Worship Manual for Hope Chapel West of Santa Rosa

Worship Ministry Handbook
Hope Chapel West
Santa Rosa, California

Version 2.2.4

Revised and Web-Enabled by:
Brett Carver
© 2005 - Hope Chapel West of Santa Rosa, CA

This manual is based on the original version by:
Neil Bohn
© 1992, 1997 - Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Santa Rosa, CA
Used with permission.

Table of Contents


The purpose of this handbook is to provide an overview of the worship ministry at Hope Chapel West of Santa Rosa. As you read, be sure to look up any scripture references that are given.

What is worship? John 4:23-24 states:

"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (NIV)

From a study of this text we derive the following expanded definition of worship:

"To revere and give homage to God, serving Him through profound adoration, intense love and desire, intimately turning towards Him (as if to kiss), exposing our essential in-most selves in complete honesty and surrender."

Why do we worship? God is looking for worshipers! (Luke 19:40). He desires to manifest Himself to them and through them! (II Chronicles 16:9, John 4:23-24, Psalm 95:6). In doing so, we minister to the Lord (Ezekiel 44:15-16, I Peter 2:9). As we worship, we draw near to God, He draws near to us (Hebrews 10:19-25, James 4:8) and we, consequently, respond to His presence (Luke 19:35-40).

Our worship consists primarily of personal interaction with God and, secondarily, of service to Him. Mary sat at the Lord's feet and listened to Him while Martha was busy with the chores. The Lord's own answer was that Mary chose what was better (Luke 10:38-42). It is our sincere desire to nurture this same value in the hearts of those called to worship here.

Our Vision

Whatever setting we may find ourselves in, be it at home before the Lord, in a small group setting or a celebrative meeting with many others, we look to the Lord for the following characteristics and experiences:
  1. For our Worship: Times of unbroken communion with God (The sharing of our thoughts and emotions with Him); worship identifiable by an obvious interchange of love between God and His people; the presence of God evident and tangible in healing and deliverance.
  2. For the Worshipers: A people who are eager to come into God's presence, hungry for communion with Him; reaching out to God with joyful abandon; submissive to each of His overtures; all in one accord with the Holy Spirit and with each other.

Our Purpose

Our purpose in this ministry is to facilitate the practice of unbroken communion with God, which is the essence of Jesus' redemptive sacrifice.

We believe that God created us to live in constant fellowship with Him or unbroken communion. The fall of man brought about eternal separation from God, which the Father remedied through the sacrifice of His beloved Son, Jesus, who died for our sins and for our salvation. Through Him we obtain eternal life and direct access to God.

We believe that worship is a primary means for us to participate in unbroken communion with God.

Our Philosophy of Worship

This section has been adapted from "Building a Worship Philosophy" by John Wimber, as appears in the Worship Resource Center's training manual. Copyright 1987 Worship Resource Center/Vineyard Ministries International.

A philosophy of worship or a "worship worldview" is concerned with the way we approach worship as a local church and as worship ministers in this church. Our philosophy includes both a thorough analysis of, and an explicit statement of, our underlying presuppositions. The elements of our worship philosophy include: Values, Priorities, Practices, Programs and Biblical Expressions of Worship, which are explained below.

I. Values

  1. Values are "unseen", but they are extremely influential.

    1. Values are like the foundations beneath a building. The foundation defines the location and the limits of the building above. The deeper the foundation, the higher the building can rise.
    2. Values affect what we think and what we do. Our values are an intrinsic part of us, even though we seldom think about them in a conscious fashion. They determine the ideas, principles and concepts a person or group can accept, assimilate, remember and transmit. They are fallible and must constantly be revised and reviewed in light of Scripture.

  2. The following are values which we hold at HCW Santa Rosa and which we seek to instill in the people we minister to.

    1. Worship is given only to God and only for His glory. (Deuteronomy 5:6-7, Romans 1:20-23)
    2. We are intimate and self-disclosing with God. (Isaiah 49:15-16)
    3. We do not worship for "effect" or to manipulate God. (1 Kings 18:26)
    4. We worship in honesty and integrity. (John 4:23-24, Ephesians 4:14-15, Ephesians 4:25)
    5. Emotion during worship is simply our natural response to interaction with the living God. (Luke 19:36-40, Revelation 1:17)
    6. We welcome the ministry of the Holy Spirit in whatever way He chooses to work among us. (1 Thessalonians 5:19)

II. Priorities

  1. Priorities can be seen!

    1. Priorities are seen by what is done.
    2. Priorities grow out of values and can be compared to the columns or posts that sit on the foundations of a building. They rise out of the foundation and hold the building together.
    3. Priorities are established in order to give visible form to our values. Priorities demonstrate how we spend our time, energy and money.

  2. The following priorities influence the practice of worship at our church.

    1. Our worship is to God, before it is about Him. (Revelation 5:9-10)
    2. Worship is communication between both us and God. (John 4:23-24)
    3. Worship is to be our lifestyle - individually and corporately. (Colossians 3:15-16, Psalm 95)
    4. We set aside time specifically to worship.
    5. We invest time, energy and money in worship. We provide for training and equipment, continually striving to grow and improve in all aspects in order to bring quality to our worship.
    6. We provide instruction and care in worship to help others be more effective in ministering to God and to experience intimacy with God.
    7. We are free to grow and change in our worship as God brings growth and change to us. As we do, we are careful to maintain consistency between our values and our priorities when change is initiated.

  3. The following are the ordered priorities of this worship team.

    1. We are about worshipping God. All else is secondary.
    2. We are about modeling and leading the rest of the congregation in worship. Our purpose is to worship God, but our job is to model and lead others in worship.
    3. We are about supporting, encouraging, and building up all members of the worship team. Being on a worship team is a hard and sometimes stressful job, but it will always be a safe place.
    4. We will strive to attain the highest degree of musical skill we can achieve without compromising the first three priorities.

III. Practices

  1. Practices are sometimes seen and sometimes unseen. They hang upon our priorities.

    1. Practices communicate values and priorities even though they may never be articulated verbally. We rigorously try to ensure that our practices communicate our values and priorities.

  2. Following are our practices here at HCW.

    1. We engage in practices which are Biblically sanctioned, either implicitly or explicitly. (Psalm 100:4)
    2. We worship at each of our gatherings. (Ephesians 5:19)
    3. We encourage an uninterrupted flow of worship.
    4. We seek to expand and grow in our practices as God gives growth. We seek new songs, new modes of expression and new experiences with God.
    5. We encourage the whole person to enter into worship by use of body, soul and spirit.
    6. We are free to express worship through all Biblical means: intimate adoration, thanksgiving, praise, extolling, exalting, rejoicing, Biblical meditation, service, etc.

IV. Programs

  1. Programs are like the various rooms inside a building. They allow the values, priorities and practices to be expressed in various ways.

  2. The following programs are part of the life of HCW Santa Rosa.

    1. Seminars and conferences.
    2. Celebrations.
    3. Congregational gatherings (i.e. Sunday Morning Service.)
    4. Kinship meetings and other small group gatherings.
    5. Personal and private worship. Our personal worship times should be equally as important as prayer and Bible reading.

V. Biblical Expressions Of Worship

Included in our worship philosophy are the following forms of expression found in Scripture. This is not intended to be limiting or exhaustive in any way. Suggestions for addition to this list will be greatly appreciated.
  1. Singing to Him. (Colossians 3:16, Psalm 47:6-7, Psalm 149:1, 1 Chronicles 15:16-27, 1 Chronicles 25:1-7, 2 Chronicles 29:27)
  2. Singing new songs. (Psalm 40:30, Psalm 144:9) The word "new" in aramaic is "Hadas" which means fresh or unused.
  3. Singing or speaking with your spirit. (1 Corinthians 14:14-17) Refers specifically to 'tongues'.
  4. Speaking about Him. (Psalm 145:6-12) Refers to praises with the sense of "bubbling over with joy."
  5. Playing musical instruments. (Psalm 150:1-6, Psalm 149:3, Psalm 144:9, 1 Chronicles 25:1-7, 2 Chronicles 5:11-14, 2 Chronicles 29:25-30) These instruments include winds, reeds, strings, brass and percussion.
  6. Shouting joyfully to Him. (Psalm 47:1, Isaiah 12:6, Ezra 3:10-11) Praising God LOUDLY for His triumphs.
  7. Weeping. (Ezra 3:12-13) Response of intimacy, joy, awe in God's presence, etc.
  8. Lifting up our hands. (Psalm 134:2, Psalm 141:2, Nehemiah 8:6) An outward expression of our hearts. Shows dependence, gratitude or surrender.
  9. Bowing low with our faces to the ground. (Nehemiah 8:6, Psalm 95:6-7) Demonstrating reverence & respect.
  10. Kneeling. (Psalm 95:6) Shows humility, meekness and submission. It literally means "to bless" God.
  11. Lying Prostrate. (Revelations 1:10-17, Revelations 19:4) Total awe, fear, reverence, humility or adoration.
  12. Standing in His presence. (Deuteronomy 10:8) Acknowledgement of reverence and service to royalty.
  13. Clapping our hands. (Psalm 47:1) "The Father's heartbeat". Release of joy & thanks. Also a powerful tool against the enemy's strongholds, many times combined with shouting, praise & singing.
  14. Meditating. (Psalm 77:12, Philippians 4:8) Pondering the attributes of God in our hearts.
  15. Spiritual sacrifice. (Psalm 27:6, Hebrews 13:15)
  16. Dancing. (1 Chronicles 15:29, Psalm 149:3, Psalm 150:4, 2 Samuel 6:14-16, Exodus 15:20) Celebrates God's victory and is a full expression of joy or rejoicing. Dancing also expresses intimacy with the Lord. (An example would be "slow dancing".)
  17. Silence. (Habakkuk 2:20, Psalm 46:10, Revelations 8:1)

Flags and Banners

While not specifically mentioned as an expression of worship like the items above, the use of flags and banners in worship carries a strong spiritual significance. Depending on the translation, one may find references to any of the following: flags, banners, standards, or ensigns.

There are several clear uses for flags, banners, etc. found in the scriptures:

The parallels to worship are clear. Worship is a form of spiritual warfare. In that context, the use of flags to focus people on Jesus, to mark a territory owned by God, to bring fear to the enemy, and to proclaim the reign of our King all make sense. And while the flags, banners, etc. have no special power in themselves, they have powerful symbolic meanings. That symbolism extends to their form (flag, banner, etc), what pictures or words are on them, and even the colors used. So just as different songs have meaning (praise, celebration, worship, intimacy, etc) flags and banners may be created to express a particular meaning and then used to reinforce that meaning in worship.

Here is an interesting article on one church's Worship Flag Ministry.

Musician Development and Release

It is our desire to facilitate the development and release of musicians for service in our worship ministry and to do so from within our local church body. To this end, we have developed a process by which musicians are trained and released to become "minstrels" or worship ministers in our church. The components of this process are:
  • Regular participation in a small group. (When small groups are in process.)
  • Musical Training. (When training sessions are in process.)
  • Introduction to the Worship Team.
  • Apprenticeship.
  • Fulfillment of Handbook Requirements.
  • Service.
Following is a brief explanation of each of these components.

I. Regular Participation in a Small Group

All who wish to be involved in the worship ministry must be an integral part of the life of this church. Small Groups are the primary means for involvement and allow an individual's character to be proven as well as his or her worship skills to be developed.

II. Musical Training (Not applicable if meetings are on sabbatical.)

For those musicians who are beginners or intermediates, we seasonally maintain a weekly meeting called "Musicians In Training" (MIT). The primary purpose of this meeting is to provide a place for participants to develop and enhance their individual skills with their chosen instruments on a regular basis.

Areas of focus for this program include:

  • Basic Music Theory.
  • Rhythmic Skills.
  • Playing with other Musicians.
  • Memorization of Worship Songs.
Participants of this program are expected to practice regularly at home. We cannot overemphasize the importance of regular personal practice for those who wish to truly "play skillfully".

In the absence of regular training or classes, musicians are expected to work independently on their skills (through lessons, practice, etc). In addition, interested people may be invited to "hang out" during regular team practice times to develop their skills.

III. Introduction to the Worship Team

Anyone expressing an interest in joining the worship team (or anyone asked to consider joining) will be first given the opportunity to attend weekly worship practices to "hang out". This will typically involve setting in the back of the room (so as to not disturb the practice) to worship, pray, and sing/play along (un-amplified) with the practice. It's an opportunity to observe how the team operates, learn the songs, and generally see how things work.

This phase could last from a few weeks to months depending on the individual and the situation. This time can help to reveal an individual's heart, desire, motivations, and calling. There is also no implication or promise that one is "on the team", it is merely a another step in the process.

As the process continues, the individual may be invited on stage to play or sing along during practice. This does not imply they will be invited to join in for a regular worship service. It's a opportunity to see how the person fits in and blends with the rest of the team, and to find their place in the mix. This period may also include a formal audition which would include playing and/or singing two or more songs with minimal accompaniment. The audition would be recorded.

At any point during this process either the individual or the worship leader may decide that this is not the time to pursue involvement with the worship team. The hope is that by keeping this part of the process informal and low-key, any disappointment or embarrassment will be minimized should things not work out. But if things go well, this process may lead to apprenticeship.

IV. Fulfillment of Handbook Requirements

As a person moves through the introduction and apprenticeship phases, and his or her calling is affirmed, the prequalifications for involvement in the worship ministry on a permanent or long term basis can be met.

Please refer to the next section of this handbook for these requirements.

V. Apprenticeship

Once a musician has achieved an appropriate skill level both musically and as a worshiper, he or she may begin an apprenticeship with an experienced worship leader in a small group or as a member of a worship team. This applies to experienced musicians also.

During this phase the "apprentice" will be given various levels of responsibility as well as systematic and specific goals designed to bring competency as a worship minister.

Also during this phase the "apprentice" is given the opportunity to "learn by doing". This may include being invited to participate in regular worship team practice times (singing or playing an instrument). Note that an invitation to participate in practice does not imply participation during a regular worship service.

Upon entering into apprenticeship, a probationary period begins in which the person's calling can be proven and affirmed.

VI. Service

A musician can enter into service as a worship minister after he or she has met all of the requirements listed in the worship ministry handbook.

A twelve month service commitment is expected of all individuals desiring to participate.

If you wish to lead worship as part of our worship team in celebration or congregational settings, you must first lead worship in a small group meeting successfully for a period of six to twelve months. (Care Groups, special meetings, retreats, etc.) This requirement can be shortened or eliminated for individuals with previous worship leading experience. Anyone who desires to lead worship needs to be willing to be apprenticed.

Worship Team Ministry Pre-Qualification

In calling for the following pre-qualifications and commitments for participation in the worship ministry of our church, it is our intention that there be a calling, an anointing and a Godly desire evident in the participant. It is not our desire to make it difficult for "difficulty's sake", but rather to ensure and encourage proper attitudes, teachable spirits, Godly character and the full use of God's gifts and callings in each team member, to the best of our ability.


  1. Be a "True Worshipper." (John 4:23-24)
  2. Evident ability to play your instrument skillfully. Willingness to be auditioned by the Worship Team.
  3. Demonstrate a willingness to hold this ministry with an "open hand", leaving up to the Lord and the leadership all questions regarding the scope of your involvement.
  4. Be a faithful participant in the life of this church as evidenced by regular attendance (a minimum of six months) at Small Group Meetings, (if applicable) and Sunday services. Demonstrate commitment to this local body by becoming involved in growing, healthy relationships with other people who are doing the same. Invest time, energy and money (regular tithes) as evidence of your call to this body.
  5. Be recommended to the worship ministry by two or more persons involved in leadership on a pastoral level. (i.e. Small Group Leader, etc.)
  6. Show a willingness to work within the expectations of the worship ministry leader, as indicated in this handbook.
  7. Indicate your willingness to support the pastor's vision, even if it requires you to lay yours aside.
  8. Indicate your commitment to the vision, purpose and goal of this worship ministry.
  9. Indicate your willingness to commit to the Worship Ministry Job Requirements included in this handbook.
  10. If you are married, you must have the support of your spouse for involvement in the worship ministry.
  11. If needed, indicate your willingness to pursue further education in music including Instrument, Voice or Theory.
  12. Answer the Prospective Worship Team Member's Questionnaire included in this handbook.

Worship Team Job Requirements

In order to properly nurture and sustain the kind of worship we desire and to fulfill the biblical mandates regarding worship and work (worship in spirit and in truth; play skillfully; work as unto the Lord) we require all members of this ministry to commit themselves to the following requirements. These skills are not prerequisites to joining the worship team, but it is expected that team members will always be working to improve the skills appropriate to their position or area of service.
  1. Spend time alone worshipping God regularly.

  2. Practice your musical and/or technical skills a regularly.

  3. A willingness to be available to serve in any aspect of the worship ministry when called upon.

  4. Attend worship team practice and worship services faithfully. The typical times and conditions are:

    1. Thursday night practice, 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm (or so).
    2. Sunday morning warm-up, 8:30 am to 9:30 am.
    3. Sunday morning service, 10:00 am.
    4. Special events which are relevant to your participation, on an "as they occur" basis (workshops, special services, etc.).
    5. Extra practices for specialization or to learn new songs.

    Note: all team members are expected to be setup and ready to go by the listed start times. This includes equipment setup, tuning instruments, preparing sheet music, etc. This will require most members to arrive early thus allowing time to prepare.

  5. Necessary Skills (based on area of involvement).

    Musical Skills:

    1. Able to discern "in tune" vs. "out of tune".
    2. Familiarity with instrument (which includes one's voice for singers). Play (sing) well and smoothly within your current level.
    3. Trained ear. Able to play (sing) proper notes, scales, chords, etc. as appropriate.
    4. Rhythmically correct. Able to understand a rhythmic code or cell in a given song. Able to maintain rhythm with others.

    Sound System Skills:

    1. Able to operate all sound equipment and related hardware.
    2. Thorough knowledge of stage and sound system setup; the ability to break down and setup the complete system.
    3. Able to discern a "good mix" and maintain the quality throughout a worship set.
    4. Willing to serve the musicians and eliminate technical distractions.
    5. Able to quickly trouble-shoot mix, hardware or connection problems, especially if they occur during a worship service.

    Audio/Visual Skills:

    1. Able to operate all computer and projection hardware.
    2. Able to operate all presentation software: Easy Worship, Power Point, etc.
    3. Thorough knowledge of songs used so as to be able to: smoothly display song lyrics along with the song, identify an out-of-order or spontaneous song and quickly display its lyrics.
    4. Able to quickly trouble-shoot hardware or software problems, especially if they occur during a worship service.

  6. A Servant's Attitude (respect for fellow team members).

    1. Commitment to punctuality.
    2. Commitment to practicing well.
    3. Commitment to musical and technical excellence as unto the Lord.
    4. Respect for team members' time (no disruptive talking or musical "noodling" during practice).
    5. Willingness to be corrected or criticized.
    6. Willingness to hold any position, songs, or musical parts with an "open hand". No ownership.

Prospective Worship Team Member's Questionnaire

If you have a desire to participate in the worship ministry at Hope Chapel West Santa Rosa, either at the small group level or as a member of our worship band, please answer the following questions and return the answers to the worship leader. If you would like to meet with the worship leader to discuss this handbook or these questions, please do not hesitate to make an appointment.
  1. How long have you been a Christian? How were you saved (testimony)?
  2. How would you define worship? Why is worship important to you?
  3. How would you rate the importance of the worship ministry in the church today?
  4. What is your vision for worship at this church?
  5. What makes a "public ministry or service" different from ministries or services that the public does not see?
  6. Why are you interested in involvement on the worship team? In what way do you desire to serve (vocal, instrument, sound, etc.)?
  7. If you play an instrument, how long have you been playing?
  8. What is your educational background relative to music?
  9. What kind of music do you listen to?
  10. What is the most important quality a worship team member should have?
  11. After reading the Worship Ministry Handbook, do you have any questions, concerns or comments?
  12. Have you met the pre-qualifications listed in this handbook? If not, explain.
  13. Will you agree to the Worship Ministry Job Requirements section of this handbook?
  14. If you were a worship team leader, what would you require of prospective new members for team involvement?