music minister or worship leader?

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by nodak, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. nodak

    nodak
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    15
    I don't want to hijack the thread about corporate worship, but I do want to share something that worries me.

    When I was in high school (in the dark ages) one of my good friends had a dad who was a music minister at the largest Baptist church in town. I was not saved yet, nor was I Baptist.

    I asked her about her dad's job--what he did, what training he had, etc.

    She taught me that he had a college degree in music, complete with courses in performance, composition, music history, music theory, etc.

    And then he went to seminary and trained in Bible--theology, doctrine, history, languages, etc.

    So he was a full fledged ordained minister who ministered through music.

    Fast forward several decades (I am NOT telling how many) and a young man I taught in church as a gradeschooler is now a worship leader hired by a Baptist church.

    He has a college degree in music education, so I am assuming he had training in theory, composition, performance, etc.

    But instead of any theological education, he was then trained in "worship techniques." I have to admit these make my blood run cold, as he tells about learning how to use music to build a certain mood, induce a certain mental state, or coerce certain actions. Examples would be: if the pastor wants a yes vote at the end of a service for a new building program, do only upbeat victory songs. Or the quite knowledgable use of repetitive phrases to induce a trance like state (a yoga practice.) Or the fact he prefers standing to sitting and singing all in one block because he was taught this induces the same mental state watching tv does--a sort of mental checking out or mind relaxation.

    The stand and sing, pray, sit and sing, stand and sing, sit for sermon, etc means people are "too awake" or "too alert" and therefore less receptive to the preaching.

    I'm sorry, but those practices sound a bit too "Jim Jones" for my taste.

    And it worries me that we seem to be unwilling to rely on God's Word applied by the Holy Spirit and instead try to use techniques of crowd manipulation.
     
  2. annsni

    annsni
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Messages:
    20,198
    Likes Received:
    376
    Wow! I've never heard of that!

    In our church, my husband is the worship leader. He was hired with that being one of his responsibilities and he has since been ordained. He has no "formal" music training as a music minister but has been playing instruments for much of his life (over 40 years now) and he knows how to lead a team well - as well is very sensitive to what's going on in the worship time. He puts his whole heart into the worship that he leads. I've never heard of playing certain songs to get a certain response - although we've done songs that go along with the message at times and we certainly don't do Christmas songs in July. LOL

    The idea of being trained to manipulate emotions is creepy to me.
     
  3. FriendofSpurgeon

    FriendofSpurgeon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Messages:
    3,056
    Likes Received:
    36
    Creepy (and manipulative). Our music director's title is "Music Director" and he is a non-ordained staff member. Our pastor is the worship leader.

    I agree -- if the title is going to be Worship Leader, then it is an ordained position.
     
  4. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've told this story before, but it fits here. I attended a service at a charismatic church with a friend (and even sang a solo). At the beginning of the service, the instrumentalists began some up-tempo music, heavy drumbeat, and the worship leader stood up and began clapping his hands. That was the signal for all to start clapping, and everybody stood up.

    Apparently it wasn't enough, for the worship leader shouted, "C'mon, we've got to get in the spirit!" He became more animated, clapping more insistently. It worked. People started dancing, raising hands, more clapping.

    Now, to be sure, clapping, raised hands, even some dancing are not necessarily bad in themselves. But the worship leader made it clear that in this instance, they were all associated with "getting in the Spirit." Not the result of worshiping in the Spirit, but a means of getting there.

    I've been in the part-time music ministry for 56 years. I know all the tricks. In my younger days, I did some things for the simple reason that I thought that was the way they were done, and didn't know any better.

    It took me a while, but finally learned that the Holy Spirit is poured out, not worked up.
     
  5. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    One other thought. Calling someone "worship leader" implies to me that the worship ends when the music ends. That's why it's called "worship music," you see.

    What you you think? Do we really quit worshiping when the preacher stands up to preach?
     
  6. carpro

    carpro
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    20,941
    Likes Received:
    296
    To me , as well.

    Now I wonder if I will forever be looking for a hidden agenda in the music.

    I don't like being manipulated.
     
  7. Timsings

    Timsings
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have to admit I'm prejudiced. My father worked for 25 years in the Music Department of the Baptist Sunday School Board. He retired as the head of the department. In 1980, he and my mother moved to Fort Worth where he joined the music faculty of the school of church music at Southwestern Baptist Seminary. He retired again in 1998 (at the age of 78), but he taught two more years as adjunct. His work at the BSSB involved supporting the music programs in local churches. These programs included adult choirs, youth choirs, children's choirs, instrumental groups, organists, pianists, etc. They produced music for all age groups and programs. He was the general editor for the 1975 Baptist Hymnal, and he served on the committees for the 1956 and 1991 Baptist Hymnal. When he went to the seminary he was training students so that they would be prepared to take over a church music program in a local church.

    At some point after they had been in Fort Worth several years, their church hired a music leader that did not have a music degree. My parents talked to the pastor, but their concerns fell on deaf ears. So, they changed churches.

    I think that the state of church music has deteriorated over the last 10 to 20 years. Too many churches have settled for a watered-down and dumbed-down music program. They have lost sight of the proper role of music in a worship service. Someone on this thread mentioned the idea that worship stops when the music stops. I know one preacher who takes it the other way. He believes that worship happens only during the preaching. Everything else in the service is either preparation for or response to the worship that occurs during the sermon.

    I think I have vented enough.

    Tim Reynolds
     
  8. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    Tim, your father was one of the good guys. As a young minister of music who relied on the BSSB for music for the choir and other groups, there was no way one could not be influenced by your father. He was a prolific writer, and was constantly offering ideas on how to enhance worship, and not just with the music.

    One of the things I gleaned from his instruction was, when looking for new music, first examine the text. It must line up with scripture. No matter how appealing the tune, the message of the text must be clear and Biblical.

    The Holy Spirit does not require manipulation or tricks to make the music enhance worship. We know that the music and our emotions are connected, but we also know that the goal is worship, not an emotional high.
     
  9. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    Tim's comments also triggered a memory of an assocational annual meeting a few years ago.

    The host church's minister of music was in charge of the music for the meeting. At the point where singing was called for in the program, he stood up, the screen came down, words projected on the screen, and began to lead the crowd in a series of contemporary choruses.

    I was sitting near the back, and as I looked out over the crowd, I noticed that the majority were older adults, with lots of gray heads. Few of them knew the choruses. Seeing the words doesn't help if you don't know the tune. Of course, the tune repeated itself over and over. The people were doing the best they could, but a lot of them simply did not participate.

    There was nothing wrong with the choruses, nor with the text. But it was obvious the young MM did not know his audience, and left some doubt in my mind if he knew many traditional hymns. He certainly didn't use any of them.

    Now, I have to admit, that I'm pretty traditional, and am not oriented to contemporary Christian music. It all sounds alike to me (with some exceptions, of course). My own church is a graying church, and it doesn't relate to CCM at all. I could do it, but won't because of the congregation's makeup.

    If you have a pretty good-sized church, with both young and old, I don't envy a MM's efforts to accommodate varying tastes in music. But that's another subject.
     
  10. Joshua Rhodes

    Joshua Rhodes
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/jrhodes.jpg>

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Messages:
    3,944
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have served in 5 different churches in my time in vocational ministry. For four of those, I have been both licensed and ordained. I have served as a Minister of Music, Worship Leader, Worship Pastor, Lead Worshipper, and Song Leader. I have approached each position exactly the same, done most of the same things in each, and I believe the only differences for most churches is what the congregation and pastor are comfy calling the person leading the sangin'. In my experience, its mostly semantics, and I would do what I'm called to do even if they called me "Music Janitor" or nothing at all.
     
  11. Bobby

    Bobby
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know of and have heard preachers who have the same ability! :tear:
     
  12. FriendofSpurgeon

    FriendofSpurgeon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Messages:
    3,056
    Likes Received:
    36
    I'm sure a lot of the training (or lack of) depends on so many things, including ---

    the size of the church
    the responsibilities of the position
    full time or part time position
    the gifts of the individual

    While I'm sure that this isn't always true (as there are always exceptions), my experience is that the larger the church, the higher percentage that this is a full time position, & the more qualified the individual.
     
  13. JohnDeereFan

    JohnDeereFan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    11
    Yeah, I've never understood the purpose of a "worship leader". I used to go to a church that had a rock band and a worship leader and a lot of it had more to do with group emotional manipulation than actual worship.
     
  14. annsni

    annsni
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Messages:
    20,198
    Likes Received:
    376
    I guess it has to do with th edefinition of worship leader. My husband is the worship leader at our church and he's in charge of all things worship. In other words, he's in charge of the 3 worship teams, scheduling, clearing new songs, leading one of the teams, coming up with anything else having to do with worship such as putting together a choir for tomorrow's service when we haven't had a choir in years. He's not about emotional manipulation but making sure that the worship music is good, Biblical, smooth and seamless so it does not hinder the worship of the congregation but assists them to worship.
     
  15. nodak

    nodak
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    15
    Well, I worship in private.

    When I go to church, I expect the preacher to preach.

    I expect the song leader (there's a good old term!) to lead songs.

    Somebody will pray.

    OK, no, I did not personally see the dinosaurs.
     

Share This Page

Loading...