I am often asked advice on how to lead praise and worship with an inexperienced team. If you want to learn how, you will have to face this one some day: the situation whereby you have to carry a member of your band or singers, for whatever reason, even though you know this will seriously affect your worship leading and the spirit of worship in the church that service.
There are many facets to this problem, but the central fact is this: you can still be a great worship leader even if your band is imperfect, or even incompetent!
How to Lead Praise and Worship But Carry Some of Your Band!
If your church is anything like mine, you are not worship leading with seasoned professionals, you are dealing with amateurs, which means that you have to be a servant and coax them along with a spirit of love and tolerance. In my book on how to lead praise and worship, I teach that there is never a reason to speak down to these people, or to embarrass them. Your job as a praise worship leader is to encourage them, even if they are poor, even if they mess up the wonderful worship leading time you had planned. I believe that the Lord will honor you for this!
Most often these individuals are trying hard, and will be crushed if you convey that you are upset with them, so please be careful even with the way you look at other band members. Remember, if you have lots of talent but no love, you are only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13). Just as you are always learning how to lead worship, so they can have a learning curve for their role too!
How to Lead Yet Carry These Guys?
There are ways and means of carrying an underachiever, but it is certainly easier in some parts of the band than others.
Singers are easy: Turn them off in the front of house with a quiet word to the sound man, but keep them in the foldback so they think they are singing. if they are actually off, turn them down a bit in the foldback.
Guitars: Similar to the above.
Bass: Much harder to hide, so I would suggest rather that you rewrite the music in a much simpler for, using basic notes with a minimum of changes per bar.
Drummers: This is the hardest. I have this situation now, and these are tough. I must say, inexperienced drummer have a habit of either slowing down in faster songs, or completely mixing up the kick and snare, so the snare is on beat one, and the kick beat two. in my church, you will often see me off mike calling out to the drummer, “the other one”, which means they have to change the kick and snare back!
The bottom line is, when you learn how to lead praise and worship and continue to serve and love with the right attitude, you will be able to bear with your less competent band members. I would chose simpler songs, even if you don’t want to. When I have one of these guys on, I will often change the songs I am doing to find something within their abilities.
Learning How to Bring the Best Out of Your Team
Finally, recognize that learning how to lead is about learning how to bring the best out of your team. Pray and believe the Lord for an awesome worship time, even if it is not up to your standards! After all, when you are worship leading God is listening to your heart, not necessarily the quality of your music!
If you manage your team correctly, both the good and the bad members, the competent and the incompetent, then you will truly be learning not only how to lead praise and worship, but also how to lead men and women in godliness.