I have been wanting to write this for a while. I have been reluctant because of the content, but I feel that there was enough time since I have since left the church that I can write this. If I offend you or make you upset, then you don't have to read this website anymore.
Ever since I was in Junior high school, I have always wanted to be a part of the worship team. I knew that I was able to perform at least the music part. I was playing piano everyday for my own pleasure. I was too nervous to ask to audition or join the JH worship team. I figured you had to be a grand master or have some educational background in music before anyone could play in the main service.
The more I saw people I knew play the piano during JH worship service, the more I wanted to be a part of it.
My mother always told me that I need to use my tallents for God's glory. Those words are what sparked the motivation to keep practicing piano so that I could one day join the worship team. It wasn't until I wrote and performed a song my junior year of high school, that people took notice of my talents.
I started getting asked to play piano for the JH worship service. I was super excited. Of course I accepted! I had waited a long time join the team. When I went home that day, I jumped up and down in my room. I even started dancing a little.
The first practice I arrived too early. At least 30 minutes early. I was afraid of arriving late and causing problems. Even though I lived 10 minutes away. Come to find out practice was very relaxed and easy. I played my best, could hear nothing over the noise, made several mistakes, and had a great time. It was nothing like I expected. I didn't care, my dreams were coming true.
I started to play for JH more regularly, and after the next Fine Arts, I started playing for the youth service. I still had not sung a solo song, but it didn't bother me. I was there to play the piano and engage the students in worship.
My ulitimate dream was to be a part of the main service worship team. But I never voiced that to anyone. I was just happy where I was. Besides, I did not think I was capable of matching their "expert" musicalness.
One weekend, we went on a trip to visit NAU. At the time I was concidering a music/piano degree, and NAU seemed like the perfect fit. We were taking the trip to see the school, and talk about the program. On the drive to Flagstaff, the worship pastor called me, and said they were in desparate need of a keyboard player and practice was in the next hour. I was thrilled! That feeling was extremely short lived as I would not be able to participate. I hung up the phone, then told my mom and friend what had just happened and cried. I confessed that I had always dreamed of being up on stage, playing worship music for everyone to hear, now I was unable to do that. I did not know when the next opportunity would be, if there would ever be one. The dissapointment lasted the entire trip. It was hard to concentrate on anything else.
We returned home that Saturday evening. I had cried some more in my room, but eventually told myself I was being ridiculous and just went to sleep. The next day, I went to the earliest service because I was not feeling well and wanted to return home. I get there and start walking towards my usual spot, when the pastor ran towards me and grabbed me. He pulls me backstage to the choir room and tells me to keep playing the keyboard until he says to stop. I tried to make myself presentable quickly, and got situated behind the keyboard and did the best I could. It all happened so fast that I did not have time to realize what was happening. The service went by so quickly, everyone on the team told me how happy their were that I was able to play and what a great job I did.
The next service following the early one had baptisms. So that meant I had to keep playing by myself during the baptisms. People were giving me thumbs up on stage for my performance. After the service was over I went home and then everything hit me of what just happened. My mom saw me on stage during the second service and told me how proud she was and also surprised. I told her the whole story of how I got up there. I was embarrassed, but happy all at once.
I didn't play for the main service until a couple years later. I continued to be a regular in JH and during the Youth. I had developed such a strong relationship with my "trusty band mates" that there were times we knew what each other wanted and what they were going to play, without having to talk about it.
It wasn't until after I had played for worship service during camp that I realized how much I loved playing on the worship team. I loved how the music made me feel, I would often dance while playing on stage. Some people thought it funny because I would be the only one bouncing around. During camp, my heart exploaded with joy for playing for the Lord. I never wanted it to stop. I loved playing with the band, and I loved how it didn't matter if we messed up or not, or didn't play the correct part. All the mattered was God, and glorifying him. I never wanted to stop playing music.
After camp, I started becoming a regular on the main worship team. I consitantly played keyboard, organ, synth, and whatever else the pastor had for me to play for the service. Sometimes I would be playing 3 instruments at once. I got good at multitasking when it comes to music. I called my space, "the box." I sang sometimes, but it wasn't a big deal for me. I wanted to just play. I never wanted it to end. I wished I could play more often. I would "steal" music after services to play them at home. I loved playing worship songs and performing them. It was a dream come true for me.
But then they kicked me off of the Junior high team. I wouldn't have minded had they just told me they wanted others to have opportunites to play, but they were just rude to me about it. One person even said that I was not needed anymore and should just quit playing altogether. This hurt me deeply, but I worked passed it, and did my best to not let it bother me. Then they kicked me out of youth service. They didn't say any hurtful things to me anymore, they just stopped scheduling me in. I asked to come play at least once in a while, but I guess the pastor just did not care. He would frequently tell me how much he missed me too, and so did the students, but I was treated like I wasn't welcome to youth service anymore. The youth worship started to become all about show and nothing about worship. I stopped participating in youth events altogether. This bothered me for a long while. I even privately talked to the pastor about it, but he denied everything and never changed anything.
I was happy I still had the main service. I liked the main service. I enjoyed playing and it was all about worship, and not about performance. Some people would complain about not being able to sing things right, or hear certain people, or they heard certain people too much, or someone used their head phones, but the pastor was always able to talk to us and remind us that it's not about us, it's about God. We don't play for comfort, we play to glorify God.
The church started to grow, and they "upgraded" their facilities. Which is fine, there is nothing wrong with that, but the worship teams were affected in a negative way. Christmas eve and easter services started to become more about the show, and less about the message. The people started to care more about performances than letting the Holy Spirit guide the services. If you messed up one too many times, you were replaced by another more capable artist. People started complimenting the individual for their talents and abilities and said nothing about God being present. In fact, God was mentioned less and less. The only time God was acknowledged was during prayer or in the song. There were even times when I would cry during worship service because God was removed completely from the worship service, and everything I loved about playing for worship service was destroyed.
The church was moving in a backwards direction and nothing was about growing in the Lord anymore. It was about putting on a show to please the world. I mourned every weekend. I started to reduce the amount of times I went to that church altogether. It took me about 6 months to admit I wanted to leave and another 3 months to make it final. I have since stepped back from playing worship music so I could take the time to focus on God again.
A few months ago, I was asked to play for a worship service at a very small church. I agreed only because it was a small church and I knew the people who asked. It felt just like it did when I first joined worship band. I was moved by the genuine love for singing praises to God. Some of the people did not play well or sing particularly lovely, but God doesn't care. They were using their abilities to praise the Lord. I was questioning whether leaving the worship team was the right choice, and after playing for that church, I knew it was.
I still play and sing by myself, but no longer on a team. At this point, I might be leaving the country for good so joining a team would not be worth it.
Now you know why I left worship band, and half of why I left the church. If you are offended, I do appologize.