I don’t know of many worship leaders who don’t dream of a better team. We all want better musicians and more committed individuals. While building a quality worship team isn’t rocket science, it does require some intentional changes on your part. You’ll need to tweak the way you go about building your team. But it is possible—no matter what city you’re in or how small your church is.
Before You Get Started
There’s no one on your team that can foster or hinder the growth of your worship team more than you. Stop blaming the church, your denomination, your town, the elders, or your senior pastor. Start looking at yourself. God has placed you exactly where you are. Instead of the blame game, start asking God what he wants you to know about your frustrations, and expect him to answer you. Of course there are other churches in different cities with better lead pastors and bigger budgets. But even if you worked at those churches, you’d eventually realize new frustrations and idiosyncrasies. You’ll find new things to blame. Ultimately, you have the biggest opportunity to build or hurt your team—nobody else.
Secondly, before you go bananas building your worship team, remember you are part of a larger team. If you’re a worship pastor, the team you lead is part of the larger staff team. The only way to build a great worship team is to be on the team. Do you support the church’s vision? Are you on the same page as the lead pastor? What are the values and vision of your church? If you can’t support the mission/vision of the church or you aren’t on the same page as the senior pastor, go join a team you support. Don’t waste the church’s time and money trying to fight for authority you don’t have. God won’t bless your efforts if you’re driving in a different direction than your pastor. Better than leaving, ask God to change your heart and allow you to support the team he’s placed you on.
With that said, let’s dive into a few things you can do to build a quality worship team.
Investing in Your Worship Team
In addition to understanding your purpose, identifying resources will save you a lot of time in building your worship team. What’s your budget? If you don’t pay musicians, do you have a budget to invest in your team somehow? Snacks, lunches, gifts, etc.
What books have you read? Are there some available that you could read but haven’t yet?
Could you and your team go to a conference?
Is there someone on your staff that can help you—like an elder who can support you in prayer?
What things can you do to build your worship team that cost no money? Identify the things that will help you as you build your team.
Do you have an administrative assistant? If not, who in your church could help you for 10 hours a week as a volunteer?
Spend some time thinking about what you’ll need to build your team. I’ve always been a fan of job descriptions and semi-annual reviews. Everyone on our team has a job description, no matter if you lead worship, play drums, or operate a camera. Job descriptions are a relatively overlooked resource that can add immense value to your team. Reviews clarify expectations and help people know where they stand. Most people like reviews. If you don’t, either you aren’t doing a good job or the form your church uses for reviews isn’t helpful. I love receiving and giving reviews, and the people on my team love them also. No one likes wondering if they’re doing a good job or not. If you’re not motivated to do good work anymore, find someone or something that will light you up.
Building Worship Team Momentum
Many never spend the time to articulate goals. People don’t just stumble into success accidentally. God births an idea in someone’s heart or mind. What will you do with this idea? How will you cultivate it until it grows into reality? Write your goals down and then find out how you will get from point A to point B. Everything worth anything takes work. Write goals together with your worship team. Ask them what they’d like the team to be doing and what they’d like the team to look like. Dreaming together is oxygen. Make sure your goals are specific. It’s not enough to say that you want to have 50 new volunteers in 2015. What are their roles? What will they do? How will you recruit and develop them? How will this team interact with other teams?
Another way to build momentum is giving other people credit. No one likes the guy who takes all the credit, so go overboard the opposite direction. Be generous. One of the nastiest emotions, and the most human, is pride. Ego. The best team leaders I know are ones who highlight members of their team—never drawing attention to themselves.
Quality has a way of advertising for itself. Most of the great restaurants I eat at come from recommendations. I stumble on a great place now and then, but when I go to a new town I ask people who have been there where to eat. Worship leaders, musicians, lighting techs, video producers, you name it—they all talk. Their world is really small. Word gets out and travels fast.
A friend of mine took over a church in the area and started making some changes. When he started calling around to find a fill-in drummer for a Sunday, he was surprised that everyone said no. He finally asked the 4th or 5th guy, “I’ve called several people to fill in and everyone says no, what’s going on? Is it me?” The drummer replied, “No, it’s your church! The previous worship leader treated everyone poorly. He wasn’t prepared for rehearsals, was aloof, and condescending. He didn’t follow through on commitments.” It took my friend some time to overcome the stigma, and today I hear people love being a part of his team.
Since word travels, if you’re building your worship team in the right way, you will attract talented people. It’s a byproduct of good leadership.
If you’re finding yourself in a spot where you just don’t know what to do, spend some time working through the following questions:
- Where have I given up on my worship team?
- Where have I given up on my church?
- Where have I given up on myself?
- Where have I undermined the worship team I lead?
- Where have I undermined the team I am on?
Most importantly, ask God what he wants you to know about your team, depend on him for direction and strength. Finally, “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 ESV)