One of the more “controversial” thoughts we have about visitors is concerning the worship style. One thing pastors and church leaders need to remember is that your music can either draw or repel visitors. It is a very up-front representation of your church. Whether your worship music style is country & western, rock & roll, pop, or even heavy metal, it attracts, and conversely, repels people, depending on their personal tastes.

You can’t make everyone happy… that is a given. But we need to be intentional in the style of music in our services. This is not a substance issue; it’s a style issue. As Eric Bryant says, “Style must always submit to Spirit.”

Most pastors are so used to church music, especially their own church’s music, that they forget what it’s like to be a visitor. If the music is straight out of the 70’s, the church will probably draw more senior citizens than young people. This isn’t wrong, but if you want to reach families, especially those with younger children, you have to adjust the style of your music to that which is comfortable to them.

Often a church is bound to the personal style of music the worship leader enjoys. Most musicians can’t see past their personal musical preferences to the big picture of the people God wants them to reach. Worship leaders and their teams need to grow up and embrace the big picture.

Many church leaders also forget that bad music can turn off visitors. Being a worship leader myself, this point is really close to my heart. We need to do the best we can with what we have, but we always want to keep raising the bar in every area of our church. After all, we are representing the God of excellence!
In other words, don’t just let someone keep playing/singing because they’ve been there for a long time, or because they love to do it. And keeping him/her on the team because he/she are a VIP (or married to one) is wrong. He/she needs to have both talent and character. And the worship leader needs to love and respect this person, the worship team and the congregation enough to be honest with him/her.

Keeping a person in a place outside of their gifting is a lose/lose proposition, especially when it comes to music. No one that is musically talented want to be a part of a bad sounding worship team. Trust me, the congregation notices as well… and is probably wondering why it sounds so bad every week.