Those times where for whatever reason, the congregation isn’t singing…isn’t following along, isn’t “tracking” (to use a Chandler term) with the worship set.
They may even look like the dude in the famous picture, literally blown away by the music – and NOT in the good sense either. Blown away meaning totally overwhelmed – either by volume, or just not in synch with where they are.
A few times I have noticed this during a set. I will look out and see folks just sort of standing there and enduring it, giving me that “Is this over soon?” look. I always feel bad, like I’ve let some aspect get out of control – song selection, volume, players…something that I wasn’t paying enough attention to and suddenly we are out of synch with the body. Almost like we out ran them.
Volume is an easy target here. I have played hundreds of weddings…I have been told to turn the band down millions of times. I have seen thousands of dollars of PA equipment not even being used, sitting on the stage turned off, because the room was too small, and the band was too big and too loud.
We have to remember, as worship leaders that our role is NOT to manipulate the congregation – we cannot use the cheap tricks like lighting, or play on their emotion intentionally when writing our sets, and we have to not blow them away.
This will turn them into glassy-eyed spectators, enduring your little set until you are done.
They need to be engaged, and we need to make sure we are meeting them with solid Biblical truth, not dazzling artistry, ‘look-at-me’ guitar riffs, and overwhelming volume.
I’m very much enjoying “Unceasing Worship” by Harold Best. In it he says this:
It is imperative that organists, pianists, choirs, song leaders, worship leaders and plugged in worship teams understand that it is the congregation that is to be heard above all. If it is not , then one of two things is wrong: either the congregation is not singing to the Lord with all its might or some other music body or activity is keeping this from happening.
If it’s the former…let’s pray and beg the Spirit for revival.
If it’s the latter…worship leader…get your team out of the way!