Question:

Have you heard of this idea of having a "praise team" in the song service of some churches?  This is confusing to me because it would seem that it would place women in a leadership role if they were part of the "team" leading the congregation.  What are your thoughts on this?


Answer:

A "praise team" is select group of singers used to lead the various harmonic parts of a song for a congregation. They became popular because the song leader normally sings the melody line (soprano). For people unused to singing in harmony and unable to read music, it becomes difficult to pick up the alto, tenor, or bass lines, especially when a new song is introduced to the congregation. Thus praise teams are advocated as a way to speed up the learning process.

However, I strongly suspect that there is another motive behind the use of praise teams. It is the polished singers who are members of the praise team and since they are almost always found in large congregations, they are given microphones to amplify their voices so everyone can hear them. As a result, the poorer singers are drowned out by the better singers voices, thus making the overall song service sound better to the human ear. It is the desire to sound better to others that is the driving force behind praise teams.

A man leading the congregation in a song is mentioned in I Corinthians 14:26, "How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification." Such leadership is forbidden to women in I Corinthians 14:34-25 and I Timothy 2:11-12. The concept of a praise team seeks to avoid this restriction by having a set of men and women simultaneously lead the congregation in singing. However, the leadership is still being exerted; and, thus, is a violation of what God asked of Christian women.

Second, the advocates of praise teams seek to impress men with the sound of the congregation's music. Such a view leads the congregation down the wrong path. "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).