Article by Francis Okwei-NorteyDeacon at GraceLife London
This team is currently led by Francis Okwei-Nortey with the help of other members of the team; who help with the management and administration of the musicians/band, rehearsals as well as song selection and registration. The team leader role includes rota collation, team selection, leading rehearsals or selecting others to do so. Leading rehearsals would include leading devotions and prayer as well as vocal development and song practice. The role also includes oversight of membership to both the band and the choir, as well as other evangelistic events, such as singing at residential homes and the Christmas celebration. As the leader of the ministry, it is also my role to liaise with the pastors enabling them to have oversight of the ministry and ensuring that we are meeting the needs of the church and individual worship services.
Commitment within this ministry would mean being willing to attend fortnightly rehearsals as well as being at church early on Sundays for sound checks and ‘run-throughs’. Although you would be required to sing on Sundays (when you are included on the rotation), there is not a set requirement at present, in terms of the amount of availability a singer or instrumentalist would be required to give. The role would also require the practice and honing of the gifts being used, which is another time commitment.
This ministry area is what I would call a front of house or very visual ministry. It is important as it is one of the many things we do together in our Christian lives. The ministry is part of the corporate worship we undertake, and we know scripture emphasises corporate worship, with Hebrews 10:24-25 speaking of not giving up meeting together. Ephesians 5:19 exhorts us to be:
Whilst verses such as Psalm 95:2 say:
Singing songs with strong words is not only an important tool in learning and enforcing what scripture says. But also serves as a form of prayer, giving us the words to sing when we are weak or may not have the words. It is encouragement for those who need it, a real means of grace. Singing together helps to prepare us for the preaching of the Word, as well as giving us an opportunity to thank and praise God together, for who he is and what he has done in our lives.
This ministry has been a real privilege and blessing to lead, however, it hasn’t been without its difficulties. The main difficulties we face are regarding the availability of many of the members, as some also serve in different ministry areas. We often also lack the numbers in terms of musicians. This I believe can be overcome by members and regular attenders being plugged into ministries thus freeing up some of those who are serving in specialist areas such as the music ministry; and of course, prayer about this is very much appreciated.
If anyone is gifted in the area of music, please feel free to contact me (Francis[@]gracelifelondon.org). Although there is no formal audition, musicians will be informally ‘auditioned’ in order to ascertain their level of expertise, and also to ensure musicians are integrated onto the teams when they are ready. Overall our aim is to facilitate worship in song, without being a distraction. Pointing people to Christ and the words we sing, and not to ourselves.