Note: This is the fourth of a series of articles called Worship Design Teams That Work. While designing worship in a group is no longer a new concept in many circles, figuring out how to make them work is a greater challenge. Our goal is to look at some specific principles that will help your worship design teams function at a high, sustained level.
Do you meet with others on a regular basis for the purpose of designing worship? If so, take this little quiz.
1. My favorite worship planning sessions are when:
a) We find a creative idea that everyone gets excited about
b) Everyone listens to my ideas, since my ideas are best
c) Nobody gets injured
2. When participating in a worship team design meeting:
a) Everyone engages in a group dialogue, sharing ideas in an orderly fashion
b) Everyone gets excited and speaks at once
c) Getting people to share requires low-level torture techniques
3. When listening to my teammate share a concept:
a) It generates new and more creative ideas that I am eager to share
b) I think up witty replies to how stupid the idea is
c) I patiently wait for that person to shut up so I can share my stuff
4. My worship design team:
a) Has experienced conflict
b) Is currently experiencing conflict
c) Will experience conflict
5. After the meeting:
a) I am proud of the service we as a team have created
b) I would prefer that others not know I was involved
c) I like to tell the world about all of my great ideas
The basis for any team to meet, whether for worship or any other endeavor, is to engage in a group decision-making process. Those who put together a team, at a basic level, believe that there is potentially greater value in the decision making power of a group of like-minded and passionate people than over a single person acting alone.
Yet, ironically, one of the biggest obstacles to good teamwork is learning to make decisions together. It is possible for creative, sometimes headstrong, individuals to collaborate in a way about which everyone feels good? Can we really check our egos at the door? Is it really better to design worship in such a way?
We believe strongly that it is. Unfortunately knowing team worship design is possible and potentially powerful, and getting there, are two very different things. Much has been written about teams, and the importance of working in them, but little has been offered about the nitty-gritty challenges of finding consensus among individual team members.
The Broken Body
In far too many churches, for far too long, worship has been planned in a segregated, somewhat egocentric, way. The leader of each aspect of worship works in his or her office alone preparing their part of worship in isolation. Unfortunately this is often done with little to no consideration of how it will fit with the other aspects of worship, which are also being prepared with the same disregard for cohesiveness.
Is this how we are called to carry out our ministry here on earth? We are called to be the Body of Christ, yet we design worship as if we are prosthetic limbs that can be attached and detached at will. By breaking the body into pieces throughout the week (in preparation for the weekend) we limit the potential power of what worship could be.
In an attempt to get past this broken body, many churches form teams for the purpose of designing a more cohesive worship experience. The problem is that this move toward group design often comes without a change in mentality. Even if planning is now occurring in the same physical space, individuals come to team meetings with the same isolated thinking about their respective area(s) of responsibility.