I remember the first time they told me, “You need to lead worship because there isn’t anybody else, and you are the only one who can play the piano.” I know that lots of pastors’ children have probably found themselves in a similar situation. I just said, “Are you sure? Me?” At the beginning, it was such a big challenge, because there was no team to work with or anything. I was very young, but it was in my heart to raise up a team according to God’s own heart that would understand their call as worshipers. I made many mistakes because I didn’t have anyone to show me how, but after all these years, I can truly say that God has been good and has raised up a wonderful worship team in the church.
I would like to share some principles with you that I believe are important for a worship team to have. Firstly: more than talent, God is looking for worshipers. At the beginning, we didn’t have much choice – we just asked those who were coming to help us lead worship. I remember that we had a very talented guitarist at the time, but it turned out that there were some problems in his character. He always made everything into a problem, he used to go into a sulk and he wanted to be the star of the show. I consider myself to be a patient person, so at first, I didn’t intervene or say anything to him about it. But then I started to see how his character was affecting the rest of the team in a big way, so we felt obliged to speak to him, to help him see that it was important for God to form his life and character first so that he could have a heart prepared to be part of the worship team.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”
1 Samuel 16:7
One of the people in the Bible who has impacted me the most is David. He was a very humble man, who did not seek out his own glory. He was faithful, worshiping God day and night. He also had a heart that loved to serve, because he loved and served his sheep. He allowed God to form and guide him in the secret place. Nobody saw when he was praying, worshiping, or pouring out his soul to the Lord. “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart” (Psalm 51:6, ESV). God loves those who seek Him and who have intimacy with Him. People often think that a singer in the worship team must have incredible intimacy with the Lord, simply because they are on a stage, but unfortunately, many just sing and do not worship in the secret place.
Another characteristic I see in the life of David is his servant heart. Even after he was anointed, and he knew that he would become king one day, he always had the best attitude in serving King Saul. There is nothing worse than a proud person who wants others to serve them all the time. Jesus’ own example was reflected when He said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45). There are people who, when shown a little bit of recognition, think that they can treat others in a certain way and that they have the authority to lord it over them. But it is so good is to see worship leaders serving in different areas in the church, especially in the ministry! We pray that we would be people who are passionate about the ministry, about helping others, and praying for them to come to know Jesus.
Once we have these characteristics, we can begin to pray to ask God to give us the ability to form others. Here are some things to keep in mind when raising up a worship team:
- Hold an event where you invite everyone who has musical talent to come.
In this meeting, you can share a word about the heart of a worshiper and the importance of serving in the church.
- Hold auditions in your church.
We often say, “There are no musicians in the church,” but I can assure you that you will be surprised when you see people coming that you never knew could sing or play an instrument.
- Be intentional about working on motivation and unity within the team.
If someone is not well practiced and they need to work on their voice or on how they play, encourage them to study and improve for a time period of one or two months; then, listen to them again to see how they have improved. Our personal experience has been that the people who truly want to grow make an effort to take classes and take steps to improve their talent.
- Begin to raise up a pre-teens band.
I am so impacted by today’s pre-teens! They have so much talent! We cannot allow their talents to be wasted on the world. The majority of musicians who are now part of the main worship team in Bogota began serving in the Pre-teens meetings. We need to focus on the new generation and provide them with the support they need. Personally, I love seeing new talent in the church and I pray that we would raise up many psalmists who will make the difference. Johan Manjarres and Anthony Catacoli are both examples of this. They have been in church since they were very young and they are now part of Generación 12. I have asked them to share their testimonies with you and I know that you will be greatly encouraged!
Pastor and worship leader of Generación 12