15-16; 1 Pet. 2:4-9).
John MacArthur: “Worship is our innermost being responding with praise for all that God is, through our attitudes, actions, thoughts, and words, based on the truth of God as He has revealed Himself” (The Ultimate Priority [Moody Press], p. 127. A simpler definition: “Worship is all that we are, reacting rightly to all that He is” p. 147).
William Temple: “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, and to devote the will to the purpose of God” (Cited in MacArthur, p. 147).
OUR GOAL IN CORPORATE WORSHIP:
Our goal on Sunday morning is to lead people into the presence of God, so that they meet with Him. We do not want to be man-centered, but God-centered. Our main goal is not to get blessed (a by-product), but to offer God our praise because He is worthy. We do not seek to entertain or put on a slick stage production, but to have worshipers look past us unto God. The worship leaders should not hinder the process either by being overbearing or “performing for the congregation,” or by being so musically poor and disorganized that they draw undue attention to themselves. The time should combine both celebration and reverence.
To lead in worship the leaders themselves must be worshipers, both on Sunday and throughout the week. We cannot lead people where we are not walking. Worship must be both in spirit (coming from being in fellowship with God in the inner person) and truth (in line with His Word). This means that worship leaders must be converted people who are growing in holiness. They should be musically gifted people who find joy in serving the Lord by helping others in worship through song. God deserves our best. Therefore, we must not be sloppy or apathetic about worship! It’s a ministry that deserves our full commitment.
We believe that the body needs the edification both of some of the new praise and worship choruses as well as some of the great doctrinally-solid hymns of the faith. These hymns may be accompanied by the complete worship team, and the tunes or beat may need to be contemporized at times. But we and our children would be the losers to abandon some of the great hymns. Sometimes it is edifying to give the background of an older hymn or to call attention to a particular line or verse. You may need to explain archaic or biblical language (“Here I raise my Ebenezer”)!
THE WORSHIP TEAM FORMAT:
- There should be a scheduled practice time once a week (approximately 2-2 ½ hours), plus 40 minutes before first service. The entire team should be committed to doing both worship services on Sunday morning. At least one designated team member should be able to stay for the final song of the second service.
- Practice consists of: Prayer, worship, sharing, exchanging ideas, waiting on the Lord, and the practicing and learning of familiar and new songs and hymns. The order of these items will vary as the Lord leads. Learning songs that are taken straight from Scripture is encouraged (Psalms). Also, team members are encouraged to be waiting on the Lord to give them new songs to share with the body.
- The team should consist of:
- Committed leadership, preferably a husband/wife team with the man taking the lead up front.
- Any members who have a desire (and the gift or ability) to worship in heart, song, and/or instruments.
- A variety of ages from high school up.
- Commitment to be at all practices.
- New team members should practice with the team for approximately one month before participating in a service.
- A goal is to have a minimum of one guitar, one bass guitar, one or two keyboards, and drums. Other instruments (brass, flutes, woodwinds) are encouraged.
- Team members must be able to work together as a team, which included being open to correction or constructive criticism concerning their music. Honest evaluation is essential for quality.
SOME RECOMMENDATIONS AND NEEDS:
- Each person on the worship team should be growing in understanding of worship and of how to lead in worship. It would be good to be reading widely: Worship Leader magazine; other significant articles (make copies for other worship team members); John MacArthur’s The Ultimate Priority (Moody Press); A. W. Tozer’sWorship: Missing Jewel in the Evangelical Church; etc.
- We should be growing in hearing and learning new songs (for example, Integrity’s Hosanna albums, Mercy, Songs of the Vineyard, etc.). Someone on the team should be on these mailing lists. On off Sundays, why not occasionally visit other churches, especially those that put a priority on worship, and see what is good and not so good about their worship? Also we should encourage team members occasionally to attend conferences on worship or perhaps to bring a resource person here to help train us.
- Special music: We would prefer having specials approximately every other week. Occasional special larger choral groups (for Easter, Christmas, etc.) would enhance those services which have more of an outreach focus.
- Since worship (not entertainment) is our goal, we would like to encourage the congregation not to clap for most specials. If clapping is encouraged, let it be as an offering of thanks to God. Any outside special musicians who perform for our services should be informed of this focus. Those participating in special music should generally be screened by an audition committee.
- Some additional sound equipment.
- We should put the hymns on the overhead and integrate them into the worship time. People sing better looking up, and it frees their hands for clapping, lifting to the Lord, etc.
- We need the singers to lead on men’s and women’s parts so they can be heard. This may involve training our people occasionally on how to sing the different parts.
- Reciting in unison some of the great doctrinal creeds (Apostle’s, Nicene, etc.) or the Lord’s Prayer together once in a while (not every week) is refreshing.
- We should consider adding to the budget financial support for the ongoing worship team leadership.