Managing Worship, People and Becoming the Leader God Wants You To Be!

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					1Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                             Ps. Darin Browne

                    Worship Leading
       Terrorists and Mutineers!
 Managing Worship, People and Becoming
          the Leader God Wants You To Be!

                               By Ps. Darin Browne
                             ©, 2010

                    ©   All Rights Reserved
2Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                             Ps. Darin Browne


                                             Leadership is a key part of church life, for
                                             without strong and godly leaders the
                                             church would flounder and achieve little for
                                             the King. What many do not realise is that
                                             being the leader of a worship team
                                             requires leadership skills like any other
                                             area of church function, yet of all the areas
                                             of service this is often the one most
                                             neglected by the Pastor in regards to
                                             support and training of the leader.

                                             When you take on the office of worship
                                             leader or worship director, you are
 entering into a realm of leadership which means that you need to modify your
 behaviour and attitudes. Being a worship leader is completely different to being part
 of the band or singers, and it goes far beyond simply leading worship for a service.
 You need to bear responsibility for what goes on, for the success or failure of the
 worship team and, most importantly, you need to learn how to manage the
 personalities around you! As H Ross Perot once quipped, “Inventories can be
 managed, but people must be led.”

 Let’s be absolutely clear about this: musicians and singers can be among the most
 difficult, self centred and arrogant people to manage. I can say this because I am
 one, and I know the struggles I have been through to keep my heart humble and
 responsive to the Lord. Multiply this by the number of people in your worship squad,
 and you can have a whole lot of heartache for the leader!

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3Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

 This is where the right training is needed for worship leaders and music directors to
 enable them to encourage, discipline, direct and grow the personalities the Lord has
 placed in their team. There are few books available specific to this area, and that
 has given rise to this book, especially designed to spell out in details exactly how you
 should react in the many situations you will face as a music director.

 The difficulty in the leadership role is underlined by the numbers of emails I regularly
 receive from Worship Leaders who are facing mutiny in the ranks, most of whom
 have little clue as to how to deal with it in a godly manner! In fact, as I write these
 words I am seated in Munich airport watching the snow outside, far from my native
 Australian summer. Yet even here, with a different language and culture, guess
 what… they have exactly the same problems as anywhere else!

 Even as an experienced worship leader and international Christian musician and
 singer, I face exactly the same situations many of you face right now! I recently
 started a new worship directing role in a new church and had to go through a mutiny
 in the ranks in the first 3 weeks! If this has happened or is happening to you,
 remember that you are by no means alone and that is happens to all of us at some
 point. In any situation of leadership, you are not responsible for the attacks the
 mutineers have against you, but you are responsible for the way you react!

 So if you are struggling to become a true leader in your worship team, don’t despair
 but be encouraged. It may be painful for a time, but in the end it will produce a
 valuable harvest both in your worship team and in your own life (Gal 6:9)

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4Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                                    Ps. Darin Browne

                            1. What Is Leadership?

 This is a basic question which is often clouded when it comes to the area of worship
 leading and music team leading. This is because often in churches the best singer,
 or most talented musician is appointed to be worship director. This is frequently the
 worst choice that can be made, because heading up the worship in a church is more
 about leadership than it is about musical talent!

 When you become a Worship Director, suddenly you are no longer “one of the boys”
 but have to begin to think on a different level to your peers. If you are a singer or
 musician, it is easy to criticise the leader for the decision they make which does not
 seem to work well. For example, if they choose a song which bombs badly, you can
 sit back and say to yourself (or others near you), “What a stupid decision! That was
 never going to work! He really messed that up! This person does not deserve to be
 the leader!”

                                             I am like this with football. I sit in my cosy chair
                                             watching the TV and when players miss a goal or
                                             a pass, I throw my hands in the air in disgust.
                                             “That was an easy chance you missed!” just
                                             seems to roll off the tongue. I am not on the
                                             field. I have no pressure on me. I just criticise
                                             from my armchair, and it is easy.

 Put me on the field, with the opposition player bearing down on me and 50,000
 people cheering, and give me a split second to make a decision and shoot for goal,
 and I am sure it would be a lot harder. It’s easy to sit on the bench and criticise, but
 when you are the leader, you are in the game, with all of its pressures and rewards!

 So what exactly is leadership, and what does it mean to be a leader?

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5Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                               Ps. Darin Browne

 Many people have different ideas as to what leadership is all about. While it is many
 things (and this subject is so complicated my dear friend Bill Newman did a doctorate
 in it) I believe that the best example to look to is Jesus Christ (Mark 10:45).

 Leadership is serving, and Christ is the best example of this. True leadership is
 giving, not taking, and encouraging the best from your team. True leadership is
 bearing responsibility for the result, whether good or bad (as President Roosevelt
 said, “The buck stops HERE!”). True leadership is managing your people, with all
 their quirks, hang ups and difficulties, and doing it all in an attitude of love.

 Servant leadership is what Christ teaches. Yet in the world, and unfortunately in the
 church also, we see many examples of poor leadership, abuse of authority and pride
 on behalf of leaders, lording over their people rather than serving them (Mark 10:42-

 As Dwight Eisenhower once said, “You do not lead by hitting people over the head -
 that's assault, not leadership.”

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6Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                             Ps. Darin Browne

    2. Decision Making In Leadership: The Good, The
                                 Bad and the Ugly!

 If you are a Worship Team Leader, there are many things you need to learn to do.
 There are also many things you must learn not to do and possibly the worst thing
 you can do is to consistently fail to make decisions. If you want to be a true leader,
 you have to make decisions, and you also have to take responsibility for the decision
 you have made, regardless of the result.

 So let’s talk first about the results and how you must deal with them if you are to be a
 great worship leader. Here’s the bad news: If things go well you must share the
 success with the entire team, but if it goes badly, you must bear the responsibility

                                                       This is a clear sign of great
                                                       leadership. If things go well,
                                                       praise your fellow team
                                                       members, and credit them with
                                                       the success. I do this frequently,
                                                       often saying to my team things
                                                       like, “Your harmonies were
                                                       fantastic this morning” or, “Your
                                                       piano playing was the glue that
                                                       held the worship together this
                                                       morning.” I know that, as the
                                                       main instrument (guitar) and the
 leading vocal, as well as the song selector and arranger of the instrumentation, I
 could bask in the glory of a successful worship session, but I choose not to do this.

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7Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                             Ps. Darin Browne

 It is far better to build your team members, encouraging and speaking positive words
 to them.

 On the other hand, if things do not work well, you have to be brave! I have had very
 few occasions which have gone poorly, and the few I have experienced have usually
 bee the result of someone else in the band or singers. Nevertheless, I personally
 take responsibility for the performance, and will speak to the pastor or preacher and
 apologise to them personally.

 So that is the good and the bad, but what about the ugly? The ugly is when you fail
 to make any decision at all, and it can get very ugly indeed.

 As a worship leader, you face many decisions, and the worst thing you can do is to
 fail to make any decision at all, or to be perceived as a leader that the team can
 easily twist to their own ends because you are cowardly and spineless.

 For example, deciding which songs you are singing on a given Sunday, the
 arrangement of the songs and who is playing in the team. I would strongly suggest
 that you pre-choose the songs, don’t arrive and ask the band to pick them for you.
 Leaders need to lead, and they need to be seen as leading also, so when it comes to
 song selection, pray hard and seek the Lord, seek the advice of the Pastor and
 decide on the songs.

 If I have programmed a song that the team groan about and voice their disapproval
 of, them I will always listen to them. Most often I will say to them, “I know you don’t
 like this song, but I have a reason for this selection. My song selection is not about
 finding songs that you like, it is about leader the people into worship.”

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8Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                             Ps. Darin Browne

 When you make a decision, be open to suggestions but decisive in your decision
 making, being sure you take responsibility for them. I try to avoid making a decision
 then changing them again and again, however I always try and listen to the opinions
 of my band and singers. I promised them that I will always listen to their opinion, but
 I do not promise to obey! However, if you gain the trust of your band and singers,
 you will find that they will offer very useful and valid alternative which you may not
 have considered. If this happens, praise them for their input and make the change…
 once! Don’t vacillate back and forth, just make the decision and move on. Then
 they will see that you are an open leader, but also a strong one.

 Remember that, every now and then you will be wrong. If I am wrong I will own up to
 it quickly and take responsibility for the mistake. No one is perfect and your team
 does not expect you to be perfect, so both they and you know that you will make
 mistakes and sometimes have to change a decision. Remember that the buck stops
 with you if you are the leader, so make your decision and stick to it, and if you are
 wrong apologise and move on!

 I have read that, on the evening of the 6 of June, 1944, General Eisenhower,
 commander in chief of the invading Allied forces, quietly retired and wrote a note for
 a speech he prayed he would never deliver, saying he bore full responsibility for the
 failure of the invasion. He had made the decision of when to go, despite poor
 weather, and had been roundly criticised by many. Yet he made the decision,
 prepared for both the best and worst result, and he stood tall as an exceptional
 leader in a pivotal moment in history!

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9Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                                 Ps. Darin Browne

  3. How to Handle Criticism: Taking It and Dishing It

 When you make a decision as a leader there will always be criticism. Everyone has
 an opinion, and most will not agree with yours, so get ready because as sure as
 night follows day you will face criticism. You cannot stop it, and you cannot control it,
 but you can control how you respond to it.

  The truth is: No One Likes to Be Criticised! I certainly do not get up in the morning
 and say, “Wow, I hope someone criticises me today!” None of us like to be criticised,
 but the fact is that if you are a leader criticism will come as surely as the sun will rise
                                         in the morning.

 How to Criticise the Godly Way

 There will be times when you as a leader will have to criticise or rebuke a team
 member. There will be times when they let you down, do the wrong thing or have a
 stinking attitude towards yourself or another member of the team.

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10Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

  When this happens (not if but when it happens) a good leader will show all the
  hallmarks illustrated by the apostle Paul. I believe that he offers a godly example of
  how to rebuke and criticise.

  1. Pray First

  Whenever you face the prospect of having to rebuke someone it is vitally important
  that you take the time to pray, discovering the mind and the Spirit of Christ on the
  issues rather than firing off on your own tangent and opinions.

  So before you even think about rebuking someone, please take a small “time out” to
  clear your mind and seek the mind of Christ. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger
  the issues the longer you need to take in prayer preparing to deliver the message to
  your team member.

  2. Criticise in Private

  In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus lays out a concise and clear hierarchy of steps you
  should follow when rebuking and criticising a brother. The thing to really take from
  this passage is to start with a one on one rebuke. DO NOT start by saying anything
  publically because you will quickly attack the character of your target and create a
  climate of fear and embarrassment within your team. This is a tool often used by
  cults to control their members, so you totally do not want to go there, right?

  Start privately, and only escalate to public rebuke when the person refuses any form
  of correction. In the majority of cases, a private rebuke works well and, as the
  passage says, wins them over. You gain trust and also compliance, and this is what
  great leaders do well.

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11Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                               Ps. Darin Browne

  3. Start with a Positive

  Paul’s model of rebuking always starts with a positive, and this is a great example to
  follow. In 1 Corinthians, for example, with some pretty heavy issues to confront the
  church with (such as division, lack of love, misuse of spiritual gifts, etc.), he starts a
  positive (1 Corinthians 1:4-9), commending them for their spiritual gifts and
  eagerness. In Ephesians he starts with words of comfort about predestination and
  thanksgiving (Ephesians 1:3-16) and in Philippians and Colossians he likewise
  thanks God for the church before he begins to teach and rebuke.

  So when I need to bring correction, even on a minor thing such as a note poorly
  played or sung, I make it my practice to always start with a positive. For example, I
  would say something like, “You are playing so well and I love the rhythm you are
  playing here, but you really need to watch the timing at the start of the chorus
  because it is not quite right.”

  So, that’s the easy one, offering criticism to your team members. Now comes the
  hard bit, when you have to figure out how to receive criticism (because most often
  they will not follow the above guidelines when criticising you!)

  So, given that this is a phenomenon we will all face at some time, here are a few

  1. Listen to It:

  The absolute worst thing you can do is to dismiss the criticism out of hand. This may
  protect you in the sense that you do not have to hear it (a bit like putting your head in
  the sand to “avoid” danger), but it will infuriate your criticiser and build real
  resentment in the group.

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12Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                               Ps. Darin Browne

  Being perceived as a leader who will not listen is a sure way to explode your group
  and create enemies, no matter how talented you are. How do you like to be ignored
  and not listened to? Well, do not put others through the same experience!

  So, you need to listen to the criticism, and make sure your audience knows you are
  listening. Look them in the eyes as they speak, and continue to repeat their points
  back to them so that they know you are actually listening. So, rather than looking
  away or checking your watch every few minutes, look them in the eye and, after
  each point, repeat the point back to them in your own words, and ask them a
  question. For example you might say, “So, what you are saying is that my choice of
  second song was not right this morning, is that correct?”

  Repeating the point back to them makes sure that you have it, and asking them if
  this is what they are saying clarifies their point, and makes sure that they know you
  are actually listening. This is a simple formula, but it will serve you well in all aspects
  of leadership in life.

  It should also be noted that you need to scale down the rhetoric when you are
  repeating the information back to the person. So it is better to say something like,
  “What you are trying to say is…,” or, “Your suggestion is…” rather than, “So what you
  are accusing me of is…” or, “What you are attacking me for is…” In many cases the
  criticism is worth hearing and may even be valid, and frequently it is offered in a
  gentle and conciliatory way, so please do not inflame the situation but using
  aggressive words. Listen, repeat back and be cool!

  So listen to your accuser and make sure you understand their grievance, then think
  long and hard about how you will reply, especially if the grievance is without
  foundation in your opinion. If I feel the criticism is not valid, I will simply and calmly
  say, “Thank you for sharing this with me. I hear what you are saying but I do not
  agree with you.” In this way I have validated their feelings (they cannot say that I
  have ignored them), but still am able to say that I do not agree and my decision

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13Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

  Often there will be several points of criticism brought up, and this gives you, as the
  one receiving them, a unique opportunity to win the hearts of your team. If you do
  not agree with the points, why not concede a smaller point while rejecting the more
  important ones?

  Let’s say for example your critic says, “Your choice of songs was awful, especially
  the opening song, and you failed to read the audience the entire session. You chose
  our worst bass player, and when the Spirit lead the worship towards the end you
  pulled back too quickly and lost the flow of the Spirit, ruining the atmosphere.” Now
  these are pretty heavy accusations, basically claiming that you are an incompetent
  worship leader in song selection, team selection, reading the audience and following
  the Spirit. How would you answer this type of criticism?

  I would say something like, “You know, you are right in some ways. My song
  selection for the opening song was not the best, so thank you for pointing this out to
  me. However, I stand by my selection of the bass player, and I also feel that my
  decisions with regards the flow of the service were valid, because the Pastor asked
  me to control the time this morning due to a packed program.”

  In this case I conceded a small point but stood my ground on the others. This is a
  great way to manage the problem, because the criticiser feels validated on at least
  one point, knowing you have listened, and if the team hears about this (and they will,
  usually from the critic) then you have won their hearts as a leader.

  2. Recognise Constructive Criticism vs. Character Assassination

  This is an absolutely crucial point: Is the critic attacking you, or are they attacking the

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14Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                               Ps. Darin Browne

  I believe that there is never, never, NEVER an occasion where you can attack
  another person in the Body of Christ and character assassinate them. If you are a
  leader you should never attempt to single out a person and embarrass them or
  destroy them in front of their peers, but when others criticise you they often do not
  offer the same treatment in return.

  Criticism goes from being constructive to character assassination very quickly and
  easily, but if you are not sure of the difference, let me enlighten you. If the issue is
  the central object of the discussion, this can be constructive. If you are the target,
  this is character assassination. Here are some examples:

  “Going up a key at that point in the third song did not work at all.” verses

  “Going up a key then was just stupid, especially coming from someone like you.”

  “I feel the drums and bass failed to really gel this morning,” verses

  “Only an incompetent idiot would put those two together on drums and bass.”

  “I feel that the open worship could gone for longer as people were enjoying it,” or

  “When you chose to stop worship was the worst time. Clearly you can’t hear God!”

  How do you react to character attacks? With grace, my dear leader, with much
  grace. What ever you do, do not attack them back for this will almost always
  escalate the problem and cause major riffs in your team. So how do you actually
  answer such aggressive and horrible accusations levelled at you and your ministry?

  I would say, “I hear what you are saying and recognise that this is your opinion, but I
  do not agree.” Simple, concise and clear. You may even say something like, “You

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15Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

  may not think that I am hearing God, but I disagree. When you are leading there are
  many factors to think about, and you are only aware of a few. However, with your
  permission, I will take these concerns to the Pastor and seek his advice on the

  These replies are far better than meeting the criticism with something like, “Oh, and I
  suppose you could do better!” or “someone like you does has no idea of what they
  are talking about.” Believe me, you may feel like saying, “And why should I listen to
  a moron like you?” but I would counsel heavily against this. You need to speak
  words of love, even in the face of persecution from a brother, so learn to be gracious
  in your replies and you will go a long way towards Godly and honourable leadership.

  3. Offer a short answer to the criticism, not a debate

  When you are criticised, it is wise to not enter into a debate with your accuser. I
  always find short answers are far better and save a lot of time and potential
  inflammation. Start debating and you will feel the tension rise, the sound level
  increase and anger rise.

  Recognise that these people who come against you want a debate. They want to
  spend long hours stating their case, offering evidence and witnesses, like in a court
  of law. I will spend time looking at this area later, but for now my advice is to listen
  well, but keep your answers short.

  4. Fall Back Position: The Pastor

  In battle, a wise General will have a fall back position. This is an area behind the
  lines where, if everything goes wrong and the army is in retreat, there is a position
  they can stop, regroup and stand without being overwhelmed by the opposition.

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16Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                               Ps. Darin Browne

  Criticism is often directed at you as the worship leader, and one of the easiest ways
  to neutralise it is to deflect it to the Pastor. Their opinion is worth far more that the
  opinion of a band member or singer, because as your leader the buck stops with him
  or her. You are responsible to them, and they are responsible to the people and the

  This is important advice: stay close to your Pastor. I meet with my senior Pastor
  nearly every week, just for coffee and to discuss the issues of the day. So, if I stay
  close to him, I am able to say to my critics, “the decision to do this or that was made
  with the Pastor and under his leadership, so if you have a problem it is not with me
  but with him.”

  By staying close to the Pastor you have the ideal fall back position, and in many
  cases your accuser will not take their criticism to the pastor. If they do, then you
  have the opportunity of frank and honest debate, not with the critic but with the
  Pastor. This will help you even more to improve your ability to serve him, lead more
  in the way he wants and endear yourself to him even more. If your Pastor sees you
  as someone who is teachable, ready to learn and eager to serve then this will
  definitely work in your favour and cement your relationship with the Pastor, and
  secure your tenure as worship director.

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17Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                                Ps. Darin Browne

   4. How to Deal with the Worship Team Terrorist (the
                          “Al Chord-a” Sleeper Cell)

                                     In a Worship Team situation disagreements and
                                     difficulties are often not dealt with out in the open.
                                     Instead, supposedly in the name of Christian
                                     submission, you will face what I call the Worship Team
                                     Terrorist. I liken this to Alchaida, where the team
                                     member is like a “sleeper” infiltrating and causing
                                     problems, in much the same way as a terrorist or
                                     resistance worker might look like a good citizen on the
                                     surface, but underneath be working to bring about the
                                     destruction of the ruling regime.

  Now I am not suggesting that these guys are actually terrorists, ready to blow up
  your amplifiers or crash their guitar into your drum kit, but you would be surprised
  just how often this situation presents itself! Even in established and very successful
  music teams, this sort of behaviour happens a lot, so you need to be quick to
  recognise it and also ready to deal with it in a Godly fashion.

  In fact, as I write these words I am seated in Munich airport watching the snow
  outside, far from my native Australian summer. Yet even here, with a different
  language and culture, guess what… they have exactly the same problems as
  anywhere else!

  Let me make it absolutely clear that I am not referring to someone with whom you as
  the leader have a difference of opinion. This is common enough, but this does not
  constitute musical terrorism. If you have strong personalities in the team you are

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18Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

  bound to get differences at some time or other and true leadership deals with these
  prayerfully and sensitively.

  To qualify for terrorism, the person needs to exhibit ongoing, frequent and highly
  critical slander against you, the team or the pastor, and this is always behind your
  back. If they bring it to you it is hardly terrorism because it is criticism you can deal
  with directly. No, the subversive world of the worship team terrorist is awash with
  secret meetings between members, clandestine emails and phone calls and all
  manner of lies and deception to cover their tracks until they can turn others against

  So how does this terrorism start? Most often it occurs with well meaning Christians
  on your team who have no intention of becoming subversive at all. They dislike
  something you do, or say, or a decision you make, and they start to talk with their
  friends, frequently under the guise of, “please pray with me about this.”

  The situation escalates when they find a listening ear who agrees with them (if
  everyone they talk to disagrees, the whole thing basically dies right there!). Then
  they find another, and pretty soon they have a small network of aggrieved people
  with whom they can discuss their opinions of you. This gives rise to emails, phone
  calls and clandestine meetings in coffee shops, where all the conversation is about
  you and your inadequacies. To reach dangerous levels it requires 3 things:

  1. Giving Them Reasons to Criticise

  One mistake does not a terrorist make, so generally you need a string of grievances
  to create a volatile situation. These can vary from the way you look, your
  mannerisms, the way you dress, the style of singing, playing or leading right through
  to major doctrinal differences. In most cases these people have tried to talk to
  you/criticise you and do not feel that you have heard them at all. They think that,

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19Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                                Ps. Darin Browne

  having tried to talk to you with no result, this validated the use of terrorist tactics to
  achieve their end.

  2. Failing to Recognise the Problem.

  These situations take time to build up, so the terrorists conduct their business in
  secret. If they can keep it from you it can explode at any time, so if signs are there
  or information is available, you need to heed it!

  There are really only 2 ways you can discover the plot. The first is that you notice
  unusual behaviour, speech or emails, and the second is that one of the conspirators
  spills the beans and reveals the truth about what is being discussed behind your
  back. If you get wind of a situation like this you need to respond appropriately.

  3. Failing to Respond the Right Way

  Once the terrorism is revealed the best thing to do is to go straight to the main
  people involved and talk to them. You must do this gently and respectfully, defusing
  rather than exploding the bomb. Have a coffee, and if they have any valid grounds
  for complaint respond as per the criticism model I have suggested above. Make
  sure they feel listened to, but this does not mean you have to obey them. Whether
  the situation is resolved peacefully or not will most often depend upon your attitude,
  not the issue. If you don’t want fireworks, treat them with firm respect and genuine

  If you do not deal with the terrorist cell early enough, this will give rise to the full
  blown mutiny (which I will deal with in the next section) and then you really need
  every ounce of leadership you can muster to save the team and the worship in the

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20Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

                            Mutiny on the Bountiful!
  Mutiny can arise at any time in the Worship Ministry and for many reasons. From
  personality clashes through to complete differences in opinion on where the worship
  is heading, over the last 20 years I have seen many mutinies played out and, if
  handled incorrectly, it can completely destroy your ministry and even in extreme
  cases, the entire church!

  That’s why the devil loves to target the music and worship teams: he knows that they
  are volatile, full of prideful personalities and have a great power to polarise and split
  the church. So the first thing to recognise is that a full blown mutiny in the ranks is
  going to be the tool of the devil. With all the accusations, pride, anger and harsh
  words, your only real enemy is Satan. Bearing in mind he once was a worshipper
  like you and the entire team, it comes as no surprise that he knows the ins and outs
  of musicians and singers.

  Psalm 133 talks of the blessing of unity and this absolutely applies to the worship
  team. Lose unity and you will lose power. I would rather minister with lesser
  musicians and singers with unity in the house.

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21Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

  When a large portion of your music team stands against you, this is a major crisis
  and a huge test of leadership and you must to deal with it correctly. Mismanage this
  and you are in for one hell of a ride, emphasis on the hell! So what do you need to
  establish and how do you deal with a major mutiny in the ranks of the worship team.

  1. Who Is Involved?

  Firstly, you need to understand who is involved and to what capacity. Who are th4e
  ringleaders? Who has simply given verbal consent but is really on the fence? Who is
  for you and who is against you?

  Why is this information important? It is important because, as any General knows,
  you need to know your enemy, especially when they are within the ranks. They may
  not see themselves as enemy, but if they are about to blow the worship team apart,
  believe me, they are definitely part of the enemy.

  So establish who is involved and to what extent. I would then phone or preferably
  meet those who are neutral or not part of the conspiracy and lay out clearly your
  position, and the dreams you have for the team. Alert them to possible conscription
  into the mutiny, and state again your love for them and your belief in their talent and
  heart for worship.

  You will find that most of not all of these neutral folk are aware of the mutiny, but
  have refused to be a part of it, even if they agree with the mutineer’s claims. They
  recognise, quite correctly, that the Lord is not going to bless a major munity in the
  worship team, and they value their relationship with the Lord and with you enough to
  avoid involvement.

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22Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

  2. What are they Mutinying About?

  This question may hurt a little, but you MUST face it to bring godly resolution to this
  volatile situation. What is their problem with you, and does this have validity?

  If things have got this far, chances are you may have already addressed this issue. I
  would still go to the Pastor with the accusations and see if he or she thinks they have
  validity. Humbly go to the Pastor and say, “please tell me where I need to change in
  your eyes.” You will then have a powerful ally against those opposing you.

  Even with this support, you still should make sure that you hear the mutineers out at
  least once. Let them feel like they have been able to communicate their concerns to
  you so that, no matter how it ends, you cannot be accused of ignoring them.

  3. How Did They Mutiny?

  Whatever the reasons for the mutiny, the method they use is still an important factor.
  If they come as a group with genuine concerns, you need to listen to them. If there
  are many or most of your team sharing the same concerns, they may be absolutely
  right, and this would be a great time to accept the correction with humility and love.
  If this is the case, I would tell them that they may in fact be correct and you will take
  the concerns to the Pastor. If the whole team is against you, it is not the time to play
  hard ball!

  However, most often it is only a few who feel this way and they have been in email,
  phone and personal contact for a while plotting your overthrow. They may have
  been secretly or even openly trying to subvert the worship so that your worship times
  have become a flop! They may have silently challenged you during practice. They
  may have collectively decided that you are just no good and need to resign!

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23Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

  The use of “spoiling” tactics is not of God, pure and simple. If they are purposely not
  following in worship, stopping the flow of God’s Spirit or taking over against your
  direction then the methods they have employed to make their point are trying to
  character assassinate you. This is not from God.

  I have not always agreed with things my worship leader has done, but as a musician
  or singer I have never purposely tried to undermine my leader’s authority and wreck
  the worship. Behaving this way would most certainly affect your relationship with the
  Lord and that has always been too great a price to pay.

  4. How do you handle it?

  OK, here is the $64,000 question. Do you blow up and scream at them? Do you roll
  over and give in, just to keep the peace? Do you accuse them back?

  My answer is simple… you love them, but you stand firm. I would not accuse them
  back, either to their face or behind their back. If you start to spread gossip about
  them then you are no better then they are.

  I would discuss the situation with only one person: the Pastor. When they accuse
  you, be humble (1 Peter 5:5), be loving (1 Corinthians 13:1-8) and be receptive, but
  also be strong. I would always say, “I hear your concerns, I am sorry you feel that
  way but I do not agree.” Make sure you listen and that everything you say is in love,
  but finish by clearly and unemotionally stating your position.

  5. How do you move on and resolve it?

  This is the ultimate aim and one that you should move towards quickly. These are
  the possible outcomes:

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24Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

  1. You discuss the issues, they are satisfied with your answers and they agree to
  come back on board under your leadership. I would love to tell you that it will be
  business as usual, but it most often will not be. They will still have concerns, and you
  will be inclined to watch them like a hawk to avoid a repeat of the mutiny. Over time
  all these will resolve, so hang in there.

  Above all, make sure that when they mutineers return to the team that you do not
  persecute them in any way. They will be expecting you to do this, but love keeps no
  record of wrongs! I would even go so far as to make a special effort to spend more
  time with them, and in doing this you will avoid problems in the future.

  2. They state their case, you disagree, but you all agree to continue in the band
  without true resolution of the issues. If this is the case, (and it’s the most common
  outcome, especially if they and you are mature in Christ), then you must accept them
  and invest more time into them, but carefully watch to make sure the volatile
  situation is not repeated. Love them, care for them, listen to them and even serve
  them, but watch them and pay special attention to their interaction with other team

  3. You cannot resolve the issues and they chose to resign. I find that mutineers will
  often use the threat of resignation as a tool to obtain what they want. You actions
  here are simple: ACCEPT THE RESIGNATION! Do so without malice or anger, and
  do so even if they are the best musician or singer you have. No one is so good that
  you can sacrifice unity and blessing upon your worship!

  4. You cannot resolve the issues and they will not resign. Here again your course is
  fairly clear: you have to stand them down from the team. I would involve the Pastor
  for sure at or before this point, and if you ever need to stand someone down, make
  sure you have their full backing. Again, you need to do this with love and care, but
  simply say that, given the differences that exist between you, you cannot see any

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25Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

  way that they can continue in the worship team. Again, I would do this regardless of
  their music or singing ability. If they are really good you will miss them, but you will
  be better off.

  You may consider standing them down for a short period of time as a viable option
  because this leaves the prospect of their being restored to the team in the future.
  This would be preferable to just firing them and certainly a more acceptable option
  for them.

  In all my years of worship leading I have never had to fire ANYBODY, for any reason.
  However I have experienced all of the other outcomes. If I needed to stand
  someone down for disciplinary reasons, I would involve the Pastor and do so without
  hesitation. At the end of the day the most important thing is the unity of the team and
  the power and anointing of worship and I would not let anything stand in the way of
  these things!

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26Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                                 Ps. Darin Browne

             The Special Case of the Meeting Maniacs

  As we have previously discussed, when someone within your ranks has a problem
  with you it is important that you listen to their grievance and understand their
  concerns. This is not only good leadership, it is good manners!

                                              However, some people are “meeting
                                              maniacs”, and they will want to meet with
                                              you again and again in an attempt to resolve
                                              the issues in their favour, seemingly by
                                              attrition! They always want to meet and
                                              discuss the same issues over and over
                                              again, so at what point do you say, “Enough
                                              is enough!”

  I would meet with them once. If you cannot reach agreement, I recommend that you
  get on with the job of leading the worship team and turn down all future requests for
  meetings. You job is not to have lots of meetings in an attempt to resolve the

  The best Biblical example of this is Nehemiah, who constantly faced requests for
  meetings from people who wanted the worst for him, not the best. There was no
  chance of resolving the issues because they wanted him to stop rebuilding the wall,
  and that was non negotiable.

  His enemies plotted to stir up trouble for him (Neh 4:8) and threatened to kill the
  workers. When their plot was discovered, they sounded so reasonable when they
  said, “Come, let us meet together.” (Neh 6:2-4).

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27Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

  If you are dealing with “Meeting Maniacs”, take a leaf from Nehemiah’s book. Don’t
  stop the work, don’t get involved just get on with the job. That said, make sure you
  keep your Pastor informed so you have justification for your actions at the highest

  Be prepared because “Meeting Maniacs” will not like this. They will accuse you of
  being prideful, arrogant and selfish. They will accuse you of not listening to them, so
  make sure you have listened at least once. They will accuse you of bad leadership,
  but you will recognise that like Nehemiah you have more important jobs to do!

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28Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

                           What to Say to the Others
  If you face a situation such as I have described, you will need to offer some
  explanation to the rest of the team at some point. They will almost always have
  heard the mutineer’s side (when they tried to recruit them), but I would be very
  careful about gossip at this point.

  I would call a meeting of the team (minus the trouble makers), perhaps before you
  begin your practice, and lay out for them the plain facts. This is what has been
  happening; this is the list of grievances; here is what has been decided. No emotion,
  no character assassination, but a concise, up front rendition of the situation. If you
  do not do this, then the mutineers will continue to target current band members and
  confusion will reign. Just state things simply and clearly, and then move on with the

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29Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

                     A Case Study from my Own Life

  You might think that I am immune to some of the situations you face as a worship
  leader, but nothing could be further from the truth! I would like to share with you a
  real life example I have recently faced, and how I handled the situation because it
  will resonate with some of you.

  I do not have a history of conflict in my worship teams. I tend to be a fairly
  conciliatory guy, so I move quickly and decisively to stop trouble before it really takes
  root. As I said before, I have never had to
  fire anyone from the team. Some have
  left of their own accord, and this has
  usually been after I have prayed and
  asked the Lord to intervene! I prefer to let
  Him do the hiring and firing.

  However sometimes the situations I have
  described can happen almost without warning. This is what happened to me
  recently when I moved to a new church and, after only a few weeks in the church,
  was asked to take over the worship team. I love worship leading so I gladly agreed,
  little knowing the situation I was to inherit!

  This worship team had a veneer of acceptability, but huge problems beneath. The
  previous leader had left and, although he got a lovely send off from all concerned, he
  clearly was burned out and out of ideas.

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30Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

  Enter Darin. Most of the team were excited to have me as a leader, but two showed
  early signs of trying to derail things. The trouble was these guys were on bass and
  keyboards and were the only ones in the church who could play these, so it would be
  nice to have them along. I could not really figure out their problem, but it was clear
  they had one and it was squarely aimed at me. Add to this mix a formed worship
  leader who was away on an extended holiday and, without knowing it; I had walked
  into a mutiny.

  The issue was whether I could lead in the Spirit. They had railroaded the previous
  worship team leader into doing what they wanted, with disastrous results! Worship
  times had been 50 minutes plus in length, with up to 25 or 30 minutes of the same 2
  chords played over and over while everyone sang in the Spirit. These 3 team
  members loved it, but I did a lot of research among the congregation and found
  almost all of the people hated it. It was long, boring, monotonous and mind
  numbing, but these 3 believed it was “prophetic worship.”

  I strongly disagreed and, in consultation with the Pastor whom I serve, we cut back
  the worship time to 25 minutes with a quicker, concise open worship time (which we
  do not do every week), using songs that everyone knows and loves. The
  congregation feeds back every week how much they love the worship, the
  intercessors give me loads of encouragement, the Pastor was so relaxed within
  weeks that he is preaching better and has told me he loves it and trusts me for any
  matter on stage in the church. Most importantly, the congregation more than
  doubled in the first 2 months as visitors came, loved the sermon and the worship and
  decided to stay. But still these 3 were far from happy.

  Their problem with me was clearly that they could not manipulate me like the last
  guy, so in their minds I became the one, “Standing in the way of the move of the
  Spirit.” The holidaying member returned and did not even speak to me, she just
  joined the frenzy of emails and phone calls, all accusing me of being unanointed as a
  worship leader.

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31Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

  So, inflammatory things appeared in emails and on Facebook, and other members of
  the team were contacted by them as they “shared their concerns with the new
  worship leader.” It took me quite a while to figure out what was happening and some
  of the more loyal team members, who loved my new approach, were the ones who
  kept me up to date with the mutineers.

  First thing I did was talk to my boss, the Pastor. If I can be assured that all decisions
  are made with his approval, their problem is not with me but with him, and that
  makes my position strong.

  They eventually called me and I spent several hours on the phone with each one
  listening to their ideas and criticisms. I listened, and then I said, “I understand but I
  do not agree. What you suggest is fine for an intercessor’s convention but not for
  Sunday worship.”

  Both musicians then said that when I lead worship they did not feel God was in it,
  and that they could not be a part of it. They threatened to resign, knowing I had no
  other alternatives in their area. I accepted on the spot, and said it was a great
  decision, because if their heart is not in it then standing down is the best decision.
  They seemed a little shocked and asked what I am going to do about their
  instruments. I said no problem, the Lord will provide.

  And He has. We actually went acoustic only for a week or two, which was a lovely
  change, then God started raising people up. I am happy, Pastor is happy, church is
  happy. Mutineers are not. Oh well, 3 out of 4 ain’t bad!

  One of the guys who resigned wants to meet with me and I have politely refused. He
  then accused me of ignoring him and I agreed because I have other things to think

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32Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                              Ps. Darin Browne

  about. He said I hated him and have rejected him and won’t even meet as friends,
  so I had a coffee with him as friends, but would not discuss the music team.

  Meanwhile, the worship team goes from strength to strength. I believe I have acted
  and spoken with integrity, honest and strength. You cannot satisfy everybody all of
  the time, but if you stick close to the Lord and the Pastor, you are on solid ground
  when it comes to managing your team!

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33Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                                Ps. Darin Browne

         Conclusion- The Department of Worship-land

  Anti-terrorism in the United States has given rise to the Department of Homeland
  Security. All of the agents involved in the department work to a strict protocol, which
  means they have a clear way of dealing with subversive issues as they arise. They
  do not operate haphazardly but follow well thought out and tested guidelines. This
  manual has offered such a series of guidelines and applying them should see you
                                                 develop into the leader God wants you to

                                                 What a fantastic opportunity you have been
                                                 presented with! There are very few
                                                 situations in the church where you have
                                                 such a fantastic opportunity to grow in
                                                 leadership skills, ones which you can apply
  to every aspect of your life in the future. Worship Leading is as much about
  managing people as it is about leading worship, so to become the leader God wants
  you to be you need to grow in the skills and experience of leadership.

  Sure, it will be hard at times, but if you follow the advice I have given you then there
  is every chance that you will grow and prosper through the experience and become
  a great leader in many aspects of life. Make sure you manage, rebuke and care for
  your people in a godly fashion, with humility and a servant’s heart. Be careful to do
  everything and make every key decision under the watchful eyes of your leader, your

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34Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                                Ps. Darin Browne

  Above all, pray and seek the Lord on every issue that you face when managing your
  team members. There is no easy way of learning what to do in every situation, but
  the Holy Spirit can and will guide you if you press into Him and seek His wisdom on
  how to face every situation.

  If you are a Worship Leader then you have been called of God to lead. You’re not
  just a singer, not just a musician, you are a leader, and therefore you need to
  develop leadership skills in your life. That’s where this manual can help, so please
  read it a few times and try to apply whatever you can to your specific situation.

  Remember, you are much loved by the Lord, your peers and your Pastor. If your
  Pastor did not think you were capable of the job then you would not have been given
  the position, so clearly your pastor has faith in you. Rejoice in all of the tough times
  and difficult decisions because through them you can grow into a wonderful and
  godly leader, producing a tremendous harvest for the Kingdom as well as character
  and hope in your own life.

  So as you read this book, take time out to thank the Lord for the tremendous
  privilege of serving where you are. Don’t get down on yourself if you have made
  mistakes… we all do it as some point, and believe me I have made some
  spectacular ones! It does not really matter that you make mistakes, what matters is
  how you recover. Stick closest to those you serve, especially the Pastor, and learn
  to keep on serving even through the pain of it all.

                                              Mark 10:45

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35Worship Leading: Terrorists and Mutineers                                 Ps. Darin Browne

  Feel free to keep in touch by email. Us Worship Leaders need to stick together, pray
  and support one another, even across the miles!

                                              Email me at


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