expressive worship

It’s Not a Stage, It’s a PLATFORM!

“We don’t entertain, we worship.” That’s the main resistance we get from worship artists and worship teams about Tom Jackson’s Live Music Method.

This is a pretty common concern — and valid. When it comes to worship, we don’t treat that “audience/venue” the same as a band out doing shows and entertaining an audience. But leading worship is still about communicating with people, and some of the same skills apply.

A comment came in on one of my blogs, from Dale, who leads worship at his church. He understands how Tom’s Live Music Method works for performing bands, and he understands that these things can be applied to worship teams. But his bandmates aren’t catching the vision. They think incorporating Tom’s Method will make them look like “entertainment” instead of worship leaders.

Your goal as a worship team should be to make sure the congregation gets the most out of worship as possible. So, you first focus on what you want them to experience with each song. Is it joyful praise? Is it contemplating a passage of scripture that they’re singing?

Part of Tom’s Method is working on the right arrangement for each song to create those different moments in worship. You don’t just blow through a song… you find places to come down, or build up musically. You repeat choruses when the Spirit is flowing, etc.

Like it or not, the people sitting out there see you. So does what they’re seeing you do match or fit what they are hearing? Some people will be ministered to by a great guitar solo, more than a lyric, so having your guitarist simply take a step forward for a solo will just enhance that experience for them. To me that’s not ‘showing off’ — it’s just common sense and part of the visual experience.

Knowledge of when to use a mic stand or sit on a stool just works to enhance what a song is communicating and sets a tone. Going to different places on the platform and addressing the congregation in those places, is just connecting with them, plus allows you to gauge where they are. You’ll be able to see if they’re ‘with you’ in worship or if they are needing more time to ‘get vertical.’

So Dale, you may need to take baby steps. If the band doesn’t officially ‘sing,’ have them at least sing along and try making eye contact with people when the song is appropriate. A big thing with many worship bands is that they’re reading charts, so they’re looking down, concentrating, and not looking like they really enjoy being there at all. You’ll need to actually rehearse this too… don’t let them tell you, “yeah I’ll do that on Sunday morning when people are here.” It’s not that easy if you’re not used to looking at people!

And please people, an intense frown does not always say “I’m so passionate about what I’m saying.” Most of the time it just looks like an ugly frown! Simply looking like you enjoy worship is an improvement!

Shoot video of your services and rehearsals and watch them back – you’ll see what needs to change. Ask the band, ‘does what you see really make you want to worship?’ That’s your template.

We enjoy working with worship band and can help with all of this. Click here to see how to bring one of us to your church to work with your entire team…


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Amy Wolter

Amy has vast and varied experience in music, from keyboardist to lead singer, from songwriter to producer. She fronted a nationally touring Christian rock band that garnered some top 10 CCM hits. Playing in a variety of venues and churches gave her a real understanding of what audiences and congregations connect with. As a member of her church’s worship team, Amy understands the challenges that come with this, and enjoys helping Christian artists and Worship Teams create freedom in the room to truly express their worship.

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