When we preach that the Gospel breaks down socio-economic, generational and cultural boundaries, its easy to forgot this truth applies directly to our worship team too.
Jesus said we will be known by our love for one another. When He prayed for "them" in John 17:21, He was praying for us. The Church. A Church that was unified and evangelical, even in their love for one another.
The point of the Gospel, of everything we sing about week in and week out, is the Church finally becoming one as God is faithful to sanctify and renew His people. This takes not only His work, but the careful and intentional direction of the men and women He has put in church leadership.
Paul understood this as he seems to plead with us that we live in harmony with one another (Eph 4, Col 3, 1 Cor 1). He had in mind a life on life community; day to day living this life and figuring out how to best follow Christ together.
So, the question is, can we organically nurture this in the teams we do life with week in and week out? If so, how?
We are not experts on this ever evolving process of community. But here's where we've started.
1. Realize that we are a chosen people set apart for worship leadership.
The office of worship leader comes from, in my view, the Old Testament Levites. They were a chosen and set apart tribe of God’s people and given the responsibility of leadingworship through music. We borrow this concept when we train up singers and musicians to lead worship. We become, in a way, a New Testament fulfillment of this office and should see ourselves as set apart for this purpose. It is no small thing to usher God’s people into His presence. We are part of a very old tradition of those set apart for this special office. When you train a vocalist or teach a guitar player how to use dotted 8th delay, remind yourself that you are adding to this great cloud of leaders that have gone before us. We are adding to this huge family of artists that have helped God be best worshipped through music and the arts.
2. Regiment regular opportunities for community to take place.
Rehearsal is probably not enough time for your team to share life together. At Shoreline, we are as organized as we can possibly be, have the sets up months in advance and have an amazingly talented team, but rehearsal is still time to focus on getting Sunday to be the best worship experience it can be and there is rarely a free moment to catch up on the bass player’s life and discipleship needs. We are new at figuring this out too, but we have given a standing invitation to our team to spend time together after rehearsal. Same place. Same time. Every week. This is still going to only scratch the surface on true community with your people. We must make time. Amidst the busyness of our schedules, memorizing songs and chords and trading gear on Facebook, we need to hang out with our people and dig into their lives. Invite your team over. Grill them something and watch life on life community start to evolve.
3. Remember that true community takes time.
Real community starts with trust. People need to be able to trust those who are wanting to share life with them. Life is hard, it’s messy, and it doesn't always look pretty. Before we’re really ready to be seen, there has to be a foundation of trust built, a safe place to confess sin and grow together. Begin to model this for your team, with the understanding thatthis part is going to take some time. One of my favorite Pastors who also happens to be my father-in-law has this saying: “Slow is fast.” This is so true of cultivating a team of true community. Be willing to be open first. Be first to step out in faith and share your story and be a safe place for your team. Patiently walk with them and disciple them with the love that Christ modeled for us.