A church-friend of mine posed this question to me on Formspring: What if you are just a back up singer for how many months already in a worship team,and there are newbies who became part of the worship team, but they are the ones who are already leading the worship team? Is the back up singer not improving?
Now, I am not in a position of worship leadership, so I don’t have any real right to answer her question. Having said that, all I could logically do would be to answer what I believed to be fair and right from experience. (Furthermore, I sent an email to the Music Ministry director of Victory Fort, to get her thoughts on the matter. We’ll see what she has to say if and when she replies. I also have some worship resources at home, but I’ll have to browse through them another time.)
Speaking from experience, it took more than a year from my entering the Music Ministry as a member of Victory’s choir before I was invited to back up at the main service, and I served as backup singer there for more than two years. I never became a full-fledged worship leader at Victory Fort, and I never – NEVER – had a problem with that.
Yes, there may be people who join the Music Ministry sooner than others, and are soon given greater responsibility in leading. Is this an indication that the person is a “better” worshiper, or that her/his fellow backup singers have not improved? I don’t think so. Just because a backup singer doesn’t lead doesn’t mean s/he isn’t improving. Personally, I LOVE BACKING UP! I would rather backup than lead! I love harmonizing with my fellow backups. I love it when the voices blend perfectly with the musicians’ chords… there’s a lot less pressure when you’re backing up, and focusing on God is, at least IMHO, easier when you’re not the worship leader. One can choose to look at “rising up the ladder” as one way of gauging her/his improvement in her/his music ministry service, or one can choose to look at it another way: that in her/his being backup, s/he is contributing to the overall worship experience in a way the worship leader cannot. Everyone on the Worship Team is just as important as the worship leader.
I trust God’s wisdom and grace is upon the Music Ministry director to discern whether someone is ready to lead, and because they are in a position of church leadership, I always respect their decision.
More than anything, honestly, for me, worship is all about the heart. A musical and lyrical offering of praise and worship to a deserving God. It is an honor and privilege to be a member of a worship team, to stand up there and sing praise to God with the musical gifts with which He has blessed us. If our desire is to worship Him, whether we do it as a backup vocalist, a musician, or worship leader, any capacity becomes irrelevant because we are satisfied basking in God’s presence and giving Him the abundance of praise that is due Him. I would be satisfied being a “career backup” if that is what God wants for me. (And right now, the Music Ministry is NOT my season, so you can imagine how this tears me up inside. I accept it, though.)
If Ira, or anyone else, can relate to this question, let me encourage you with this: God put you in the position you are now, because you’re doing what no one else can do better, and contributing in a way that God feels is best for you. If and when the time comes that God determines He would like you to serve in a worship leader capacity, He will make it happen. Meanwhile, you are a blessing in your own unique, beautiful way as a son or daughter of God, and your church is privileged to have you.
Calling other worship leaders out there. Have you ever encountered this kind of question? How would you answer it?