Singing on the Praise Team at Church: What Does that Require?

I attend Grace Fellowship Church in Goose Creek SC and sing on the praise team every Sunday morning. On this particular Sunday I found myself getting choked up during one of the songs. One of our challenges on the praise team is that we are to help the congregation to enter into worship. Over the last two years we have slowly been building our musical talent. Once upon a time all we had was one piano and four singers which happened to be the pastor , his wife and his two daughters. Since that time we have rebuilt our sanctuary and added all new sound equipment. We now have 4 to 6 singers that sing regularly , a piano player (pastors wife), keyboard player (praise and worship leader), bass guitar (pastor), drums, congas, electric guitar and saxaphone. We also have a flute player from time to time. We also have a 48 channel sound board, personal computer, digital projectors, compressor, cd/dvd player and tape deck. We have come a LONG way with regards to technology and what we can do with regards to our church services.

Despite the fact I feel more comfortable back in the sound booth taking care of technology I was recruited onto the praise team to sing. At first I was a bit reluctant to do it because I do not think that I sing well enough to be up there. The worship team leader says differently and needs some more male voices to even out the ladies so I am getting used to it. It is very different to be on the platform singing with everyone being able to watch you vs being all the way in the back not being noticed until something goes amiss with the sound or with the projector. Then everyone knows to turn around and stare at you until the problem if fixed. LOL.

Anyway, back to signing on the stage and leading others in worship. How exactly do you lead others in praise and worship? What IS that exactly? Why do we sing at church? Is it for show? One of the things that I noticed quickly is that for the members on our praise team that have been singing for a long time it seems that their singing is really sort of mechanical. I can see how that would be easy to happen. It would be easy to get caught up in the mechanics of singing the song correctly and being in time with everyone else. One of the things that I have been doing is learning how to sing the songs correctly and to get the timing down. That does not come that easy to me so I have to work at it harder than say some others who have been doing it for years. I also have to close my eyes from time to time and imagine that I am out in the congregation singing right along with them. Then I am able to put my focus on God who I am singing to and for. I am not there to perform or put on a show. We are certainly supposed to have a spirit of excellence and do the best that we can do but it is not a performance to entertain anyone.

Today I got caught up in one of the songs and found myself getting choked up and had tears in my eyes as I identified with a need in my life and felt overwhelmed by how much God does love us. It is easy for us to say we know how much God loves us and how much we love him but do we really live that truth out in our lives on a daily basis? If we really realized how much God loves us and is really in control would we continue to worry and stress out over the little things in our lives? That is what praise and worship is all about. It is making a connection between our minds and hearts through the songs and lyrics to the throne room of God. Once we really engage ourselves like that then God can touch us and heal all of the broken and hurting places.

There is nothing more touching to me than to look out at the congregation watching people as they sing and raise their hands and lift their voices and close their eyes and allow the power of God to fill their hearts with his love. It is good to see them being real with God and connecting with him through the praise and worship time. That alone inspires us to do the very best that we can so that they will not be distracted from the main purpose for our being there which is to praise God in all that we say and do.

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