Worship Ministry Purpose: To Worship God through music.  This begins as a day to day lifestyle that is brought together collectively during service times in spirit and truth.

We sing and play in church to worship, honor and praise God.  It is a Scriptural mandate that we praise through singing and playing.  We do not take this lightly and we want God to be pleased, others drawn, and everyone challenged to walk closer to Him as a result of worship through music.  There are many passages of Scripture that address singing and playing.  Psalm 150 says…

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.[a]

Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.


After being at Tabernacle for 25 years, there have been many changes in the way things are done in the area of music.  I (we) do not do things on the traditional “Choir” paradigm as we have in the past.  We now have the participation of a band and praise teams. This requires a different style of practicing in order to put the most into worship.  The following is general information of how things are currently done here at Tabernacle (in no particular order).

1. We do not sing from printed music. Yes, we sing from the screens. The band has their printed chord sheets and music but the singers do not have a specific line of notes to read or follow.

2. If harmony vocals are present, it is primarily done from each singer’s talent, and is not drilled by piano in the four-part harmony setting. Often times, harmony does NOT fit. Singers generally know this immediately – when this happens, it is best to stop.  It is better for harmony to be absent rather than sounding not so good.  It is valid for harmony singers to alternate between melody and the harmony parts that do fit within a song.  It is also valid for harmony singers to only sing in phrases or sections that fit.  Trying to force harmony leads to singing that does not sound good – it works or is doesn’t.

3. We primarily sing and play contemporary Christian music. It’s generally an 80/20 percent spread.

4. We generally always have at least one song or part of a song that is traditional. We may do a song that has both ingredients – traditional and contemporary. I like to treat the worship ministry like a buffet – It is a goal of mine to have something in the service for everyone (old and young) to enjoy and relate to in the style of music.  No particular style is more sacred than others.  If God is being worshipped in spirit and truth, it’s great music.

5. Unless otherwise communicated, the band practices every Wednesday at 5:30. All praise team members are encouraged to be here for band practice.

6. The whole choir practices on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month at 6:00. This is not always every other Wednesday because some months have 5 Wednesdays. Yes, the choir joins in with the band practice on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays.

7A. We do a sound and video check every Sunday morning at 8:30 for band, praise teams and tech operators.  In this we go through the total line-up of songs just to make sure everything is ready.  Trust me…….this saves a lot of train wrecks.  There are very few changes to anything after the sound and video check happens.  Occasionally I will add a singer on a mic but that’s only if I know that singer really knows the music well.

7B. Only the praise team sings for the 9:30 (1st service).  The choir sings every Sunday during the 11:00 AM service (2nd service).

8. The praise team sings the invitation (if planned) and the exit song for the 2nd service. In other words, when the choir finishes the music during 2nd service, they are done for the day.

Here is the weekly schedule on Sundays (This is the quick glance of lines 7A 7B & 8)

8:30 Sound & Video Check – Band, Praise Team (and Tech Team) No Choir

9:30 – 1st Service – Band, Praise Team and No Choir

11:00 – 2nd Service – Band Praise Team and CHOIR

At the end of 2nd Service Invitation and Exit song by Band and Praise Team No Choir

9. In the majority of songs, we will have a soloist on the verses and add the choir on the choruses. We make exceptions and changes all along the way.

10. From the praise team, we may add some harmony along the way at any time during the songs.

11. I generally plan 7 months of “Tentative Line-ups” in advance and e-mail that schedule. However, we must make some changes along the way.

12. I primarily communicate by e-mail. Most of the time, I will e-mail the final line-up by Tuesday for the upcoming Sunday. This includes soloists – but they are subject to change also.

(By the way, If you are interested in becoming a part of the worship ministries – I need your e-mail address.)

13. On these e-mails, I generally will put the artist or group that we use as demonstrations for our learning. By this, you can listen on line and get familiar with the general way we do that particular song.  NOTE: We are likely to make changes in the song to make it fit us.  That’s where rehearsals become important.

14. I generally collect songs and make choir CD’s along the way. These also are for you to become familiar the songs and practice.

15. As you are out and about, please text 912-293-6502 or e-mail me new songs randy.mcduffie@bellsouth.net that I can look over and see if we can add them to our song list. Keep in mind, we may not be able to do some songs due to many reasons……….. When choosing songs, I look closely at the lyrics – Scripture says to worship in spirit and truth.  We do our best to remain Scripturally and theologically accurate.

16. We ask that all worship ministry participants dress appropriately. Please let your attire be respectful to God and His people. We ask that you not let too much skin show.

17. There are times when we experience difficulties in our lives. Should that arise and you need to take a break for a while, we understand. There are times when we do not need to be on stage – we ask that you seek God to be sure you are in the right frame of mind for worship and leading others in worship.  I could go on and on about this but you know many things that happen in people’s lives that don’t need to be displayed while on God’s stage.  Furthermore, others know what’s going on too.  We don’t want to present hypocrisy especially on stage. There are several subjects worth mentioning.

Marriage is between one man and one woman – We hold to this Biblical standard for the participants on stage rather than anyone practicing homosexuality or immorality in           their personal life.

We also take the Biblical standard with those on stage as it pertains to substance problems, anger issues, gossips, creators of dissention, illegal activity, etc.

While none of us are perfect, we strive to maintain and display the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5) on stage.

18. When it comes to singing and playing – we are a group. Unless there is a vocal or instrumental solo, we sing as a unit. Many like to embellish the music/notes with their own personal touches – that does NOT work well in group singing.  We strive to enter, stay on pitch, and move at the same time as a general rule.  Unnecessary sounds, incorrect word pronunciations, groans, moans, scooping up or down on the pitch turns us into a group of detached soloists – again, we are a group. There are times when soloists are assigned to “add libbing” or “echos”, but generally we remain as an instrumental and vocal unit.  Some extremely talented sing or player may have the ability to embellish and sound great as a solo but it creates problems while singing with a group – it creates momentary times of note clashes (dissonance).  I somewhat regularly will say “one note per syllable” – This means we do not move on pitch before the others.  The worship ministry here is not an individual talent show.  This is a collective effort.  We need to blend – even in volume.  If we are too loud as an individual, let’s back off. The soloists and players need to hear the monitors.  This concept goes all the way back to Scripture when it says in 2 Chronicles 5:13

And they sounded the trumpets and sang with one voice, all together as one man praising and thanking the LORD, when they lifted up their voice with trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, when they praised the LORD, saying, For he is good, for his mercy endures for ever; and the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD,

I would like point out the “ONE VOICE” aspect of all those listed in this Scripture.

19. I would like to mention again that the solos may change in certain songs. We are not territorial and the songs do not “belong” to anyone.

20. There are times when we run out of microphones – please understand that.

21. The stage here at Tabernacle is NOT an evangelistic outreach. Let me explain.  We do not put up anyone to lead in worship that does not have a relationship with Jesus just because he or she is talented musically.  Everyone on the stage is a Christ following minister – we need to keep it as Holy as possible.

22. I do not hold auditions. There are people who like music but do not have the talent. Some can’t sing at all. When those persons show up for auditions and do not make the “cut”, they get their feelings hurt – I want no part of that.  I have found that those whom God wants involved will arise and we go from there.  I will gladly work with individuals who wish to improve their skill set. We always need musicians, especially guitar players and drummers.

23. If you want to be a part of the worship ministry here at Tabernacle, we ask for you to attend practices and just hang out with us. It takes time for anyone to get the “feel” of how things are done anywhere. As time goes on and as we see opportunities, we can expand and be more pleasing to God.

24. We also need technical operators for lighting, video and sound. This requires training.

25. Adding a song or changing a song is NOT always an easy task. When planning the services, I look at the message of the song, the tempo, what instrumentalists and singers are available that day, and the key of a song. Planning the flow of a service requires an equal or rising progression of key – we stay in the same key, raise the key ½ step, raise the key a whole step, raise the key the interval of a third or fifth..  Making a song “fit” in the line-up for that day may not be so easy when looking at the entire picture which includes screen preparation.

26. Every instrument is amplified through the sound board. There will be no individual amps on stage.

27. We have electronic drums here for many reasons – Let me know if you want to talk about this.

Worship Leader

Randy McDuffie