Posted by: worshipguitarguy | April 1, 2007

Stretching Yourself

If you’ve been in worship ministry for any amount of time, you’ve learned by now that flexibility is key to (as Phil Ayres would say) the craft of modern worship leading.  In an ironic pairing, I like to compare worship to a war… they only go according to plan for the first five minutes, then you have to start learning to improvise.

I learned this in a big way this weekend.  Since my usual band was out of town, I grabbed a group of our Senior High musicians to play with me during our Saturday night service.  Because we had limited time to practice with the full band, I was grabbing the girl who was leading for us and heading to a side room with my acoustic to go over the final songs in our set.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to go through the closing song.  And to say, I’m more of a lead/rhythmic electric player, not someone who leads flow from acoustic.  I can do it, but it’s not really my comfort zone.  So (shhh….) to get the song down, we pulled my acoustic off stage at the end of the set, and went backstage to learn the song during Pastor’s message.  Well, apparently it went pretty well, because our pastor asked us to do the same song as the closer to his message on Sunday morning.

 So here I am… our Sunday morning services have a total of 1,800 people in them.  First, I’m a guy who’s used to playing in smaller settings so this is a different league… second, again I’m primarily an electric player… and third, the song we were doing was one we’d only done the night before.  And because of the number of  musicians we have in the main service each week, we didn’t have time to do a sound check. 

In the end, everything went well.  But I was reminded of an important lesson… putting ourselves in positions where we are stretched is very important.  First of all, it helps us grow and improve as musicians.  And secondly, it helps us remember that ultimately we have to depend on God and not ourselves to get through our call in ministry. 



  1. Amen to that

  2. I agree completely. i am an acoustic player on our worship team and i learned a similar lesson this weekend. In the second measure of our first song, my in-ear monitors cut out. I had nothing. I plug in direct to give more control to the sound man. So when i lost my monitors, I had couldn’t hear my guitar at all. I had to quickly unplug and grab an amp that another guy normally uses, plug into it and try and set it during the first song. Needless to say, God taught me a little understanding and flexibility yesterday. It turned out alright, but I think I’ll start bringing my amp as well. Sorry for the long reply, I just needed to vent to someone who would understand. Thank you for what you do on this website. I am learning a lot from it and consider what you do a great ministry for musicians.

  3. Gerry, It was nice to talk to you after the first service Sunday. You guys sounded great. I will have to check you out on a Saturday night sometime. I told my wife after talking to you about your Martin that God was speaking to me to upgrade to a Martin too. Just kidding. Drop me a line if we could ever hang out for an evening, I would love any pointers you could give me. Dinner is on me! Peace, Bill.

  4. Good post. A few weeks back I invited a friend to play acoustic because our Worship leader said we were going to be a few people short (and I pretty much play electric exclusively). My friend used to lead worship in a junior high setting, and has played in our worship team in the past, but it had been a while. Anyway, practice went great on that Thursday before, but Sunday morning as we were running through the set one more time before first service, one of his brand new strings broke (the “g” I think). He was quick on his feet and snagged a string of 12 string one our pastors has in his office. Everything turned out fine, but I just thought I’d share that.

  5. I’ll try to stretch this Sunday… I wonder if I can get thru a whole set with no dotted 8th.

  6. […] (more…) […]

  7. yankee;)

  8. Gentlemen, I wish to direct your attention to the ultimate in “stretching it”. Documented right here.

    Imagine traveling to Nicaragua, attending a service at a VERY poor church, borrowing a guitar to play a song and breaking a string trying to tune the decrepit thing.

    Imagine this church is so poor that strings are mailed from congregations in Canada as part of care packages once a year.

    Imagine trying to play three songs with only 3 strings anywhere near in tune. Imagine learning this when you open your mouth to sing the first note.

    Oh yes, “it” was “stretched” that night.

    Love the blog, thanks for the discussion and the information. Keep it up.

  9. Hick!!! 😛

  10. I feel ya on that one. That’s why it’s important to be proficient on your instrument. You never know when you’ll need to improvise!

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