Monday, January 7, 2013
Take a Stand against the Stand
This is simply something that I've observed and I want this to be constructive criticism.....take it as a challenge.
This critique isn't a monumental, philosophical change. It's simply just a tweak. It's a small improvement. It's a spoke in the wheel of small improvements and tweaks we can constantly make to strive to be better.
I want to talk to worship leaders...mainly, worship leaders who do this full time.
God bless you for what you do each and every week. Thank you for serving God and his Church. Thank you for inspiring people to worship. Thank you for enduring the occasional critic of your setlist. Thank you for modeling worship on and off the stage...
...but, I want to challenge you...better yet, I want to encourage you.
I want to challenge and encourage you to take a stand against the stand.
I'm not questioning your heart or motives. I'm not questioning your work ethic or effort.
I'm simply challenging a practice I've noticed that has become somewhat common...
...the Music Stand.
I personally have no issue with the support band with stands in front of them.
I'm talking about worship leaders and vocalists. The one's whose voice is preparing and leading the way.
Using a stand doesn't automatically make you less of a worship leader, just like lacking a stand doesn't automatically make you more of a worship leader. If you are a worship leader that uses a music stand while you lead, you are not alone. I've seen this quite a bit, and I've heard the reason why..."I'm bad at memorization." That may be so, but that doesn't eliminate the issues with the stand.
The issues I see with having a music stand in front of you, as a worship leader, are important:
1. DISTRACTION FOR THE CONGREGATION - When you have a music stand in front of you, it's obvious to the congregation that you are not confident with these songs, and that can become a distraction in worship. Should it be a distraction? NO! When we're focused in prayer and in worship, things like that do not tend to distract us, because the Lord's presence is amazing. Unfortunately, not everyone in our congregation has that tight of a focus and can get distracted easily at times. The obvious music stand can serve as a distraction for our people.
2. DISTRACTION FOR THE WORSHIP LEADER - When you have a chord chart on a music stand in front of you, it automatically is sharing your attention, as a worship leader, with the congregation. When you're reading charts, it's hard to connect with hearts. The less focused you can be on the musical part of worship, the more you can be focused on the spiritual part of worship. The stand can definitely stand in your way and distract you from shepherding your congregation towards an encounter with the presence of God.
For some worship leaders, the stand is necessary. This is a negative thing, because this can only mean that the time has not been put in to memorizing songs. For others, the stand is comfort. It may not be necessary, but it's security...JUST IN CASE.
Now, a critique without a solution is annoying and useless...so, let me offer a solution.
1. COMMITMENT - Make sure you commit yourself 100% to memorizing the songs you lead. I think you can get away with cheat monitors on the stage or in the back, because at the very least, it allows you to keep your head lifted and there's still the opportunity for you to stay connected with the congregation. The stand tends to draw your eyes and attention down, instead of up. BUT....what if technology fails you and the monitor cuts off? What then? That's where memorization becomes your friend. I remember the first time I led the song "In Christ Alone". I made myself memorize all those words...JUST IN CASE. Sure enough, that was the Sunday that our monitor bit the dust. Because I dedicated to memorizing the song, all was well. Commit songs to memory. And to the guitar-playing worship leader, at the very least, memorize the chords. When you do, you'll escape the bondage of the stand and become free to lead your church spiritually, as much or more than musically.
2. CONFIDENCE - You probably know worship songs better than you think. Too many worship leaders have fooled themselves into thinking they don't know the songs. If you've committed the time to memorization, then you have to practice some confidence. When you use the music stand, you tend to use your brain less. If you're reading it, the recollection part of your brain takes a break. Be confident, not only in yourself, but in the Spirit of God in you. If you've memorized it and taken these songs to heart, be confident that they will come out just as God has planned.
Church is people. The reason you're called a worship leader is because you're leading people, not a song. You want to make sure that every hinderance, whether physical or spiritual, is eliminated when you take that leadership position in the journey and experience of corporate worship.
Don't let anything stand in your way...not even a stand.