Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Year, Same Old Problem - John J. DiModica

Dealing with inappropriate attitudes on your worship team.

Someone I admire wrote, "If you want something you've never had, you must do something you've never done." Another person whom I admire, my pastor, is fond of saying you must do something to "knock yourself out of your orbit" if you want change to occur. While nothing magical happens when we flip the calendar from December to January, this change does offer an opportunity to address old problems in a new way.

One question I hear repeatedly at seminars I teach or via email involves the person on the worship team with incredible talent but a remarkably poor attitude. Typically, this person is the only person that plays a particular instrument or is the best singer on the platform. Sound familiar? This scenario presents a dilemma, doesn't it? You want to be excellent in what you do for Christ in worship, but you're not comfortable putting non-compliant, undependable and arrogant people on stage. What would Jesus do, indeed?

The Bible is incredibly plain. Proverbs 16:18 says "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." James 3:16: "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." And 1 Samuel 15:23 says, "For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry." Proverbs 10: 26: "As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to those who send him."

Do these scriptures define anyone on your worship team? We have too many worship divas and not enough worship servants. Pride, strife, envy, stubbornness, unfaithfulness are attributes of the flesh. What lasting ministry can come of a person possessing these qualities? What good can be done for the Kingdom, no matter how talented?

Talent has never outweighed character in God's estimation. David was an excellent musician, but he had a heart after God. Daniel, Joseph and Esther were excellent at what they did, but their character was greater than their gift. Solomon, Saul and Sampson had great abilities, but what fruit did they produce when they went their own way? What, then, should be done with the talented yet immature worshiper?

Three things need to happen. First, we have to make the painful and unpleasant decision to sit down the person needing attention. I realize this creates a hole in the worship team. I realize this, at least initially, diminishes your ability as a worship ministry. But the alternative of allowing the problem person to continue is not a godly alternative. A person with such attitude problems will only hurt your ministry in the end. And if they are allowed to continue, without being held accountable, it will be more hurtful in the end. So, with love and gentleness let the person who needs discipline know they will not be participating for the immediate future.

However, don't leave it at that. This person needs attention. They need nurturing, accountability and discipline. If you are going to begin to address this type of problem, be prepared to offer help and solutions. If there is pride, strife, envy, stubbornness or unfaithfulness present, the person needs to know and begin a systematic approach to rooting it out of their lives. Obviously prayer and Bible study is the cornerstone to attitude rehabilitation. Also fasting. A key component is a peer group of accountability. In this group, a person's change can be measured. Do they show up on time? Do they attend regularly? Do they complete any assignments given? DO THEY SERVE? We don't merely discard problem folks — we seek to help them mature. Remember, God excels at using "damaged goods."

If not, we all would be useless to him.

If you begin to deal with attitude issues as outlined in this article, you will find that a different spirit will emerge in your worship team. Everyone will be on the same page. Your energy and focus will be on worship not putting fires out among the worship team. Maybe you will see happen what happened in II Chronicles 5:13-14: "The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord....Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God."

John J. DiModica served as Worship Leader and Assistant Pastor at a thriving church in Miami, Florida for nine years. Now living in Tennessee, he has been touring and teaching with Integrity Music since 1995 including performing with Don Moen, Paul Wilbur, Lenny leBlanc, Ron Kenoly and Alvin Slaughter. John has a music degree from the University of Miami (FL), and additional studies at the Eastman School of Music (NY) and Berklee College of Music (MA). Currently, his activities include composing, music production, session musician and private bass instructor.

For help in producing a recording or to schedule John to spend a weekend with your worship group, visit his website: www.InFocusMusic.com

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