Normal band vs worship team: what’s different?

It turns out playing in a worship team is different to playing in a regular band.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with playing in a ‘normal’ band. I’d encourage you to do it. It’s just that the worship team has a different focus.

Success has a different meaning

Success for a ‘normal band’ is to entertain people, and build a following who love you for your music. If you can shift merchandise – like CDs/MP3s/T-Shirts/Gig tickets – so much the better. Articles about your greatness in ‘Guitar World’ are nice. Winning some awards for ‘Best Song’ would be truly marvelous.

Success for a worship team means helping people to worship. You’re providing a soundscape to help people express their feelings towards God. Sure, the way you will do this will entertain, if you do it right. At least in the sense that the music will be enjoyable. You might even sell CDs.

But the end goal is always one step beyond your own success..

You’re not the star

A great ‘normal band’ is made up of stars. Everyone knows their name. They know who the singer is, and who his latest celeb girlfirend is. They can tell you both the name of the guitarist, and which songs have his ‘best solos’ in. Success for a normal band draws attention to all this. For some bands, the people and their antics are more famous than their music.

A worship band is made up of talented, hard-working musicians who just ‘get out of the way’. They serve each other and the congregation to make it easy for people to worship. They’re not super-spiritual about it; they will play and perform to the best of their ability. They will be courteous to people who praise them: ‘Thank You! I enjoyed playing that, too’. But nice as the recognition is, it isn’t the main thing for them.

It’s less about your songs and your style

The stars of a normal band are all noted for their distinct musical style. This shapes the songs they will play, and the way the band plays them. The choice of set list is all about showcasing their best sounds, and providing maximum entertainment.

The worship band aims to produce textures that enhance the mood and atmosphere at any point in a worship service. The set list may well have a shape. It may attempt to guide worship a certain way. This may or may not pan out; either way, the worship team will be sensitive to what’s going on around them. In the worship team. the role is more like a session player than a rock star.


The sounds, techniques and instruments are all the same. In a worship band, the difference lies in what you are trying to achieve with the music.