Why Do We Do It?

Featuring Tom Kraeuter Posted on February 1, 2010

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

The tension in the air is palpable. Beads of sweat roll ever so slowly down your brow. Yes, worship team auditions have arrived once again. While the worship leader does everything he can to put each musician at ease, trembling hands and wobbly voices reveal an underlying nervousness. “Can I cut it? What if I don’t make it? Well, at least I’m better than her.”

If you can’t relate to this scene, thank God right now. If you can, you might be helped by a quick review of the foundations for worship team membership. The Bible doesn’t carry specific details regarding who should be on the worship team and who shouldn’t. However, there are general principles concerning gifting and serving that apply to musicians as well as any other form of ministry in the church. The key phrases to remember are God’s grace, God’s calling, and God’s glory.

God’s grace is the foundation for our worship. 1 Corinthians 4:7, asks this penetrating question: “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”

We wouldn’t even be Christians, let alone musicians, apart from the grace of God. The second chapter of Ephesians tells us that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” It is God’s grace that has turned us from worshiper of ourselves to worshiper of the true and living God. It’s also God’s grace that is responsible for any gifting we have. Peter reminds us that “each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” Furthermore, if that weren’t enough, we learn in 2 Corinthians 9, that God’s grace is responsible for any fruit we bear. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” God doesn’t leave much room for taking pride in our position.

Secondly, we need to realize that God’s call is the reason we are on the worship team. While I may believe with all my heart that I’m supposed to be one of the musicians up front on Sundays, it’s not an issue of how strongly I feel. God is the one Who gives gifts, and God is the one Who calls us to ministry. Occasionally, this is for life, but more often, it’s only for a season.
I’ll never forget serving in a church with a particular drummer named Neal. Neal was an average drummer, but a true servant. He told me early on that he would do the best job he could and even bought a set of new drums to use on Sundays. But he insisted that if I ever found someone else more gifted, he would gladly step aside to serve in another ministry. The new drummer could even use his drums! I was shocked. I was elated. Sure enough a better drummer came along, and Neal moved on to another area of ministry. Imagine for a moment what effect it would have if every musician on a worship team followed Neal’s example. I can guarantee you that worship leaders across the country would find a new zeal for their job. Few things make a worship leader’s task more enjoyable than knowing that he’s free to move people in and out of the group in a way that will best honor the Lord. That’s the result of musicians trusting that their leaders can tell when God has called them to a position.

Finally, God’s glory is our primary goal in serving on the worship team. Our purpose as worship musicians is to draw attention to God, not ourselves. There is an obvious tension that exists every time we stand (or sit) in front of people to lead them in praising God. It’s necessary that we be heard and seen, or there’s no reason to be leading. However, if people focus on what we’re doing, worship has become entertainment. The only reason for being noticed is so we can direct someone’s attention and focus to the One who deserves all our worship, affections, and praise. We must be committed to confronting and overcoming our inner craving to be applauded, noticed, admired, and approved. That desire is in direct opposition to our stated purpose for being on the worship team: to bring God glory.

God’s grace, God’s calling, God’s glory. If we get these three foundations right, serving in the music ministry will be a true joy, not only for us, but for God Himself.