Editorial Note: This is the handbook for the Worship Ministry of Henderson Hills Church in Edmond, Ok.
Welcome to the Celebration Choir and more importantly, welcome to the world of being a “lead worshiper.” I believe that God has a specific purpose for your life and how He has gifted you. Ephesians, chapter 4, teaches us that God has redeemed us and gifted us to serve within the Body of Christ. What could be more fun than fulfilling the purpose that God has set you apart to do? In the Old Testament, God would “set-apart” musicians to lead in the temple worship. God is still “setting apart” people today and gifting them to serve in His church. We have been “set apart” for just that purpose.
There is a huge difference between “volunteers” and “the called”. If you see yourself merely as a “volunteer”, the following pages will be “enlightening” to you. I’m not sure it’s possible for a volunteer to commit to the things that are in the following pages. I’m convinced that only a person, gifted and called by God will be able to fulfill these expectations, or better yet, would even desire to. As you read the following pages, pray about your calling. This promises to be a great year of worship and leading our people each Sunday and opportunity we have. I am excited to be serving with you! Let’s agree together and say “yes” to what God has for us this year!
Henderson Hills Celebration Choir & Orchestra
Helping people improve their relationship with God and each other by freely expressing our hearts to God and committing ourselves to leading the body into celebratory and intimate worship through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
To be a thoroughly biblical worship and arts ministry that passionately seeks God’s manifested presence and leadership.
In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men. Acts 24:16 (NASB) In every great organization, there is always a high degree of accountability. We believe it is a biblical principle as pointed out in Acts 24:26 as well as other passages in scripture. Without accountability to each other, we can become very “tunnel” visioned and unaware of blind spots in our lives or ministry.
…Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the lord is not in vain. I Corinthians 15:8 (NIV) We want to be a ministry that is consistent in everything we do. In our lifestyles, in our commitment to excellence, in the quality of presentations that we produce, in the worship times we lead, “consistency” must be one of the chords in the strand that brings these things about.
Encourage one another and build each other up. I Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) We can encourage each other in many ways. As we minister together, there will be times that individuals will need encouragement just to make it through the day. Scripture also teaches that we are to encourage one another in “growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Encouragement will also mean that we pray for each other, write a note of encouragement or take the time to ask someone how they are doing and then have the time to listen if necessary. The objective of encouragement is to “build each other up” as it says in the passage in 1 Thessalonians.
“What is the Worship Leading Choir?”
(An excerpt from a monthly published article) We all know what a choir is. And most of us know what worship leading is when we see it. But what do we mean by the term, “Worship Leading Choir?” Don’t all church choirs lead worship? The answer is, yes and no! Yes, in the sense that every “living sacrifice” offered by the believer is an act of worship, and every time any choir of believers sings about God in spirit and in truth it is an act of worship. But, no, in the sense that until our hearts, minds, and spirits are fully engaged in passionately glorifying Jesus in the congregation so that its members are drawn with us into an encounter with the living God, worship leading has not fully happened.
The form today’s choir is beginning to take on is a departure from much of the “traditional” aspects we have come to recognize.
* The emerging choir is not primarily about performance; it is?primarily about worship.
* It’s not about being slick; it is about passion.???
* It’s not about acquaintanceship; it is about family.???
* It’s not about momentary emotion; it is about eternal significance.
* It’s not about competition; it is about servanthood.???
* It doesn’t view talent as primary; it does view character and faithfulness as primary.
The Worship Leading Choir stands before a congregation as a well-schooled, unified battalion, locking arms to come both humbly and boldly into God’s presence, realizing that every word that enthrones Jesus dethrones the enemy. When it sings, it is not to impress, but to inspire. Its audience is not the congregation; their joint audience is God Himself.
Expectations of a Worship Leader
As a worship leader, it is important that you have a growing walk with Christ. Realizing each person is at a different point in their spiritual life, we all are called to become more like Christ each day and to “grow up” in the things of Christ. We must be careful in all areas of our lives because we serve in a very “high profile” ministry. Whether you know it or not, just by leading in worship each week, you represent this ministry, the congregation of Henderson Hills Baptist Church, and most importantly, the Lord Jesus in all aspects of your life and the way you conduct yourself. You are expected to live a life that brings honor to the name of Christ; after all, this is what worship is all about.
You can’t lead someone to a place you have never been. It is also very difficult to lead someone to a place that you haven’t been in a while. The point here is that “personal worship precedes corporate worship”. It is very difficult to worship corporately if you haven’t worshipped first of all privately. You are encouraged to spend time during the week in personal worship. A daily time of reading God’s word, praising Him for all He’s done, petitioning Him for your needs, etc. is highly important for you to be a great worship leader.
We must be accountable to each other regarding rehearsals. It doesn’t make much sense to not come to rehearsals and then expect to be fully prepared to lead in worship on Sunday morning or for a production. We value rehearsal attendance. As a member of the Celebration Choir or Orchestra, you are expected to be at all rehearsals, performances, worship services, etc. Realizing situations will arise that will keep you away; we simply ask that you contact the worship ministry office so we can know how to minister and pray for you. You can call our ministry hotline 24 hours a day and leave a message (341-4663 ext. 350).
Worship Service Attendance
As stated above, it doesn’t make much sense to say you feel called to a ministry and then not to carry out that calling. Understanding that situations do arise that could keep you from serving on a particular Sunday; you are expected to lead in worship every Sunday that you are able to serve. The church was created and designed by the Lord Jesus Christ to be a place of service for Christians. It’s not a place to serve whenever it’s convenient or “feels” right. If there is a Sunday you know you will be gone or unable to serve, just call the worship ministry office or the hotline and let us know. Again, we would love to know how to pray for you and minister to you, as you are away or sick.
Musical Ability – Celebration Choir
While this is a lower priority, there still must be a degree of musical ability to serve in this ministry. No where in scripture does God call a person to serve in a specific area without first equipping them with the talents and resources they need. An ability to read music is not required! It helps but is in no way a requirement! You should be able to sing in key with the rest of the choir. You should be able to blend your voice with the rest of the choir. Don’t worry, if this ever becomes a problem, Larry will tell you! Any other musical ability is greatly appreciated but not required!
Musical Ability – Celebration Orchestra
Because of the requirements of each week’s music, members of the band and orchestra should have an ability to read music and play at a strong high school level. If there are questions or if you are interested in receiving assistance in this area, please contact Worship Worship.
Passion for Worship
Possibly the most important requirement for you to be involved in this ministry is your passion for worship. You should have a heart for drawing near to God and leading others to do this as you practice it yourself. Music is such a small part of worship but can be so effective in impacting our overall worship experience. It is a very expressive, transparent, heartfelt way to express what our hearts want to say to the “Lover of our soul”.
One of the most unique things about the Body of Christ is that it’s the only organization in the world that encourages its members to think of others more highly than themselves. We can never know the full joy of Christ until we have begun to give ourselves away to others, just as Christ did for you and me. You are expected to serve others in this ministry. Jesus said whoever desires to be first must become last!
This is an important aspect of leadership. You should be able to support, follow and trust the leadership of this church and this ministry. Part of being a team player means if you ever come to a point of “mistrust” or have a question about a decision or action, you should take it to the leadership of that ministry. This doesn’t mean that you should always agree with every decision that is made. However, the important thing is how you handle your “disagreeing.” Discussing it with other choir or orchestra members is never a good thing and it ultimately hurts the entire group when handled in this way. The best thing to do is always bring any issue of “disagreement” to Worship Pastor, Associate or the worship leadership team.
Commitment to Excellence
The definition of excellence is “doing the very best you can with what you have.” This is what we are committed to do. While we are not after perfection, we are to be totally committed to excellence. Why would we want to bring anything less before God than the very best we can do?! This commitment will affect the way we rehearse, lead, serve, love and live! As a member of this ministry, you should be committed to excellence!
Rehearsals for Celebration Choir:
Wednesday Evening – Rehearsals are held in the Choir Room and begin immediately following Wednesday evening services (around 7:30) and last until approximately 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday Morning – There is a Tuesday morning rehearsal for those with conflicts on Wednesday evenings. The rehearsal is from 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. in the Choir Room. (Childcare is available upon request. Please contact the Worship and Arts office.)
Prior to the worship services on Sunday morning we will meet in the Choir Room to quickly run through any songs for that morning and have a time of prayer together to prepare ourselves for worship.
Meeting times for Sunday worship are:
8:45 a.m. for the 9:05 a.m. service
10:30 a.m. for the 10:45 a.m. service
Rehearsals for Celebration Orchestra:
Wednesday Evening – Rehearsals are held in the Worship Center and begin immediately following Wednesday evening services (around 7:30 p.m.) and last until approximately 9:00 p.m.
On Sunday mornings we will meet in the upstairs orchestra room at 8:45 to get music folders, pray and review the order of service for that morning. On Sunday the orchestra plays for the 9:05 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. worship services.
What to Wear
Sunday Morning Worship:
Knee length or longer skirts.
No sleeveless outfits.
Pants are fine also.
Collared shirt (no t-shirts)
No tie is necessary.
Specific announcements will be made prior to the event about attire. Attire for special events include: shirts and pants/skirts with color combinations of khaki, black and white. For some occasions men will wear vests and women will wear jackets (provided by HHBC). These should be worn with white collared shirts or blouses and black pants or skirts.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes ‘Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.’
This article ‘Worship Handbook’ by Larry Felt was excerpted from: www.ministrytoolkit.com web site. January 2011. It may be used for study & research purposes only.