Church Leaders in the greater Seattle Area:

Do your service(s) use a contemporary worship team and music, as an alternative or in addition to an organ & choir?

If so, our services might interest you.



About me (Gary Gerdes) - Leader of the "Portable Worship Team" & Consultant on Contemporary Worship:

I have led, and played in contemporary "praise and worship teams" for nearly 10 years running (and still am). Most of this was at regular services at four different Calvary Chapel churches. I've also led and played at retreats, home fellowships, weekly studies, memorial services, etc. I've also done a fair amount of studying and reading on the nature of worship, and the role of the worship team musicians and singers.

I am also personally available to consult with you regarding any aspect of contemporary worship - ranging from worship material, worship team issues, and even recommendations on musical and sound equipment.

I've seen a particular situation, which troubled me. God put an idea into my head, and several pastors I've spoken with thought it would fulfill a need. So the "Portable Worship Team" was created (on the 8th day?).

The Problem:

The problem occurs where a church has a worship team(s) that play virtually every week. This can occur at a small church that doesn't have the talent pool or resources to have more than one team. I've also seen it occur at a large church that had one team always playing first service, another always playing second, and a third team always playing the evening service. I was in one of those teams and likely played 50 out of 52 Sundays for five or six years.

The Main Problem is "Burnout"

Leading or playing on a worship team is a sacred gift and trust that God appoints some of us to. I'm sure that anyone presently playing on a team would acknowledge this, and is likely humble, thankful and joyful for the opportunity. (If they aren't, what are they doing there?) However, week after week it can start to feel like a chore. At times I felt like I should be thankful and joyful, but there were weeks when it felt more like an obligation than a privilege. This is not the attitude for a worship team member to have in preparing for and leading worship time.

Once I got into a situation where I was not regularly playing every Sunday - the joy returned. Those Sunday mornings I got up refreshed and excited about where the Spirit might lead worship this week.

A Second Problem is "Perception"

A team leader or member loses perspective of what worship is about if they are always "on stage". They get wrapped in the "performance", sound issues, and their technique. A team member needs to have time "on the other side". They need to have times sitting in the congregation where they can:
- Experience anew the joy of worshipping without the distractions of leading it.
- Learn from the body members around them what types of songs and lyrics seem to lead them into deeper and more active worship.

Perfection isn't everything:

There may be others in your church who would love to lead worship. Maybe their skills aren't as honed as your "A-Team". But the heart of worship is not a perfect performance. It is the attitude of the team, individually and as a group. (The group dynamic is trickier. In all the incarnations of worship teams I've played on, with people coming and going - I've only been on two where it felt like a truly unified family called together by God. One is the team I play regularly on at my church. The other is the "core" of the "Portable Worship Team".

So, if you have only one team, look around. There may be others who are feeling led to participate. If they can sing on key, or have some solid basic skills on an instrument - maybe they can help. You can put the "B-team" together from these folks or mix and match among better and more moderately skilled people. It gives more people in your congregation a chance to participate and you're developing skills among others who you may need when someone leaves or is on vacation.

Variety is good for the congregation:

You can't make everyone happy all of the time. Not everyone is moved to actively worship by the same type of songs. Some like upbeat foot-stompin' joyful stuff. Others prefer the slower meditative songs. Some like hymns. Some like the Top-40 Christian radio hits. Others like to hear songs from when they first accepted Christ. Some like the old-timey Southern Gospel standards. Two worship teams (with two distinct leaders) are going to select different types of songs, and their team will perform them differently. That way, if this week isn't my cup of tea, I know next week will be.

Some churches I know of personally have made some changes to address these problems. Some with two morning services have one worship team do both services on a given Sunday, and their other team does both services the following week. (Less rehearsal and setup time is a side-benefit). My best friend's Lutheran church has an A-Team and a B-Team that alternate weeks. Another church (with one service) has their A-Team play the first 3 Sundays, and the B-Team does the 4th (Not sure what happens in a five-Sunday month - maybe they use a dee-jay). 8-)

So how can the "Portable Worship Team" help?

First off, we are not a solution to all of the problems above - we're at best more of a Band-Aid. We can't be your "B-Team" every other week - we are all actively involved in our own churches.

But - a few examples on how we might be of service:

  • We might be able to arrange to come in regularly once every other month to at least give your team a break that Sunday. (To worship in the congregation? I don't like to call it a day off.)

  • Maybe your worship leader is out of town and you haven't found a strong secondary leader. Or maybe they are both out of town.

  • We filled in at one church where 85% of their team was on a short-term mission to Mexico.

  • I'm not sure we could pull it together quickly enough if your worship leader (or whole team?) was ill. Although if you knew on a Saturday morning, that might be enough notice for us.

Here's a current list from our book of praise and worship songs.

Our approximate geographic area of service would be from Auburn to Everett and east to North Bend - but that's not a hard line. We do not have a set "fee", but if possible it would be nice to get at least a small honorarium or whatever to help support this ministry and its travel and equipment expenses.

Anyway, we are all here to serve the Lord. If we can help you in your service, please contact me via phone or email - or use one of the short forms below for general queries.

In His name:
- Gary Gerdes
(Contact Info)

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Query about Worship Team and Sound Consulting Services

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Worship Team Startup
Work with and adjudicate team on Musicality, Playing as a Group, Microphone Techniques, etc.
Issues, Problems, Focus of Team
Worship Song Selections and Sources
Evaluate Existing Sound System
Train and Develop Sound Person on getting the most out of the system
Consult and make recommendations on sound or musical equipment

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