Who should be on the Praise Team?
I believe that the Praise Team should consist of members whose greatest love is the love of God and of Christ. Such members may love music, and be extremely skilled with their voices or their instruments. But their love for God and Christ is greater than their love for music or for their instruments. They may love performing on a stage or playing their instruments, or using their voices in front of others. But this is not their greatest love. Their greatest love is the love of God and Christ and their greatest desire is to see that the name of God and Christ is honoured and glorified.
Why is this so important? Why does this matter? Musicians who love God more than anything else are first of all interested in pleasing God. Their chief interest is not in pleasing themselves. Their chief interest is not in gaining glory and honour for themselves.
Musicians who love God love what God loves. They love Jesus Christ who is the Son of God. They love the truth, for that is what God loves. They will love unity and peace. They will love humility and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. They will be eager to give the praise to God rather than to seek praise for themselves. And they will hate what God hates. They will hate pride and self-promotion. They will hate drawing attention to themselves when this will result in drawing attention away from God and from Christ. They will hate anything impure and anything false.
What happens when the love of God and the love of Christ is not the greatest love of the Praise Team members? What happens when the love of self and the love of music and the love of performance is greater than the love of God and of Christ?
Whatever the musician loves most will be the central focus of his/her thinking and whatever the Team loves most will be their central focus. If the musician loves performance more than God and Christ, his performance will be the central focus. He will think about how he comes across and what others think. He will seek to make a good impression. He will try to put his musical skills on display and seek to impress others with them.
If the greatest love is music rather than God and Christ, then more thought will be given to how the music sounds, whether it is projected loudly enough through the amplification system, whether each musician can be heard adequately and things of this nature. While these things are not wrong in themselves, they will be the most important things on the minds of the musicians whose greatest love is music. These things will be more important than the issue of how the music will affect the worship, whether the music will help the worshipers in their singing, whether God is honoured through the music and whether the musician’s heart is focused on God during the worship singing.
The greatest love of the musician and of the Team will impact and affect the atmosphere of the worship.
Now there is no question, that because of the fallen nature of man and of what the Bible calls “the flesh”, various loves will constantly be vying for the place of pre-eminence in the heart of the musician. The temptation to put self on display, and to seek honour and praise for oneself will always be there. But musicians who seek to join the Praise Team and those who lead the Team, should have a settled disposition in their hearts that the greatest glory and honour belongs to God and to Christ and that the desire for the promotion of their glory is their greatest desire.
Musicians whose greatest love is God and Christ and a Praise Team whose greatest love is God and Christ will set a tone for the worship singing that may or may not be immediately obvious. But this disposition will impact everything the Team does and every note it plays or sings. Regardless of what can be said of the congregation that such a Praise Team is leading, when this is the Team’s settled disposition, we can say with certainty at least this much: Such a Praise Team is worshiping God with their singing and with their leading of singing. The perceiving members of the congregation will notice this tone, and it will be pleasing to them and inspire them in their worship in song. God will be pleased, and his Spirit will join Himself to such worship.
When such a Team prays for the congregation they are leading, they will have the right focus for their prayers, namely that the love of God and Christ be the congregation’s greatest love and the honour of God and of Christ be the congregation’s greatest desire. Should God be pleased to answer such a prayer – and why would he not, such a congregation will experience worship in song that will be a joy and a delight and will be worthy of the greatness and beauty of our God.