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    Just the Band Guy

    Posted on June 10, 2009 by Paul | 22 Comments | Jump to Comments Box Below

    Just the Band Guy

    by Paul Baloche

    “I’m just a band guy”. That was my attitude when I volunteered to play on the worship team at my church almost twenty years ago. I wasn’t really interested in being up front, charged with the responsibility to talk to the congregation let alone “lead” them in some way. That all seemed pretty intimidating, and quite frankly- a hassle. Yeah, that’s right, dealing with people can be a hassle. And so I was content to show up with my guitar rig and dutifully play the appropriate parts behind our Pastor who artfully encouraged worship from the platform.

    That all changed the Sunday morning that my Pastor turned to me and said over the microphone so that everyone could hear, “Paul, would you come and lead us in a few songs while I pray with folks at the foot of the stage.” Yikes!! Everything in me was like “Nooooo Waaaaay” but I pretended to be OK with it as I nodded yes nervously approached the mic. I wanted to declare out loud, “I’m just a band guy thank you very much” but it was too late. I was being pulled from the sidelines to front and center, where all eyes stared back at me with profound expectation.  I think I screamed a desperate prayer under my breath like, “O God, don’t let me stink and bore people to death.”

    That all seems a little silly now but at the time it was fear incarnate.

    Down the Road

    As weeks turned into months and months into years I began to grow in my love and concern for the people that I served each Sunday. Instead of fearing their disapproval or rejection of me, I began to realize how important our corporate gatherings were to the spiritual health of our congregation. As I became more aware of the different challenges and trials that so many of our members were facing, I began praying and asking God to give me His heart for the people I served. I prayed for wisdom and insight as to how our team could help strengthen our folks not only on Sunday mornings but also throughout the week. I became less preoccupied with striving for a flawless set list and more focused on how we could build up and encourage others through music, prayers, and scripture.

    The Progression

    The perception of my role went from band guy to worship leader to “lead worshipper” to finally Worship Pastor.  I started to experience a shift, in thinking of myself as a Pastor who utilizes music as the primary vehicle in helping others worship and connect with God. Previously, I saw myself as a musician first, who  “should probably get more involved in the leadership of the church”.

    The church needs leaders. It’s easy for us to sit back and let someone else do it. It’s easy to analyze and criticize the decisions that our Elders or Pastors make. But I learned very quickly how difficult it is to wrestle through the endless array of problems when I stepped up to be an Elder myself. Wow! What a revelation it was.

    Since then I have gained such an appreciation for those who are willing to sacrifice hours and hours for the sake of the local church. Everything from the most difficult personal issues of church members to the mundane minutia of buildings and budgets. So many times we want to walk away and leave it for someone else to figure it out, while we sanctimoniously sip our Starbucks from the sidelines and cynically point out the flaws and inconsistencies

    Stepping Up

    Joni Mitchell sings, “I’ve looked at life from both sides now”. Too many times I played the blame game but I’ve also felt the sting of judgment from the professional complainers. No matter.  Jesus said to Peter, “Do you love me? Feed my sheep.”  There is the command for us to love, nurture, and feed the people of God- To lay down our lives for the sake of the call. Except thankfully for most of us, these days “laying down our lives” means putting up with the inconveniences of people and leadership, as opposed to being martyred or burned at the stake.  Jesus also revealed that too often “the laborers are few”.

    Apply It

    I urge you to consider if you have been resisting the tug of personal leadership and opting for an easier path. The path of showing up, punching the ministry clock, and then checking out with very little emotional investment or commitment to church relationships.

    I am heartened by people like Glenn Packiam, Lincoln Brewster, Vicky Beeching, and Laura Story who not only write and perform skillfully but have also embraced the call to provide Pastoral leadership in their local church.

    Kelly Perkins 11/06/09

    I can really relate the the “Just The Band Guy” syndrome. For a long time, God has been tugging at my heart to lead worship and not just be a side guitarist/musician. Now, I am doing so regularly and it really opens up another vehicle of expression. Thanks, Paul, for your inspiration and dedication to the excellence of the Praise & Worship of our Lord!

    In Jesus’ Name,

    Kelly Perkins
    Tyler, TX

    You rock! Thanks so much for showing us how to walk this thing out. I admire you and your heart for worship! Keep it up.

    Jonathan W

    manasseh heeralall 15/06/09

    …..thank you Paul. Your words were very insightful and encouraging. Thanks again and God Bless.

    Chris Naish 16/06/09

    Hi Paul,

    With recent changes in our music ministry, I now am at this crossroads myself. I am our worship team’s lead guitarist, and although it hasn’t been a super amount of time, after a year and a half of being involved, I still fight with that whole “just a band guy” line of thinking from time to time. I’m also one of our three worship leaders. Our worship pastor had to step down and is now one of us three, and we now co-lead the ministry without any of us actually being THE ministry leader. I also help out part-time at another local church with which I have close ties with. I have that calling on my heart but am waiting on God’s time to tell me when. Thank you for writing this article, very truthful. Blessings Paul! :)

    Kevin C 16/06/09

    Enjoyed reading the blogs. You tell a story that many of us musicians can relate to. I know I can. Thanks for your “courage” and faith to follow God’s leading. May He continue to bless your efforts to serve Him. I know your ministry has done amazing things for my own desire to seek after God.


    Kevin C

    Robert 21/06/09

    I agree with you Paul, I have been struggling with apathy from myself. I have become comfortable in just “going through the motions” and not truely leading our church to worship. I just seem to not fully engage the ministry. I guess it ultimately comes down to a lack of faith. I absolutely love singing to the Lord and helping people do the same. There just seems to be a fear of being rejected. It is easier to sit behind someone else’s leadership. It feels safe and they tend to be our “heat sheild” deflecting criticism. Week after week I try to minister to our people, but it feels as thought it wouldn’t matter if I was there or not. I realize I am there to minister to the Lord, but my attitude isn’t right. I finally believe I have found my calling in leading worship. I am not looking to please men, it’s just would be so much better to know that I make a difference.You make a difference, you are sure of your ability and you apply your skills well. Your work isn’t only before the people, it is also to individules as well. I thank our Lord for the gifts He has given to you. I hope one day to be able to as well. I study your instructional material often. I study Scripture daily. Something is missing though? May God continue to bless you and allow you to be an ambassador for Him. Sincerely, Robert

    Kent Dixon 22/06/09

    I resemble oh too closely, the guy who longed to be on the sidelines. I’ve been worship leading for a while now and the Lord continues to thrust me right into the leadership roles that He wants me in.

    He is so good. No matter how I “fight against the pricks” at times He continues to forgive and to allow me to do what I was born for. It is like a birth right, isn’t it? I think Oswald Chambers calls it being “Apprehended by God”.

    It should also be emphasized that when someone has been “apprehended” , their lives can become a raging torrent, should they walk the other direction. God help us to not ever be a Jonah!!!

    Anyway, great post brother!


    Ron Krajcik 24/06/09

    Thanks for your insight,
    You’re seem so often to be ‘on the mark’. As a ‘part time’ worship leader I often struggle to ‘make ends meet’. Too often I drift into task-orientation (ie get the set list, build some workable transitions, arrangements that our team can handle, listen to new music potentials, etc.).
    Often I look back and, yes, see progress, but find that my ‘tasks’ have become THE focus. Your insights and shared experience help me ‘back up’ and look at the whole. Thanks! Ron

    Chris 29/06/09

    Some thought provoking comments there, Paul. Thank you. So often it is much easier to sit in the back corner of the band, Stratocaster in hand and play the riffs as the “band guy” . I have found like you, once we put our faith in the Lord and step up to that plate, that people really start to appreciate the input that leaders have in the spiritual growth of the congregation.

    It is hard, though. But Christ is there to lead the way. Lord, make the paths straight for us. Proverbs 3:6.

    Keep the faith, Paul! (as you said once to me :D )

    Chris O’Loughlan (Australia)

    Nicole P 29/06/09

    I’m not surprised that you were “pushed” into being a worship leader …….. it seems to me that God typically works this way ……… using the least of us …… those who have no confidence of self …….. then it really is about Him and not us.

    Thanks for listening!

    Liliane S. Wood 01/07/09

    I would like to thank you for what you are doing with this website. The last few months I have been using it to learn songs as my husband continues to do your songs for worship in our church. I have greatly improved in my playing the guitar. Blessings to you and your family!


    jeramy 02/07/09

    paul, this story is so similar to mine in regards to how i started leading worship. it’s been almost 7 years now. i really struggle with loving the people i serve, so i appreciate your encouragement! i know that i need to be more then just available, i need to be pliable as well. thanks for your words!

    Terry MacInnis 07/07/09

    Hello Paul, I sincerely want to tell you how much I appreciate your wisdom. I also am a musician. I have been on the worship team at my church for nearly 20 years as a back up vocalist and more recently as a acoustic rythm player and vocalist. Thanks to your help I want to say my guitar playing has pleasantly improved to being more of an enhancement to the worship time than a distraction. I am aware, at least to some degree how God wants our heart as worship and our daily lives. I want to say that you have re-enforced my understanding of worship and helped me to grow in understanding. Although I am in the background so to speak in the worship God has used my circumstances to put me in the forefront as well. I was diagnosed with a bad cancer. I chose to believe God is my healer literally and for whatever reasons there has been progress. People have been praying for me. Praise God! Some folks have been inspired and encouraged by my testimony and I believe in the end I will be healed and God will be glorified.
    I have a wife and 3 children. I’m from Canada , (Moncton, New Brunswick) but my two girls Josie and Lindsay are going to Liberty University in Lynchburg VA. Josie is 20 and on the Sounds of Liberty. Check the picture out on their web site. She is the blondest girl. Lindsay is maybe going into theater arts next year. She has taken business the first year. My son Jordan is working at a childrens camp this summer councelling. My wife Marlene teaches at a Christian school.
    I truly want you to know how much your lyrics, your sincererity and teaching on “worship and God” has encouraged me. Thank you Paul and I pray that God richly bless you and your family with a long, abundant, properous and desease free life serving him.
    A canadian friend and brother
    Terry MacInnis

    Billy Pumphrey 07/07/09

    Thank you for this. I believe that I am in this process. Someone did not grab me and say lead, but as a praise team leader for the first time I am still growing.

    I have played music for sometime but this new adventure is teaching me tons.

    collin 08/07/09

    that’s so true! when I first started going to church they needed a guitar player and in my past I was always in love with music, I wanted to jam with anyone. There was never anyone around, I was the ultimate band guy. When I first started playing it was for our youth band and I think I only knew the main chords G,C,D,E,A. It was frighting, I knew nothing, really. My guitar was out of tune, I didn’t know what standerd tuning was.. and after a year i’ve grown so much in that. Now i’m talking with my pastor and the elders about being a worship leader. God has been telling me to save up some money to record an EP.

    You have really helped me Paul to grow in music and as a musician but more importantly to grow spiritualy!.. maby one day we will do a song togeather….God is good
    Keep rockin!
    But more importantly keep growing!
    God Bless

    Guitarjazzed 13/07/09

    thankyou for writing this. I had a similar experience when I was asked to head my church’s worship ministry. I thought, ” no, way. I can’t do this… I can’t even sight read, and I don’t have a bible school education. ”

    5 years later, I am now at point where I have resigned from everything I was doing. I needed a space to see past the issues to get a clearer direction. So that I can go back full force — armed with the proper conviction.

    thankyou for telling your story. It really helps.

    sharon 16/07/09

    wow thats a very encouraging article.. inspires us to be ready to give to God from just what we have..

    Brandon Baker 29/07/09


    As I read this blog post it was like you writing about me. I havn’t been a musician as long as you. Only about a year, but recently I have felt a calling like never before. I have been leading worship at our Celebrate Recovery meetings and I have a feeling God has more in store for me. I am very excited at what God is doing, but also scared to death. I think the place I’m at now is what you described in your section titled “Down the Road”. Lately I have been wrestling with always wanting to sound good. I have been putting alot of pressure on myself. How do you draw the line between preparing and over practicing? All I think about lately is playing my guitar and studying different worship resources, anything I can get my hands on to help me a better leader.

    I like to play your song “Offering”. Today as I was driving and thinking about that song, the Holy Spirit came over me like nothing I have ever felt. I started sobbing and asking God to give me a love for His people. I prayed for the ability to lead them in worship to a God who was bigger than they could ever imagine. I prayed for God to show His love and compassion to His people through me.

    Sorry for the long reply, but I just had to share this with someone. I have watched many of your videos on Youtube and CCLI. You are a tremendouse resource. I commend you on your willingness to teach others what you have learned.


    Beth Rutt 30/07/09

    It sounds like you are a fly on the wall of my life. If I had written this, our stories would seem as though one of us cheated by peaking on our test papers. I am always amazed and humbled to see how God, in His loving way, patiently leads us, as His children, to live out this journey we’re on for Him.

    Joshua 11/08/09

    Great insight Paul. I was leading worship 2 Sundays a month at my church aside from a full time job. I was not focused on the right things and my personal relationship with Christ was suffering. I stepped down as worship leader to get my life back and track. I am just ending a 2 month break from leading worship and am eager to get back in the saddle. Reading this blog reminds me of how important it is to be focused on the people and how i can serve them. Thanks for the great reminder and for sharing your wisdom and experience. It is much appreciated. Thanks!

    Rahul Thomas 20/08/09

    Thanks Paul,

    I got saved while listening to “Above All” three and a half years ago. God has lead me on an amazing journey since then.

    Rahul Thomas

    Bill Pena 31/10/09

    Thanks Paul, I really needed this reminder…May God bless you.

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