Worship Team Setup

If you're in a large church with several worship teams, then you're probably wondering, "Who even needs to know this?"

Be thankful, because most of the really hard work was done for you, probably a long time ago.

For lots of average-size (average in Australia is apparently 70-80; in the world it's only 50) and small churches, getting a worship team together can be a real challenge. First, you may have a limited number of competent musicians or vocalists. Plus your actual financial resources to be able to purchase necessary equipment may be very limited. This can be complicated even further if you have a very traditional congregation who are determined to keep the church in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries. So where do you start? And especially, if you're starting with no instrumentalists at all!

Well, I'm pretty sure I can't help absolutely everyone, but I have some suggestions for those who wish to head towards a worship team with a contemporary feel. I'm assuming here that you will need to encourage someone to learn an instrument (or learn it yourself).

To begin, we need to at least understand a bit about modern music (yes, that includes modern church music!), the contemporary sound, and the roles of some of the instruments. Then we can take the most direct route to building a worship team with a contemporary flavour. There's more on these topics elsewhere on this site, but at least we can cover the basics here.

First, we need to understand that different instruments make different contributions to the overall worship team setup. There are two instruments that we call "self-contained;" in other words, they can provide all three of the basic elements of music - melody, rhythm & harmony - all at the same time. Most other instruments are incapable of doing this. So for this reason alone, these two instruments, the piano (or electronic keyboards, commonly referred to as "keys") and the guitar, should be right at the top of your list. If you have anyone in your church who can play these instruments, they can carry the musical burden alone.

But there are two other important factors to consider. One is that most modern music is guitar-driven; some songs don't quite sound the same when led from keys. This affects the overall sound of your band.

The next thing to consider is the overall difficulty of instruments to play. The three most difficult instruments are probably the piano, guitar and violin, each one being difficult for different reasons. If you're starting your band from scratch, then we've already narrowed the field to just keys and guitars, and given the fact that most modern music is guitar driven, we've weighted our selection in favour of the guitar. But if the guitar and keys are equally difficult to learn, and someone is willing to put the effort in, which do you choose?

The solution is easy: choose the guitar. The reason for this is that although they have a similar level of difficulty, results will be achieved much more quickly on the guitar. Think of it this way. The guitar can be played as a simple strumming instrument. All you need is a few chords, a couple of strumming patterns, and you can play along competently for a whole bunch of songs.

This is not the case with keys. It's not so easy to do the equivalent of a strum, and a pianist has to be able to play at a much higher level to make it sound decent. Of course, if you already have a band, a lower level keys player can fit in okay because they're not taking the overall responsibility.

Now read: Worship Team Setup 2

How To Set Up a Worship Team | Pursuit of Excellence | Worship Team Rehearsals | Why More is Less | Worship Teams & Keys | Worship Teams & Guitars | Worship Teams & Drums | The Power of Music