Full Version: the Chief Musician - what does that mean?
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This post was sparked by something DeanZF said to sonworshiper in her introduction post...maybe he will reiterate some of those thoughts here.

I think that the whole concept of "worship leader" has gotten very muddied up by the modern church. It seems that in many churches, it is just assumed that "worship leader" means the person heading up the music team.

However, is that always the case? In our denomination, the official stance is that the pastor is the worship leader. It is deemed that he is the one really responsibly for the leading of worship. Even so, if you asked most persons in the pew, the response you would get to "who is the worship leader?" would most often be "the person that leads the music team."

I think it even goes farther than that, as Dean mentioned. I think the worship leader is the person who, at the moment, is being used by the Holy Spirit to bring direction and revelation in the service. Could be the song leader, could be a movement message, a banner, a prophetic word or song, or a pastor guiding a response to the Lord. And the concept of "worship team" must go beyond the definition of only the musicians. The worship team includes the movement people too: dancers, flaggers, pageantry and prophetic movement. It includes others who facilitate those people: overhead people, and the sound technicians.

So we have come to prefer the terms Chief Musician, music leader, or song leader to describe the office of the person doing the musical offerings in the service.

In the scriptures, we have a model of the Chief Musician in the administration of David's tabernacle. The chief musician, Hannaniah, appointed other musicians to minister at various times and generally gave oversight to the whole worshipping process. This would relate in modern times to the Worship Director, or Worship Pastor, who might oversee the worship arts department. In a smaller congregation, the Chief Musician could be the one that leads the song service, and really have no other areas to oversee.

Asaph was a singer and oversaw other singers and instrumentalists, so we would look at his position as music or song leader. I think most of the people we call "worship leaders" today are really in the Asaph position. The Asaphs lead a congregation in a chosen song list either by accompanying themselves on guitar or keyboard, or leading a group of others singers and possibly instrumentalists.

So, thinking about your ministry in that light, do you consider yourself a Chief Musician or an Asaph-style music leader/song leader? If you are in a different ministry area, have you ever recognized a time when you were in the position of "worship leader" for a time in the service?
Geez, Helena, you hope that I'll reiterate some of what I said, and then said all that I said! Big Grin

The only thing that I have to add here really, is that we've seen real power in using what might be called popcorn leading. When a song leader or dance leader or ANY worshp leader is confident in his or her own anointing and authority, and when a sound tech is sharp in discernment and technically both, a good team is going to respond to the Spirit and respond within the framework of what has been planned or what is occuring. If there's an anointing on what the sax player is doing, the song leader backs away from the mic and lets that prophetic utterance come to the fore. The good sound tech knows to raise the sax's mic so that said sax is visually and aurally leading. If there is a song of the Lord through one of the back-up singers, that mic raises so that the words and lyric are clearly discernable. What good is a prophetic moment if you can't hear it or if it gets trampled?

Similarly, if a dancer is spotted as having that anointing and is going to take the worship time in a new direction, a good music leader is going to find ways to support and augment. Is it militant in nature? The prophetic drummer is going to discern that and bring up some cadential stuff that's going to give that crispness. Is it soft and wooing? Maybe the sax or flute or violin is going to be the one to provide the musical interpretation of the visual, and the sound techie is going to make adjustments to see to it that it all works together.

This kind of worship experience means that the teams practice together. Practicing the presence of God in a somewhat different light. When the WHOLE team practices together, things happen in the physical, in the spiritual, and in the realms of relationship. It's amazing to witness a dancer move with a drummer and fluter or saxer moving with the dancer. I have chills remembering it. It takes intention on everyone's part, and a real surrender of "my" ministry to the greater "our" ministry of worship leading.

Wish that I could offer a video! I can see it play in my head... :crooner: :boohoo: :twirl:

It's just SOOOOO beautiful!
I'm thinking I may enjoy this forum much more than I thought I would! :o

Originally, I was going to chime in and say that at our church I'm called the "worship leader". . . .as is another couple who lead so I can have a week off. . .but our pastor prefers calling us "lead worshipers" --where we worship and our church family joins in.

I've always thought that a good worship leader should be like good make up--not even noticed. Big Grin

I've never really considered myself the chief musician. . .sometimes, in worship, I can have issues with "musicians". <EMOJI seq="1f607">:innocent:</EMOJI> (I've known too many who were more in love with music--you know??)

In our church (which is just new and non-denomational). . .oops, let me explain that we are not of any denomination but are pretty much a five fold ministry church although we haven't added that tag. We want to walk in the gifts and have all our church family learn theirs and walk in them during our "services" and their lives.

Our pastor's wife has always moved in prophetic song, although not always encouraged (at other churches at other times). Now, she does this frequently and beautifully, there are others in our church who also are gifted (is that the proper term) in prophetic worship/song, and singing in the Spirit . .and we are all learning in it and are getting to be more free in it, including myself. We don't have any dancers--no, actually we have a couple of them, but they can't make it out regularly. We don't have an flag/banner worshipers yet--we also meet in the dining room of a bar, so room could be an issue.


Our church family basically comes out of a few other churches where there was not the freedom to worship openly, etc. But we're definitely on the right road!

Thanks for this forum, I'm looking forward to learning much from y'all.


Moe. :crooner:
I like the term "lead worshippers"....it does put things into better perspective, doesn't it?

Your comments about meeting in a bar dining room brought back some memories of a church start Dean and I were a part of in Ohio. Our little fledgling group met in a similar type of space, and then moved to the waiting room of a large dental group.....I'm not sure that was a step up! But it was a very sweet time spent with lovely committed people, all of us trying to build a community that freely expressed their worship to the Lord. It's an exciting thing to be a part of.
sonworshiper,Jul 4 2006, 08:27 AM Wrote:Thanks for this forum, I'm looking forward to learning much from y'all.
You're very welcome! You must be from SOUTHERN Quebec! Big Grin

Quote:I've always thought that a good worship leader should be like good make up--not even noticed.  Big Grin
And there ya go! Yup, for the most part a good worship leader pretty much disappears. One of the best compliments we've ever received is when someone whose spirituality we recognize and admire said, "I knew it was you, but somehow, it wasn't you up there. I did not see you. Somehow my spirit joined your spirit and we just worshipped together." That's an ideal result for us.

Quote:I've never really considered myself the chief musician. . .
If you're the one leading the music for the day, you're chief musician for at least the day, IMHO. You may not be "the" chief musician for the congregation, but for the day...

Quote:sometimes, in worship, I can have issues with "musicians".  <EMOJI seq="1f607">:innocent:</EMOJI>  (I've known too many who were more in love with music--you know??)
Ain't it the truth! And if you read the review of the worship seminar, you'll recognize that there are those who forget who they're ministering to. I've been guilty of that myself. I do love watching people "get it" and I love being part of that. There is a subtle trap involved, one that we need to make sure that folks understand: God wants us, as worshippers, to minister to HIM. Yes, there's a time for Him to minister to the folks and we surely want that. The Song of the Lord over His people is important, as it's one way that He communicates to us, again IMO and IME (experience). When the song is in the First Person, God singing to or over us, that's the song of the Lord. It can be prophetic in nature (forthtelling, not foretelling, agreeing with those things that He has already spoken through His Word), comforting, exhorting, etc. It can also be revelatory (foretelling, not forthtelling, but still in line with those things already revealed through His Word), but that's rare IME. And then we have what we've dubbed the Song of the Bride, where we sing to Him. These are love songs usually, songs of recognition of Who and What He is. We've also witnessed wonderful times of conversation in deep worship times where the song of the bride and the song of the bridegroom come out spontaneously. It's an awesome experience to hear that out loud.

Sorry, got a little carried away there. Back to the point here. I LOVE to see folks "get it", but if I'm not careful, that could easily become my reason for ministering, ministering to the people, not to our Lord. As the Croc Hunter would say, "Danger, danger, danger!" For a lot of years, I really advocated for more of a worship facilitator type mentality, where the musicians' job was really to provide a framework for others to worship. To a degree, I still hold that thought, but as a musical worship leader, I have a couple of responsibilities. The first is to worship my Lord. The second is to lead others to worship our Lord. I must never lose sight of the first one.

That second responsibility, however, is an important one that has several components. Leading implies following. Following implies that the leader is within "sight" of the followers. A good leader is one who has experienced more than the followers. Think military for a minute. A good commanding officer has better knowledge of things than most of the followers. His top sergeant(s), however, may actually be more seasoned than the officer! The officer still calls the shots, but the sergeant(s) may have input that will influence the calling of shots. The officer is the chief, but others may see things and know things that the officer doesn't. Another part is that if the leader is not leading, the "mission" can never be accomplished.

The hardest part, at least for me, is to worship at a level that does not leave the follower worshippers in the dust and wondering what just happened. Think of worship as a mountain top experience for a minute. If you, as a worship leader (musical, movement, or otherwise), are often at the highest peak of worship at the highest mountain in your personal mountain range, imagine for a minute going down the mountains, over the vallies, arriving at the foothills to meet the Sunday followers so that you can take them climbing up what seems a huge mountain for them, but is a mere hike on a speed bump for you. You have to keep them safe, but still challenge them to go higher and equip them for eventually finding the mountain tops of worship. All this while still keeping one eye on them and the other eye and your heart on Him, in worship, not surveillance!

There was a confirming word that was shared sometime ago on the Worship Discussion List. A couple went to Toronto to share in the refreshing that was going on at that time. They were tired and weary, especially the wife. They were used to deep, deep worship experiences. The attended a couple of services and came away pretty much as they had entered. The services had been nice, and had obviously affected some of the folks attending, but they were not the oasis that had been anticipated (forgive the mixed metaphors). The wife was not just disappointed, but close to devastated. If I remember the story correctly, they found a quiet place in the church, away from folks and sat and talked. She began to weep, strongly sobbing. She had arrived needing that refreshing and had come away as depleted as she had arrived. Someone from the Toronto church passed by, turned and came to her and spoke as though being able to read her heart. "Those who regularly worship at the mountain top can't expect to be refilled further down the mountain. You're accustomed to deep worship experiences. Your time here was a very high-on-the-mountain time for some of those attending, but not at the levels that you regularly experience" (Thomas paraphrase of a distant memory). That's the way of worship leaders. We do have to find times of refreshing, but the higher up the mountain you "live", the rarer those oases become. Personal worship time gets more and more important as we can really only find refreshing in Him, right??