Playing drums in a church setting requires a certain mentality. We must always be aware of what’s going on around us, and be in tune Spiritually with God so that we can be effectively led by Him. As a musician on the worship team, you are in fact, a worship leader. It’s not just about playing the drums, it about ushering in the presence of God with the gifts He has given you. Being the drummer, a lot of the weight of the song rests on you. For example, keeping time, song dynamics, knowing when to play (and when not to play), et cetera. Although all other musicians have to be able to do these things effectively, the drummer must be the foundation that everyone else builds upon. In order to be effective at this, the drummer must be aware of what is going on around them, both musically and Spiritually. Here are four things I’ve learned during my years of playing drums in a worship team that have helped me greatly in my musical and spiritual development:
This may seem cliché, but I believe it needs to be the foundation of all things involved in ministry. As a part of a worship team, we must live a life of prayer and worship to God. Prayer is a direct line of communication with God, and it takes both speaking and listening to Him in order to receive what He has for us. This needs to become a part of your daily life. For a team, It also brings unity. When a team prays together, they draw closer not only to God, but also to each other.
As the musical authoritative figure during a rehearsal or service, it is important to have a visual on the worship leader and to frequently watch them as they play/lead the song. There may be certain “signals” or “looks” that mean it’s time to build or bring down the dynamics of a song, keep a song going, change the song, go to a verse, chorus or bridge… And if you aren’t paying attention, it could turn into a musical train wreck, especially for us drummers!
The ability to hear and listen is one of the greatest gifts God has given us, but there are times that we fail to do so, especially when playing music. One can be so focused on their own playing, that they miss out on what’s going on around them. This can happen if the drummer is not listening to the band as a whole. There can be a situation where the worship leader could say “Just the voices” while leading a song, and if you miss this because you aren’t listening, it has the potential to hinder a moment where the worship leader felt led to go into a more intimate time during the service. As a band or worship team, you have to listen to one another. This helps with team chemistry and is helps with flowing effectively during worship. If we don’t listen to each other, or pay attention to what goes on around us, not much will be going on around us. As bad as it sounds, it could even cause someone to miss out on God. We must listen so that we are not a distraction.
As believers, we are called to be servants of Christ. He has given us musical gifts and talents that we are able to use to uplift and glorify His name. Being His servant, we should make it a priority to reflect a life pleasing to God and not distort or cloud what He is all about. The same concept goes for playing drums. When you play a song it is important to “serve” the song and message it is giving. The music and lyrics should be able to be presented clearly and your playing should compliment what its doing and not clashing with it. It may mean not doing a fill when you really want to throw one in the mix, or it may mean not playing at all. After all, it’s not about us, its about Jesus!