Sometimes, worship is work.
Few people understand this more than those leading worship. Taylor chapel band members have song selection, sound checks, practice and rehearsals — all before they even get on stage to lead. But sometimes, not everyone is happy with the results. So how do the band members balance pleasing students and glorifying God? What’s the difference between performing on stage and genuinely worshiping?
“We get together before the semester with a training session with everyone who's in a chapel band, whether you're a leader or whether you're just a band member,” band leader and junior Trent Repass said. “And we talk a lot about that balance of being musically prepared and also being genuine in terms of worship and that whole mindset. So I think a lot of it has to do with how you approach a rehearsal.”
Trent felt that a worship band can both perform and worship, as long as the performance is focused on the worship. By focusing on worshiping God through well-performed music, the chapel band members aspire to create a comfortable worship atmosphere for others. It is balancing performance with worship, not excluding it, that remains the band members’ goal.
“There have been instances where we've kind of had to be like, ‘Okay, we're focusing a little bit too much on like the details and making it sound really cool,’” band member and junior Austin Cochrane said. “I feel like we’re allowed to use our abilities to make the worship as best as possible. But if the root of our joy and the root of what we are doing is not coming from the joy of the Lord but rather from the joy of what we’re doing — when it becomes about us, then we scrap that. That’s not what we’re going for.”
Sometimes, that is easier said than done. It often means choosing to forget what others think, whether it’s good or bad. In reality, both the band members and congregation have the same goal, to worship God, and should be helping each other to achieve it.
“When you are performing for your peers or playing for your peers and leading your peers in worship, I'm leading somebody who sits next to me in a class — they don't feel far away.” Repass said. “When you set your mind on that fact, it's like you're just in a leadership position — just as important as a PA or a DA or student body president or TSL member. We're all doing the same thing. We're all serving each other, just in different ways.”
Cochrane said that often, comments from the congregation could pull the attention away from God, placing it on band members, and while such comments are appreciated, their focus is solely on worshiping with others and not for others.
“I think that the congregation is also just as much of a leader in worship as the people on stage. It's not supposed to be us playing for them,” Cochrane said. “It’s supposed to be us worshiping together. It's a united act.”