Can someone who is playing at a pub or a rock band also play in the worship team?
The question seems to boil down to whether playing in a pub or rock band disqualifies someone from playing in the worship team. I've done my own pub-band time and other secular gigs as well, so here are three things that I'd look at when it comes to this issue.
Alcohol – Does the person have a problem with alcohol abuse? If so then he/she ought to avoid the pub environment in the first place.
Eph 5:18 - Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit (NIV)
I have no problems with believers drinking alcohol. If the Bible does not prohibit it, neither should I. But the Bible DOES prohibit getting drunk. So if we are talking about a believer who plays music at a pub and he or she consistently gets drunk, then I'd think twice about letting this person play on the worship team.
Secular music – I also have no problem with believers playing secular music. The Bible does not prohibit it, neither should I. But the Bible does speak out against confusing the sacred with the secular. Consider this passage:
Eze 33:31-32 - So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. (NKJV)
The reference to secular entertainers in Israel shows that they did exist in those days. In this passage, God says that ignoring the word of a prophet is like treating him/her just like a secular entertainer. The Bible does not condemn secular music, but it does tell us not to treat the Word of God in the same way, as mere entertainment.
The Believer's Word Life – And that refers to both the time the person spends in the Bible and his spoken words.
A secular pub is usually an unedifying place. The Bible does not give us a definite order to avoid all unedifying places, in fact we are told that the whole world is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19). So that means that we cannot totally avoid unedifying places. But we CAN keep ourselves from being polluted by the world (James 1:27). And that is what we should aim for.
So if a pub or rock musician wants to play on the worship team, my first question is this: has he or she been polluted by the world? The fastest gauge of that is his or her speech, because the mouth speaks what the heart is full of (Luke 6:45). If the believer has been polluted by the world, his or her speech will usually be the first to go haywire.
Quick tip: don't just listen to how this person talks in church. Drop by the pub when this musician is working, hide yourself one corner and pay careful attention to how he or she behaves when no one knows you are around. There are pub musicians I know who consistently shine forth as lights in a warped and crooked generation (Phi 2:15), even at the pub itself. I'd be honoured to have those people with me on the worship team anytime!
I'll also watch for this person's hunger for the Word of God. Why? Because if his or her heart has departed from the LORD, he/she will lose the hunger for the Bible.
Jeremiah 2:15 - My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. (NIV)
And once the hunger for the Word of God is gone, the pollution of the world will come in very quickly. So does the musician in question skip church services? How is his/her personal time in the Word of God? I'd ask what was the latest insight he/she got from the Scriptures recently. If you see a panic-stricken expression on the face, that's a warning sign for you right there!
Conclusion: Every believer will have areas in life where they need help. A believer who is pub or rock band musician and who has any of the above problems is NOT a lesser person in Christ than we are. They just need help in those areas, just as we ourselves do in other parts of our lives. If a pub or rock band musician has problems with alcohol abuse and with being polluted by the world, then whether he/she is included on the worship team is a decision that is best made by the pastor in charge. Why? Because the LORD may use the musician's involvement in worship ministry to spur him/her to take God seriously. Because the ramifications are heavier than usual, it is best to leave this decision to God-appointed leadership who will pray and seek the mind of God on this situation.
Let me know what you think? :)
Good words, Junjie...
a related question for the worship leaders - who thinks playing in a bar/pub is wrong, but playing in a coffeehouse setting is okay?
Hide in a pub and watch their behavior? That's kind of weird. I'd feel violated if someone spied on me no matter how right their evaluation was.
As a brother or sister to them we also have a duty to support and help them. I too would find this weird, but then i would understand where they are and where they are coming from; also, maybe a little more about their heart too ( i.e. what they are striving for).
If they are mature Christians and can handle the activities with the Holy Spirit, then you also can be sure that they are reaching others through this means. Some people ( like the Salvation Army) go to these places and do not get drunk but are there to reach those who would not ever venture into a church.
We can't judge a book by it's cover nor by the place where they journey, only by the fruit and the words of their mouth. They're heart is judged by God ( as it should).
We need to be transparent in our activities and the people in the band need to be too - as non Christians are watching all the time for a slip up us.
I also wonder - what would people think if they saw you hiding in a pub?!