Managing time in worship

Many worship leaders fail miserably in the management of their allotted time.

By Bob Burroughs

Recently, I’ve been thinking about time, specifically issues concerning “time” leadership in the church.

Time is the 21st century’s new currency. Think about it. People most often these day do not ask, “How much will this cost?” Instead they will ask, “How much time will this take?”

This is very true about music ministry. How much time will this meeting take from my schedule? How much time will be wasted in this meeting waiting to begin or going on too long? How much time will be spent listening to the leader pontificate his thoughts rather than actually dealing with the subjects at hand?

“Time” is a key word in today’s society. Everyone is involved with it, concerned about it, watching it and hoping it will move either faster or slower.

I’d like to deal with one circumstance where many people fail miserably in the use of time provided them. Say you attend a conference and note in the program that the worship team has been allotted 15 minutes to sing, play or lead in the worship experience. But to your dismay as the time unfolds, the soloist or team has taken 20-25 minutes. Been there? Got the T-shirt? Time infringement, wouldn’t you say?

Frustrating, isn’t it? If a service, event or situation is on a time schedule, and people have come expecting to be there 90 minutes, if the worship leaders, soloists or ensembles go beyond their allotted time, it throws off the entire schedule, and the time must be “made up” somewhere else.

This is inconsiderate and rude. When a person or group is asked to lead worship for a conference, Bible study retreat or worship service, the leaders do not want and didn’t ask for long-winded testimonies, background of each song or long Scripture passages. They asked for worship leadership – singing, playing and worshipping – within a certain time frame

At the risk of stepping on toes, just remember that time is very important in today’s culture. The soloist, worship team or rehearsal director does not have time to do anything more than what is asked of him or her: to have a good rehearsal, to sing your program within the given time, to lead worship in such a fashion that people will be blessed by the music and not by long moments of talking.

One more thing: people can sing well if they are seated as well as standing – and asking people to stand for 20-plus minutes is over the top.

OPINION: Views expressed in Baptist News Global columns and commentaries are solely those of the authors.