The 5 Guitar Players You Meet at Church

I have played on a number of worship teams and led a few different ones as well.  In my experience you tend to run into similar characters everywhere you go.  For some reason you run into the same type of people wanting to play guitar at every church you go to.  So here is a quick list (over-generalized and over-stereotyped for more comedic effect) of what to look for next time you are auditioning a new guitar player for your worship team.

The Modern Hippie – You’ll find this guitar player standing bare foot (no matter the temperature) on stage with an acoustic guitar slung around the neck.  Rough jeans with holes in the knees and back pockets help detract attention away from the bed-head hairdo with or without dreads.  Don’t be mistaken, this is a very talented individual who can probably play chords that involve dislocating 3 out of 5 fingers.  Their proficiency however can be masked by their inability to play well with others at times (they live and exist in their own world).  Also notice the absent minded approach to life as they will often show up to rehearsal or service missing guitar cables, a strap, or a tuner – that is if they remember when they need to be there in the first place.  It’s nearly impossible to gauge their commitment level but if you can deal with the eccentricities, they are a great guitar player to work with.

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Feeding Lyrics During Worship

It’s a common practice among worship leaders to “feed” lyrics to the congregation before a verse or chorus or any part where a little extra emphasis could be used. It’s also good when teaching a new song or if for some reason your lyric screens go blank or freeze or some problem arises where the congregation is left without words to reference. It’s not something that needs to be done every song but isn’t necessarily distracting either. But as I have discovered this is a practice that can also be very distracting during worship. You have to really plan ahead to make sure that you are “cheerleading” or “feeding” words at the appropriate time in the songs. Take for example my mistake last Sunday. We were singing Days of Elijah which is a great song with a bridge that is maybe a little extended for my taste. Anyway at the bridge as the band is getting bigger and the song is building momentum I decide to emphasize the upcoming lyrics. I didn’t plan my time between phrases real well and was left saying, Let’s sing it out There’s no God…” Oops! Maybe no one realized it except the 2-3 atheists forced to come that day by a relative or friend. Well I noticed and just laughed to myself and moved on. I guess the main point here, the general thesis or what I am trying to say, the central theme for this blog post is to be aware of the phrase break time and the words you want to fit into them. Otherwise you may find yourself on stage shouting “let’s sing it out, Touch Me…” and garnering some strange looks from some.

Confessions of a Worship Pastor…

Ok so before you read on and think this is going to be a deep revealing of secrets I have been hiding for so long that I just had to let them out and writing them publicly on my blog was the best way to bring them to light and allow the healing to begin (whew that was one long run on sentence I almost couldn’t do it in one breath), it’s not. No no no, those deep secrets need much more time to remain bottled in and fester – cause that’s a healthy way to cope.

No this post – hopefully and interactive and fun post – is a more lighthearted revealing of stupid things I have done either on stage or somewhere in the midst of worship.  Let’s be honest, no matter how hard we try to always remain composed, rehearsed, or perfect on stage and during worship, we sometimes just screw up.  We need to be able to just understand that it happens and be able to laugh at it.  So here I go revealing some things that some people may have seen and others may have missed but nonetheless I did and just have to look back laugh now.

  • While starting a worship set one Sunday morning, I began to invite the congregation to stand and worship with us but what came out as my large right hand motioned with authority was “Welcome to Grace Church won’t you stand and worship us.”  Yeah you read that correct.  Apparently my vanity crept up and blocked the word “with” from my vocabulary.  Oh vanity of vanities.
  • I suffer from a strong case of acid reflux and there are days that are better than others.  Those who suffer as I do know that at times gas in the form of burps is hard to control.  Well try as I may to hold the burp within my chest, during a nice and worshipful moment where I was reading scripture the gaseous beast struck.  I was coherent enough to turn my head as to keep it from bellowing through the mics and try as I might to keep it as mellow and inconspicuous as possible, it escaped.
  • You ever have a brain fart at a really important moment?  Well while talking about the faith of Moses crossing the Red Sea I questioned out loud whether or not it was Moses who was leading and parted the Red Sea (well I know technically God parted it but you understand).  Just a moment that proves 8:30 service times are not the best idea.
  • Years ago, the pastor at the time had twin 3 or 4 year olds, and every wednesday night Brady – one of the twins – would come into rehearsal and play a badminton racquet like it was a guitar. Well being the ever present rocker that I pretend to be I had to work on teaching little Brady how to make the “love” or “christian rock” symbol with his hand.  Well as I am sure you know, coordination at that age is shaky at best.  Most of the time he would only get an index finger up or make the gnarly symbol as if he was a tiny surfer or a peace sign or just a simple thumbs up.  Well on a wonderful Sunday morning in which the children were presenting and sharing a song from an upcoming Children’s Musical all the children were lined up across the entire stage.  I was sitting in the front row next the the lead Pastor with his son standing in front of us.  I was trying to suggest that Brady give the “rock” symbol at the end of the song.  Well the song ended as he jumped off the front stairs onto the floor and put this right hand up in the air.  Well being still a little uncoordinated Brady tried his best to make the symbol but fell short.  Any symbol – peace, cowabunga, gnarly, thumbs up, – would have been great but alas he made the one symbol that I am pretty sure is not generally accepted in most churches around the country – yep, that’s right, right in front of his dad, me, and the whole congregation a little birdie took flight. And yeah, I taught him that.

So if you feel so inclined, share some moments in the comment box below of when you have had your oops moments when leading worship.  It happens and its healthy to laugh at but its even healthier to allow other people to laugh at you with you as well.