Why does this matter? Three reasons.
- Our job as a team is to lead a group of people in corporate worship. We need to model this corporate worship. Starting together makes a difference. If we are a team it is important to function in that way. Demonstrates “oneness” (Jn 17.20-21; see also Jn 13.15). We will feel more like a team of brothers and sisters. When one starts and the others are not ready it creates insecurity in the team which is never good for unity.
- One person starting a song when the rest are not ready is distracting for the congregation who are then thinking about why we are not unified rather than focussed on God. Needless to say, this is likely to be even more distracting for visitors (it might be a stretch to apply 1 Cor 14.33, but you know what I mean).
- When we start songs together it means we are ready to not only sing, and not only to lead worship, but we are best placed to actually worship God ourselves! This matters to God and makes a difference to our own spiritual well-being (a healthy attitude matters, Heb 12.28).
How do we get there? Three steps.
- Look down. Check the first note/chord – make sure you’ve got it. Get the first few words of the song in your head.
- Look sideways. Check the rest of the team are ready.
- Look out. Smile at the congregation, and start with a noticeable movement (of the arm or instrument).
It is the leaders’ job to create conditions helpful to starting songs together. It is the job of the rest of the team to make the leader’s job easy by being alert (echoes of Heb 13.17). Starting together is not about volume or energy, but focus. It is about teamwork!
These are not ‘rules’ and breaking them is not ‘sin’, but let’s reflect and see if starting together might help our services. I believe that the congregation will respond well and move more quickly from, “Oh, the song has started”, to actually participating in corporate worship. We, they and our friends will be spiritually enriched, and God will be honoured. Everyone ‘wins’.