Posted by: worshipguitarguy | March 27, 2008

Keeping the Main Thing, the Main Thing

This post comes from one of my best friends, who’s a worship leader, musician, and a guy with a phenomenal heart, who’s now living and playing in Nashville.   And although this post isn’t strictly guitar related, it has a lot of great info for all of us who play in a worship environment.

I recently had a conversation with my roommate (who is a ridiculously talented musician who’s played Jeremy Camp, Mat Kearny and now with Kate Voegele) about the drummer who had played at our church on a Sunday morning. I mentioned that I really enjoyed this particular drummer because he kept things so simple… no flashy cymbal work or Roto-Tom fills. 🙂 Just good, clean, tasteful licks that complimented the set. He gave out a little chuckle and told me that the reason he wasn’t flashy is because the guy I was referring to wasn’t really a drummer…or at least hadn’t been playing the drums in many years. Apparently the guy was rusty and a bit nervous the entire time he played that week.

As a worship leader, this got me thinking of two major issues that often plague the platforms of even some of the most established worship programs around the nation.

1. Keeping the Main Thing, the Main Thing.
Unlike any other art form, Worship music is not meant to focus on the person actually making the music. A Pastor friend of mine and WGG once said “the worship band should be in the back of the room with the people reading words on a screen looking the opposite direction”.
 
With that said, our number one focus should always be removing anything that might be a distraction from keeping the main thing, the main thing…and that of course is the reverent focus of our minds attention and our hearts affection on God in that moment.  These distractions come in all different forms… from an over zealous guitar player to how small the words appear on the screen.  As corporate worship leaders we have the responsibility and privilege of organizing ourselves enough, with excellence our goal beforehand, so that once our worship experience begins we can let go and let God take over.

2. He Wasn’t a Rock Star…
But he was solid! He complimented the lyric by building during words of proclamation and resolving in moments of surrender. He might not have had the chops…but he had the right frame of mind and the right heart. He cared enough about the role he played as a part of a team to know when NOT to play which is crucial to creating a really expressive worship environment.
Someone once said that music is not defined by the notes on a page or melodies floating through the air…rather it’s by the space between the notes and the room to breathe that creates such wonderful intervals and brings the melody to life.

And don’t get me wrong…this guy is good, he just doesn’t make room for a 17 minute drum solo in the middle of “Come Ye Sinners”.

Oh, and by the way…Mr. “not played in years” is now my favorite drummer at church. I hope this sparks a few thoughts.

Grace and Peace,

-DC

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Responses

  1. This is so true. When leading worship, I try to keep the old saying K.I.S.S. in my head: Keep It Simple, Silly! It’s strange how most of the time when we do things simple that God comes in and does something profound and incredible! Great post!

  2. Great story, thanks for sharing.

  3. This is my biggest beef with drummers. I would much rather have a solid drummer who keeps great time and just plays straight beats.

    On a side note, who is your roommate? Because I have a friend who is Kate’s guitar player.

  4. Any truly great worship drummer will tell you that the greatest compliment they can receive is someone saying “I didn’t even notice you playing”…

  5. I really enjoyed the aritcle. It is always great to see people coming together through music.

    http://www.spiritrax.com

  6. Nice post. I lead worship in a contemporary / progressive church environment and there are strong currents pulling me in a lot of different directions. The most recent suggestion is to move all the guitarists to the front of the platform because people like to see the guitarists. The rationale behind the advice has “Rock Star” written all over it. I appreciate the post reminding us all what the main thing is.

  7. Nice post, DC… it’s beautiful to see how God is speaking through you and your experiences. Keep a humble heart… and come back to visit us sometime soon. 🙂

  8. Our Celebration Arts Pastor puts it in perspective this way:
    “The musicians are there to provide the emotion to the moment so that the vocals can carry the message, which the reason the song is being played in the first place.”
    Anything which distracts from or steps on the message needs to be reworked, in my opinion.
    Great post!


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