This post is a part of a series that starts HERE.
So by now any performance-oriented worship band members who are following this conversation are concerned about one thing: motivation. “If we take away the desire to be great musicians, put on a good show, or gain audience appreciation,” they might ask, “why will anyone practice?”
There is no doubt that the elements of pride and fear present in the performance machine are excellent motivators, provided that you can get a band interested in the same compensation, and provided that better music is the top priority of the worship band. Let’s be honest, though. If better music is the top priority, it isn’t a worship band. It’s a performing band. If a good performing band is all you want, having a gig every weekend with an entire church congregation as an audience is a great performing opportunity. Strip away the worship or ministry-oriented words from your team, though, and call it what it is.
If leading worship is the top priority of a worship team (which makes sense if labels mean anything), then those on the team are going to have worship-oriented motivations that don’t have a desired compensation as a primary focus. The motivation will not be to put in effort to receive a reward, because worship of Jesus is about celebrating the compensation we’ve already received.
What are the motivations, then?
- A Love for Jesus – The motivation for leading the worship of Jesus better be Jesus-centric, right? The greatest motivation for worship is a grace-enabled love and gratitude for our Redeemer, Savior, and King.
- A Love for Others that Love Jesus – Participation in a worship band isn’t usually a solo activity. If our connection to the rest of the band and congregation is a shared love for Jesus, we’re engaging in worship. We will be listening, playing together, tapping into each others’ relationship with Christ through the means of worship music.
- An Excitement About Expressing Love for Jesus – Another way to put this would be “a passion for worship”. If we don’t enjoy expressing our love for Jesus, how can we lead others to do it?
- Gratitude for the Gifts God has Given Us to Use in Expressing Worship – If a person sees their musical ability as a result of their own hard work, they are going to want to be compensated for their performance. If a person sees their musical inclinations and the musical ability of their team members as gifts from God, though, they have an appropriate motivation for worship.
Every one of these motivations are a response to God’s grace. None of them are motivations to “perform for a desired compensation”, because they are not elements of the performance machine. These motivations are responses to compensation we’ve already received. They are motivations based on the quality of Jesus and His performance, not ours.
Notice what’s missing from the list. “Be awesome for God!” isn’t there. Gain influence in the church isn’t there, either. Others that are NOT there:
- Become increasingly better musicians
- Establish a reliable reputation
- Have music at our church that rivals Church X
- Playing music is more fun than children’s ministry :p
- Build my list of contacts with other musicians
These kinds of motivations are about self-worship and gaining the approval of man. Many of these kinds of things might be reasonable side effects of participating in a worship ministry, but they shouldn’t be among the motivations for participating. It is okay if I make friends through a worship ministry that results in other opportunities, but what does it say about my heart if those contacts were the reason for my involvement in the worship ministry? It is okay that my musical abilities improve through my participation with the worship ministry, but what does it say about my worship if the reason I participated was to learn how to play guitar?
Our agenda as worshipers is the elevation of Jesus! He is our motivation or it just isn’t worship.