What to Look for In a Worship Musician
Written by Bob Kauflin, Director of Worship Development, PDI Ministries
Last time we looked at the foundations for music ministry in the church – God’s grace, God’s call, and God’s glory. If we embrace these three principles, we’ll avoid many of the problems that plague music ministries today. But let’s get more specific. What kind of person should we look for to be part of our worship team? Typically, the first thing we notice is musical gifting. That’s important, but musical ability is secondary to issues of heart and character. A phenomenal musician, with no heart for God, will actually hinder the worship of God we seek to inspire.
For that reason, church musicians should desire, above all else, to see God glorified. They should be passionate about seeing God’s name honored, His mercies extolled, and His greatness proclaimed. This will require study and meditation in God’s Word. Therefore, our musicians should be devoted to the spiritual disciplines of prayer and Bible study. What we are before the congregation has its roots in our times alone with God.
A second attitude that should characterize those on our worship teams is humility, flowing from a fear of God. Something has gone tragically wrong when church musicians have a reputation for seeking the spotlight, comparing themselves to others, or needing to be handled with kid gloves. We have forgotten who we are before God, who "esteems he who is humble and contrite in spirit" (Isaiah 66:2). To God, arrogance and pride look no better in a musician than in anyone else.
In his outstanding book, "The Joy of Fearing God," Jerry Bridges writes, "The fear of God and the worship of Him feed each other. The more we fear God — bowing before Him in reverential awe — the more we’ll be compelled to worship Him." Our temptation to view ourselves more highly than we ought has little to do with personality, temperament, or musical gifting. It has everything we do with how we view ourselves before God.
Another characteristic that musicians in the church should exemplify is expressiveness. Psalm 34:5 says that "those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." We are not meant to remain emotionless as we exalt the Lord. The Bible overflows with references to passionate responses to God’s word and works. Whether it be jubilant celebration before the Lord, solemn reflection, or repentant brokenness, a worshiper expresses His relationship with God in ways that benefit and edify others.
Finally, our musicians should be among the most grateful members of the church. What a privilege it is to serve God’s people by leading them in the public worship of our great and awesome King! In Psalm 50:23 God promises us that, "He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God." Gratefulness invites God’s activity. Rather than being known for complaining or backbiting, church musicians should stand out for their continued expressions of thankfulness for the gift of eternal life and the privilege of serving God’s people.
Copyright 2001 Bob Kauflin – All Rights Reserved.