Question: Describe the worship style of your congregation
Answers: Marvis Jackson-Ivy, Minister of Music for Langley Avenue Church of God in Chicago, Illinois, states currently we have a formal worship style, specific programming is in place. However, room for the Holy Spirit is always in order to deviate from the program. We are also currently looking at consolidating or restructuring our programming.
Camille Betton, Minster of Worship First Church of God, under Bishop Clark, in Columbus Ohio states, our worship style is traditional but moving into a more charismatic style. In the last 5 years we have moved from singing one verse of a hymn to a freer environment were people could feel a part of the worship service within the different music choices.
Reverend Arnetta Ivy, Worship Leader for New Life Church of God in Decatur, Illinois, states we use more of a contemporary style of worship. We use both slower songs and more up beat songs during the praise and worship part of the service. During the congregational singing we use the hymnals. We also us the hymnal after the sermon is preached. We sometimes us a CD after the preaching, but we use the hymnals the most. This all depend on how God’s spirit moves.
Question: What do you think the greatest needs are of a worshiper?
Answers: Marvis Jackson-Ivy – Worshippers come to church to receive a blessing in song as well as in the message.
Camille Betton – The greatest need of worshipers is the need to worship on a consist basis; develop their relationship on a continuous basis. They need to establish their relationship with the lord and then to build on it. Worship is more than just what you do at the church. If you do not develop the relationship, then it becomes a chore to come to church and worship. It is like a marriage, you have to build on it and put into it, if you do not it will not grow.
Arnetta Ivy – The greatest need of the worshiper is to come “expecting”. Come expecting to meet God, to meet the Holy Spirit in that service. True worshippers come expecting to meet him in the service; they come expecting to feel his presence.
Question: Do you plan services alone or with a team of people?
Answers: Marvis Jackson-Ivy – The services are planned by the pastor, but I plan the music along with a team.
Camille Betton– I had a band and worship team. While it was my responsibility, I bounced ideas off everyone. I had to grow into that. I took ownership, but I had to afford others the opportunity to have input into the worship service. I had to become more comfortable allowing others this opportunity. It is important for the worship leader to understand they have the ultimate responsibility but to be open to the input of others and allow them to utilize their gifts and talents as well.
Arnetta Ivy – Actually, I worked with a team but the pastor had a lot of input in the choosing of the songs. She did not actually pick the songs, but she gave some input for a while.
Question: How far ahead are services planned?
Answers: Marvis Jackson-Ivy – We try to plan services quarterly, however a yearly calendar guides us.
Camille Betton – I passed out a monthly schedule. So they would have it before them at a glance.
Arnetta Ivy – We planned it on Thursday during rehearsal. Me personally, I would start praying right after the Sunday service, starting that Monday for the Lord to give his direction on what to choose for the upcoming Sunday.
Question: What two books would you recommend someone read who wants to go into Music and Worship Ministry?
Answers: Marvis Jackson-Ivy – The Bible and I studied some music ministry in school (theory, musicianship). But, remember God equips even those that he calls, with or without education.
Camille Betton – The book, The God Chasers by Tommy Tenny is one. Another book The Purpose of Praise and Worship, by Miles Monroe. I also would recommend to anyone to get a subscription to Worship Leaders. It tells about the challenges of worship leaders, new worship materials and it can be a wonderful help to anyone responsible for leading worship.
Arnetta Ivy – One book I would recommend is, My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. This book helped me to prepare myself for the service of God. It isn’t a book on praise and worship, per say, but it will assist you on serving the Lord. Another book, Celebration of Disciples – Path’s to Spiritual Growth Richard J. Foster is a good one. It has different disciples in it, a total of 13. There is a disciple for service, worship and guidance. I feel these are three of the most important disciples besides prayer and fasting. So I found this book helpful. There is also one on celebration, and when you come into the service you should come with a spirit of celebration. Another book, 31 Days of Praise – Enjoying God Anew, by Ruth Myers, helped me to learn how to praise God for real!! And not just using my lips!
Question: Do you use the creative/worship arts as part of your worship experience?
Answers: Marvis Jackson-Ivy – Yes, we use various types of music, instruments, dance and song. All worship is welcome. Poetry is music with words. All Godly worship is welcome.
Camille Betton – I was interested in incorporated creative arts at the time when I was worship leader, but now the church is ready to accept that and the new worship leader is preparing them for that. I believe however, it is important to utilize artistic inputs in worship because it enhances the worship for individuals. It helps people to see, it gives them the visual affects, which can help them in their time of worship.
Arnetta Ivy – Not currently, but our praise dancers are preparing to begin soon.
Conclusion: After hearing what each leader had to say regarding worship I came away with a few points I would like to share. Each of these leaders was open to the worship service being more than music. They were open to allow God to speak to the people through other artistic mediums. Their challenges were making sure they were listening to God’s leading to provide an edifying worship service for those that come as well as the resistance sometimes of others following the vision. However in speaking with them, they did not give me the impression that they demanded others to follow, but they waited on God’s leading to get others to see the vision. Another point that I gleaned from speaking with these leaders is their own walk with God was of the utmost importance to them. I am reminded that in order to lead others in true worship of God, you must first be a true worshiper yourself. I like what Camille said, it is like a marriage that you are committed to. You have to invest your heart, mind and soul into the relationship so it can grow. If you do not invest in the relationship it will die. It is the same with worship. A worship leader must be willing to invest their own heart, mind and soul into their personal worship time, so that when they come to the corporate worship service they can lead others into that time of worship. Arnetta said she used books to help her gain a better understanding on how to worship God, as she stated “for real”. It again reminds us that leaders must be willing to study to show themselves approved. They must study the word of God (as all believers must). They also are willing to read other things that can help them do their best for God. It again let’s us know we must be willing to study and learn all we can so that whatever capacity we find ourselves in, we are giving our best.