We would first like to express how delighted we are that you have the interest and desire to be involved with the public worship of God. Worshiping God is one of our highest privileges and joys, and making music for His glory and the edification of His people is a great honor and can be very satisfying. Second, we’d like to point out that even if you aren’t up front, in a very real way you are still participating in our music. We believe that music in worship is designed chiefly as an aid to congregational singing and do all that we can to encourage, invite, and make participation by all possible. Before you make music “on stage,” you should see yourself as an equal participant in worshiping God and be singing regularly with eagerness and joy, making melody in your hearts from the seats to and for the Lord.
The music for our services each week is arranged and led by a “Worship Team,” so named in order to make our primary mission clear: supporting, encouraging, and facilitating the singing of congregational songs. You may have noticed that each week the team’s line-up is a little bit different. This is due to both the availability of our members and any musical or logistical considerations for a given week. The worship leader functions as the event leader for the week, making arrangement decisions and guiding the team in how the songs will be presented.
Who Can Participate?
Since the public worship of God is so important and vital to the Christian life, we are careful about who we allow to lead both in word and by example. Only members or those who have decided to join but are still in the membership process may serve. This helps us ensure that our music and singing is a “family affair.” While at times we may be limited technically or musically by not hiring professional musicians, the benefit of making music and being led by our brothers and sisters in the Lord is worth it.
We do make a couple of exceptions to our membership rule. Sometimes members have visiting friends or relatives who desire to participate with the song team or in presenting a “special music” selection (see below). If a member of Bethany vouches for the faith and membership of visitors from a Bible-believing church, and the worship director agrees to allow them to sing or play, they are allowed to participate.
How do I Get Started?
Speak to our Worship Arts Director, Vance Bowman, or one of the other leaders listed and you’ll be invited to visit to one of our Wednesday practices. The audition process tends to be fairly informal and is a time to have any additional questions about worship ministries answered. At some point, you’ll be asked to come prepared to play or sing several of your favorite worship songs (you can bring your own music if you’d like). If you don’t bring a list, we’ll choose several songs from our regular song list for you to try. It is possible that you may have a heart that is eager to serve but a voice or skill set that is not quite ready for public ears. In that case, we will gently encourage you to continue practicing to develop your skill until a time when you demonstrate the ability to musically fit with the team.
What Will Be Expected of Me?
Our first expectations have nothing to do with your musical skills, but your heart.
First, We expect you to serve with a humble, cheerful attitude. This doesn’t mean that you won’t ever have crabby days or that we expect you to put on a fake smile for the worship team, but it does mean that you are striving to put off sins of pride and self-interest, particularly those that visibly affect the song team or the congregation. Humility can be simply defined as being more interested in others than yourself, which is particularly important for musicians. We are there to serve the people and to help them sing and be affected by the truth of our songs, not to show off our skills.
Second, we expect you to live up to your membership covenant and participate in public worship when you are not leading, small groups, Sunday school, and regular body life.
Third, we expect you to be punctual at our rehearsals and warm-up times, encourage you to sing while you play (even if it’s hard at first), and encourage feedback and input to the rest of team.
What Is the Schedule and Time Commitment?
For a Sunday that you are on the Worship Team, you’ll be expected to attend the 90m Wednesday rehearsal, and come early Sunday morning. The rehearsals are mandatory, even if you’re a world-famous musician! This is because our rehearsals are not for learning notes – they are for crafting arrangements specific to a service and for building unity as a team. Our rehearsal time is currently Wednesdays from 7:00-8:30. On Sundays, our warm-up time is 7:50 (you need to be tuned and ready promptly at 8:00).
Scheduling is done every two months on the Planning Center Online website. We schedule team members based on their availability, the needs of the team for a particular week, and how often they desire to serve. No team member should have to serve more than 2 times a month. All team members must learn to use the scheduling function of the website so that they can block out the weeks they cannot serve. Don’t be put off if you are scheduled less than you are available, particularly if the team has several of your instrument or part.
What about Solo Presentations?
Most of our solo presentations are of new songs we are teaching the congregation. But if you have a desire to share a piece of music or a song that you believe would edify God’s people, please run it by any of the worship leaders to get their input. We want to make sure not only that the lyrics of a piece are accurate and helpful, but that the musical style will not be too far outside of the bounds of what our people know and are familiar with to be useful. While there are many beautiful works of music in the world that can all be used to bring glory to God.