I am an experienced worship leader and choir director. My husband relocated to a new state and joined a church that does not allow female worship "leaders". So, I sing background vocals and occasionally lead a song. We LOVE the church and the teaching but I am so hungry to be used more in worship. I really don't have a relationship with the team. We practice, then worship. The men worship leaders do not mentor women. And the women in charge are really singers with an admin role. We've had a few "stage training" sessions on how to clap, how to have eye contact, what to wear, how much makeup to wear. But nothing spiritual. No team worship time. I am used to having deep worship time with my team members and strong spiritual friendships. I have none of that on this team and it really hurts. I know they value me for what I contribute, but at the same time, I'm spiritually being really STUNTED in this ministry. How do I know when it's time to step down? Am I being selfish?
Do you feel you're being stunted because they don't allow female worship leaders, or because you don't have relationships with the team? It's not uncommon for churches to consider it unbiblical for women to be in certain leadership roles and in this case they obviously feel that a worship leader is one of those roles. If that's the main issue that's bothering you, there are only two options - get comfortable with the idea or talk between you and your husband about trying to go to a different church. And by getting comfortable, I mean that there are plenty of opportunities to get plugged in and fellowship that don't involve being a worship leader.
I'm plugged into several different areas and good friends in those areas. I'm saying that in the ministry that I serve in is painful to serve in due to the sheer lack of "relationship."
I'm not a worship leader for the fellowship. :) I'm a worship leader because it's what God has called me to. It's my GIFTING. There is a difference between being "talented" and "gifted". Talent means you're skilled. "Gifted" means you can usher in the presence of God through your talent....like David and I don't believe there is a gender requirement for being "Gifted".
I have been serving obediently for a long time but now I really feel God is hardening my heart toward this team. I'm not sure if it's because he wants me to lead elsewhere or just wants me to step down all together. I am continuing to pray for direction and will wait for God to confirm. It's just painful.:)
Again, you're still facing the options I mentioned. But the one thing you can't do is become frustrated and hardened, that's not God's will. If I had to talk about priority here, number one is avoiding negative attitudes, two is being happy with your ministry situation.
It comes down this:
1) You believe you're called by God to minister through musical worship.Therefore, you believe that God does call and establish women in this way. I would say that God raises people up to do this, but you only know this because you see them doing it. And since it's not an official office with restrictions of any kind (IE, elders), why not women? I certainly wouldn't kick Darlene Zschech off my platform!
2) This particular church doesn't feel that women should be worship leaders. Therefore, they don't believe God calls and establishes women in this way. I don't agree with this either, but it's what it is for you right now and it's up to you and your husband to decide to stay or go. If you decide stay, you have to find peace about it.
I'd agree with Stevo that you don't seem to have addressed the 2 separate issues he identified.
There's a couple of things I'd like to add.
Leadership in all its forms is more than just a gifting, though people sometimes like to see it as something they possess (not suggesting this is you BTW). We do not hold a right to lead, no matter our level of ability and what we feel we may be called to do. Leading in any area requires a recognition from the existing church leadership that one is called to lead. But more than that, it also requires that people follow: otherwise we become drivers, trying to push people in the right direction.
It doesn't sound like leading worship in a formal way is going to happen for you in this church very soon.
The other area you touch on is worshiping and developing in fellowship together. It seems that you connect with people through worshiping with them in a more open and less formal situation, when you're not having to lead a congregation and watch your musical 'Ps and Qs'. Would there be an opportunity to speak with the guys leading the worship team to see if they could build in times of open worship for the team instead of just a big formal practice? It may be that they feel there is a constant need to produce a high level performance, and that is why they want to devote the time to rehearsal.
A question you need to ask yourselves is whether you have been call to this church. Not "I love the teaching " or "this is the most amazing band" etc etc, but do you know God has called you to be there? If so, hang on in there, because as you lay down your gifting and ministry then God can, in the fulness of time, bring you into the ministry He called you there to fulfill. If it's just "a great church where I happen to go" then you need to find where He HAS called you.
Some here will know I've had my struggles in this area too. God is faithful, but letting our gifting and fruitfulness go is really painful sometimes, even when you KNOW God has called you to work somewhere.
Not sure how to answer Stevo's comments.
1. Yes, I believe woman can lead worship.
2. Yes....we have a decision to make. But it as easy as "Leave" or "Stay".
We definitely have been called to this church and we are serving. I agree that leading is more than just a gifting. I believe it is not our "right" but and we are elected to lead. I am comfortable with the fact that I will not lead at my church.
I have asked if we could have a time together to just worship as a team. The response I got from our female leader was, "I don't need that? That wouldn't do anything for me. Just because YOU need that doesn't mean everyone else on the team does." Not quite sure if the worship pastors, who are men whom I don't speak to, hold her same beliefs.
My desire for deeper worship with the team I serve on is not going to happen. Am I being disobedient by stepping out of that ministry?
I don't think this could be classified as disobedience. As long as you find ministry and give of your time and self, you're obeying the clear commands in scripture. It doesn't have to involve your gifts and talents, but most of us prefer it that way.
I can also relate that in my own worship team, no one has time to worship together. That may sound strange since we're a worship team, but we barely have time on Sunday morning to rehearse. We're all busy professionals who work 50-60 hours per week and Sunday is our day to work for the Lord. If we had any time, it would be for rehearsing our new material.
That's not to say that it's not a good goal. Some of the most edifying group experiences I've seen are when worship teams operate like a small group.
That sounds like a pants situation then - sorry Lyssa.
I've been through 3 1/2 years of struggle with a church worship team, having previously headed up the worship team for about 10 years before being called to a new church, then finding myself un-wanted, at odds and isolated for a variety of reasons (some my fault). That only changed in January this year.
I am so sorry to hear that this is your situation. I am saddened that many churches still take this stand on women in leadership. It is a travesty. I pray and hope that some kind of resolution or answer to your problem will take place.
Continue to pour your heart out to God and express you thoughts and concerns to your leadership whilst trying to respect and honour their leadership at this time.
If this becomes impossible I agree with Stevo that it may be time to move on.
I have to admit Lyssa, I would be tearing my hair out as I simply couldn't stand the frustration of it. You are most definitely not being selfish, it's just that you have a great deal more to give than the church you are in is allowing you to give. Like Stevo says, there are churches that have the men in the leadership roles, perhaps it is one of those churches? The fact that you are taught how to clap etc. but are not taught anything spiritual would also make me feel stunted.
For what it's worth I understand your situation and in my case I had to walk away, which was the right thing for me. You are doing the right thing by praying about it and God will most surely give you your answer.
Thank you Lorraine for your encouragement. I AM tearing my hair out. :) I can respect the church's view on women leaders. My hunger to be more involved in worship is not THEIR problem, it is my personal struggle. My primary issue is the lack of spiritual growth opportunities on the team.
That sounds like a church I would struggle with. Even aside from the "women in leadership" issue, the idea of teaching stage performance and setting down rules on how to adorn yourself but failing to push into anything spiritually uplifting seems off. I'm guessing the church leaders make a big thing of passages like 1 Timothy 2:8-15 but I wonder if they are reading it for all it is worth? Unless the dress code lessons are about being very modest in your apparel, they might be skipping over one of the central bits of teaching there, while there are some strong arguments to be made about the role of context (Ephesus, where Timothy was based, was the centre of worship for Diana / Artemis, which greatly distorted the role of women in religion in the opposite direction).
Ah, if only Priscilla and Aquilla could be sent to sort things out (it is interesting how, in the context of ministry, Priscilla always gets mentioned first, suggesting she was the dominant partner; certainly a lady who Paul held in high respect)!
It sounds like you are not discontented with everything about the church. With your husband, I think you need to be asking yourself if you really feel that it is where God has called you to be at home at the moment. If so, then the further question is whether you should submit to the direction taken by the leadership (certainly a call to some of the New Testament congregations but sadly often abused by people who should teach to a higher standard) or be an agent for change (and how to do that without being merely a troublemaker). If you aren't so sure, then it might be worth prayerfully visiting one or two other churches, especially any that you drive past on your way to your present place.
Above all, remember that church is just about a place you go to be entertained and "psychologically validated" each week; it should be the community in which you gather to seek God and work together to reveal his kingdom to others.
Awesome advice. Thank you. My husband and I love the church. The teaching is fabulous. I really am undecided on the "women in leadership" debate. I believe I am a leader by God's design. But, I do respect any church's decision on that issue. However, when it comes to worship, I'm thinking I might be able to just lead worship at a small church somewhere that needs me, but still attend my home church. I love the music and love the teaching and my family is planted there. I'm really feeling called to just get a small team together to worship on a street corner somewhere in the city :)