Play drums for church long enough, and you’ll no doubt find yourself in a situation where you are supporting a new worship leader, or a guest worship leader. As drummers, we wield a lot of power, sonically-speaking. As a result of that sonic power, we also carry a responsibility to our congregation to respect and nurture the worship environment. So, how can we carry out that responsibility when someone new enters the equation? Here are a few ideas:
Without question, a new worship leader is going to have new ideas. These new ideas might include different arrangements for familiar songs, alternative dynamics for songs, and even (gasp) new ideas for drum patterns.
I know that for me it’s easy to feel defensive about “my” parts. I sometimes feel tempted to say something like “Well, that’s not how WE do it…” But I have to resist that urge. Instead, we need to be flexible, especially with new faces on the worship team. Remember that the new or guest worship leader has been placed in their position in order for them to lead. We should do everything we can enable them to lead.
Have a “Can-Do” Attitude
Going right along with being flexible, we should try to adopt a “Can-Do” attitude. When a new idea is presented, it’s important to always try to approach those as opportunities to build-up our leaders, not tear them down. Even if we think a certain idea won’t work, at worst we should say something like, “That’s a new idea for me. Please be patient with me. It might take me a couple of tries to get it right.” Saying something like that effectively communicates that the idea is new to you (and probably the other team members) but also shows that you’re willing to try a new idea.
Also, keep in mind that many ideas in a musical context don’t reveal themselves as ideas that won’t work until we actually try them out. Most of the time, if I can enthusiastically try out that new idea (even ones that I don’t think will work), it will become obvious to the worship leader that it isn’t working and we’ll move on to the next idea.
Enthusiastically Support Others
If you’re struggling with the “newness” of having a guest worship leader, the other musicians undoubtedly are feeling the same way. Because of tradition in band environments, drummers are still looked upon as leaders in the band. Keep that in mind. You are a leader!
Being a leader means choosing to build other band members up by encouraging them when they may be unsure of themselves. If a guitar player seems unsure of a new lead line that the worship leader suggested, a simple head-bob and smile might be all he or she needs to realize that even though this situation is new, it still can be good.
Every new situation is an opportunity to worship our Creator. Remember that worship doesn’t begin and end with the music at 10am on Sunday. Worship is always authentic, and it is always a choice.
Let’s choose worship, not only as drummers, but also as friends and leaders in the relationships with which God has entrusted us.