Worship Notes

The Total Package - Part 1
The "Music" in "Music Minister"

In these the next four articles I will be sharing with you a message that God gave me in 1999.  This message is specifically for ministers of music.  The message is entitled "The Total Package" and will be available in audio format sometime in the near future.

I have said before that there are many titles that people will use in referring to music ministers.  Some use the term worship leader or praise and worship leader; some say Director of Music; or some may say Director of Worship Arts.  I'm not the type of person that gets caught up in titles.  I don't care what you call me as long as it's respectable.  But I prefer the term "Music Minister" or "Minister of Music" to most others, simply because I believe it most accurately describes what our purpose is.

There are many facets or aspects of music ministry.  Therefore there are many hats that a minister of music must wear.  For example, there is the instrumental aspect of music ministry; the vocal aspect of music ministry; the leadership aspect; the submissive aspect; the ministry aspect (of course) and many others.  The reason I have titled this message "The Total Package" is that I believe that we should strive to be as familiar as possible with the various aspects of music ministry in order to make us more effective.  In other words, we should strive to be "The Total Package".

In order to better understand our role, purpose and duty as music ministers, let's look at several of these aspects.  We will start by examining the title "Music Minister".

The first part of that title is "Music".  We should be a competent musician.  Webster's defines musician as "one who performs (vocally or instrumentally), composes, or conducts music.  I believe that in order to be a competent Music Minister, we should be competent in Music as a performer, composer and conductor.  I don't really like it when people refer to "singers and musicians".  Singers are musicians.  Their instrument is their voice.  In these cases, let's refer to singers and instrumentalists and use "musician" to describe all of us who perform, compose or conduct music.

One of the best ways to relate to the people that are in your praise and worship team is to be at least familiar with whatever it is that they do.  This does not mean that you have to be able to do everything that they do, but at least be familiar enough with what they do that you will not ask more of them than they are capable of delivering.

I lead worship from a keyboard.  Keyboard is what I would consider to be my main instrument.  But I determined a few years ago to become as versatile of a musician as possible.  This has helped me tremendously in developing a praise team that is almost always operating at the peak of its potential.  If my drummer is struggling with something, I can sit down at the set and show him what I want, or at least a reasonable facsimile.  I have put a demand upon myself so that I can place demands upon my drummer that are not out of his grasp.  

Let's take a look at a few of the various aspects of musicianship that we can familiarize ourselves with.  This will make us more versatile as ministers and help us in relating with those we work with in music ministry.

Performer - A good musician knows how to perform their music with excellence.  This means that they take time to cultivate and nurture their gift so as to render it effectively to those they are ministering to.  Have you ever been embarrassed for someone else as they struggle through a song that they were obviously not prepared to minister?  Nine times out of ten they provide no actual "ministry" to anyone, because the people in the congregation are too uncomfortable listening to it.  Be "The Total Package" by becoming a competent performer.

Composer - We talked about this in an article I wrote entitled, "A New Song".  A good Minister of Music should be a competent writer.  This brings a freshness and uniqueness to your ministry and also provides the opportunity to communicate your Pastor's heart to the congregation by writing songs off of his sermons.  My praise and worship team only consists of about a dozen people.  But we have about five or six excellent writers other than myself.  Their ages range from teenager to forties.  We've even had some of their songs get published.  Be "The Total Package" by becoming a competent composer.

Conductor - If you are leading worship, you need to know how to communicate both with your congregation and your team.  Establish signals and a leading style that will allow your team and your congregation to follow you with relative ease.  This eliminates the possibility of people drifting in and out of worship due to confusion.  Be "The Total Package" by becoming a competent conductor.

In the next article I will share a little more about the "Music" aspect of "Music Minister", then I will spend a couple of articles talking about the "Minister" aspect.  Becoming "The Total Package" will help you maximize your potential!