A Manifesto of a Worshiping Team

There are no shortcuts or simple formulas for fostering environments where teams flourish. Over the years I’ve had a change in perspective from building worship teams to developing “worshiping” teams. To build a worship team usually means finding some skilled musicians and artists, then trying to get them to work well together and get along, but building a worshiping team is altogether different! It requires more than just assembling a group of people doing individual tasks and getting something accomplished. Instead, it’s a tribe of worshippers that love the church, love people, and just happen to use their gifts to bring glory to God.

“Manifesto” is a great word that simply refers to a public declaration of values and aims and motives. In fostering an environment where a healthy and vibrant worshiping team exists, we’ve created our own manifesto. These are the things we are publicly declaring as our values and aims as a worshiping team.

A MANIFESTO OF A WORSHIPING TEAM

1. We love and worship Jesus above everything else.


There is no greater commandment and calling on our lives than this–we must love Jesus. Worshiping teams are filled to the brim with men and women who faithfully love and passionately worship Jesus.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 ESV)

2. We esteem the Word of God. We will be a people that meditate upon, consume, and obey it.


The Word of God is living, active, and our sole source of truth and direction. Worshiping teams are devoted to personally reading the Word, marinating in it, then obeying it. It is not enough to preach or sing the Word publicly, but to also be hearers and doers of the Word privately.
“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22 ESV)

3. We value excellence in everything we do. We strive to be prepared, skilled, and excellent in heart, mind, and spirit.


The book of Exodus devotes five chapters (35-39) to the building of the tabernacle of God. Every detail was shown careful attention and God used skilled men and women to adorn and beautify the place where He would inhabit. We too will be excellent in heart, mind, and spirit as we lead others to worship.
“Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV)

4. We choose relationship over rivalry and we choose camaraderie over comparison.


Art always thrives in community and artists always flourish when we work together. Simply put, we do together what no single one of us could do alone. Instead of comparing we will cheer each other on and we will fight jealousy and envy by celebrating each other’s gifting.
“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

5. We are a community of undershepherds who have been given the beautiful privilege of pouring our lives into other people.


First, we are undershepherds of the Good Shepherd. He is our master and ruler and we submit to His leadership. Second, we understand that ministry is an absolute privilege. It is not a chore or a beatdown but a beautiful measure of grace to be able to serve the body of Christ. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:10 ESV)

6. We believe that true leadership is more than earthly wisdom, influence, or charisma.


It is seeing what God is doing, responding to His Spirit, and helping others follow.
Mainstream leadership culture suggests that the smartest and most charismatic person is probably the best leader, but the kingdom of God is upside down. In the kingdom we know that true leaders are those who carefully watch and look to Jesus then respond to where the Spirit of God leads. A worshiping team is a “seeing” team that follows God and compels others to also follow.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:1, 3 ESV)

7. We choose servanthood over stardom.


Leadership is for service, not status. The Scriptures command us to humble ourselves before God and others. A worshiping team realizes that the only person who deserves a platform, audience, or spotlight is Jesus Christ. We resist the temptation to promote ourselves and we die to a desire to be the greatest.
“And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:18-20 ESV)

8. We are not moved by applause or criticism.


When we are applauded or praised, we will receive it with gratitude and give credit away. Conversely, when we are criticized or given negative feedback, we will refuse to be offended, realizing that we must constantly grow, improve, and change. Our identity is not found in the art we create, the platform from which we lead, or our skill. A worshiping team realizes we are God’s workmanship and our identity is found in simply being His. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which he prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

9. As artists we create things with God, not for God.


When the Holy Spirit of God infuses Himself into ordinary people, something supernatural happens. A worshiping team is less concerned with what they can do for God and more concerned about doing things with God. Artists are not robots crafting things to impress God. Instead, they are normal people standing next to Him, relying on His Spirit within them, crafting things along side the Creator of the universe.
“The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hands find to do, for God is with you.” (1 Samuel 10:6-8 NIV)

10. Our character is more important than our competency.


Artists tend to focus on skill level over character, but character is a necessity for anyone with influence. The size of the platform doesn’t always equal the size of the inward character. Platform typically illuminates skill sets, but the eyes of the Lord see the condition of the heart. Worshiping teams realize that character always trumps competency. “Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7 ESV)

11. We are a relinquishing people.


“Relinquish” is such a powerful and profound word! Beyond simply dropping an object to the ground, to relinquish something implies letting that object be released, scattered, and unleashed. A worshiping team is made of people who relinquish everything they have for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. So we unashamedly admit when we are limited. We say no to competition with brothers and sisters. We release and scatter our hold on possessions and affections, and we give to others what we strongly desire for ourselves. If Jesus, who had every right to keep what was His still chose to give everything away, so should we be willing to let go of what we consider to be “ours.”
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:3-5 ESV)

Aaron Ivey

About Aaron Ivey

Aaron is the Pastor of Worship & Creativity at The Austin Stone Community Church. Aaron lives in Austin with his wife Jamie, and four children: Cayden, Deacon, Amos and Story.