Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Renaming Worship Terms (2)

On March 15th I mentioned that worship is much more than music and suggested that "worship leader" is an unhelpful term. Can you define ways by which we can ensure that worship is not just thought of in terms of music?

I know this is a big subject. It stirs up feelings! Don Carson (in Worship by the Book ed. Don Carson, Zondervan 2002, page 47) comments:
"The notion of a "worship leader" who leads the "worship" part of the service before the sermon (which, then, is not part of worship!) is so bizarre, from a new Testament perspective, as to be embarrassing. ...I know that "worship leader" is merely a matter of semantics, a currently popular tag, but it is a popular tag that unwittingly skews people's expectations as to what worship is. At very least, it is misleadingly restrictive."

Is it an improvement to rename?:
worship leader = "music leader" (making room for other co-leaders of worship such as the preacher!)
worship team = "music team," "corporate worship planning team", or in some traditions "liturgical team." Others involved in corporate worship might also be identified e.g. "Scripture reading team", "prayer team."
Any comments?

3 comments:

scottcheatham said...

Michael,
I'm not sure I have a good answer either. We've wrestled with that here at my church. I'm not real comfortable with the term "worship pastor", "worship leader", etc..for the very reason you mention. All is worship.

One church in my area is calling the position "Creative Arts" director and encompasses music, drama, dramatic scripture reading, etc..

Steve Carlson said...

Dr. Quicke,
I formerly led the music part of a worship service at a church in Hinsdale, IL. As a way of distancing myself from the "worship leader" term, I suggested they call me an usher. My thought was that I was doing the same job as the ushering crew. We were both bringing people in to a place where Christian formation happened. They did it by bringing people to their seats. I did it by providing the music portion of the service. Both jobs needed to be done, neither more important than the other. And frankly, I happen to think that ushering is much harder. Trying to find seats for people who don’t want to march down in front of everybody (even though they would come 15 minutes after the service started and all the back seats were already taken) can be challenging at best. :-)

Anonymous said...

Humility seems to play a big part in it all.