This is part three of our three-part series on “How to build a committed worship team.” One of the most difficult challenges worship leaders face is building and developing a team of volunteers who are willing to put in the time and effort to achieve excellence in worship ministry. That's why I've created this series. I want to give you actionable tips for building a committed team.
In this article we are going to discuss ways in which you can improve your preparation for leading worship in order to increase your team’s commitment and pursuit of excellence. Here are four actionable tips to make this happen.
1. Lead by example
First, if you desire for your band to be committed to putting in practice time, showing up to rehearsal on time, and pushing themselves to achieve excellence, you must lead by example. If you are showing up late to rehearsal, and if you do not know how the song is supposed to go, why would your team ever want to care about committing to excellence? While you do not need to be a perfect musician, you need to make it obvious to your team that you are trying your absolute best to be prepared every week and that you are pushing yourself to grow in your skills every week. I recently talked with a pastor of a church that is only 10 years old and has 12,000 people attending multiple campuses on the weekend. This church has 100 people on staff and 20 of them are interns. The paid staff all feel like they are working their dream job and the interns have all committed 9 months of working for free. I asked this pastor “How did you create a culture at this church in which everyone one staff, paid and unpaid, are so committed to their jobs and doing their jobs with excellence.” He then told me that it’s one thing to have certain values for your organization, but ultimately the health of your team’s culture hinges on the example set by the leaders. Whether you are a worship leader with a team of 5 people or a leading a mega church of 12,000 people, the principle is still the same. You set the ultimate example for your team. It’s not easy to go the extra mile to over-prepare and put 110% into your work, but I think you’ll be amazed at the momentum of commitment and excellence your team will build when you consistently put in the hard work to set the example of what it looks like to be prepared to lead worship.
2. Respect the time of your volunteers
The second crucial aspect of preparation is respect the time of your volunteers. Many of your volunteers are giving up time with family, time they could be working, or time they could be relaxing to come help make your ministry possible. The worst thing you can do for your band is lead inefficient rehearsals that waste a lot of time. Do everything in your power to make sure your band has everything they need to rehearse at home, the chord charts you prepare for them are accurate, the sound system is functioning properly, and you yourself are the expert on all parts of the song so that you can give them clear direction if they have any questions. If you hap-hazardly plan and prepare for worship, not only will your volunteers do the same, but this will also feel disrespectful to them for the time they have sacrificed to be a part of the ministry. This sense of disrespect will then lead to a lack of commitment. If you do not care about their time, why should they care about your ministry
3. Utilize worship training videos
The next way to improve preparation and increase commitment is to utilize the plethora of worship training videos that are available for you today. Here are a few different resources you and your band should be using. First, look for tutorial and training videos on youtube. As you know, Youtube has so much free content, and while some of it is garbage, there is a lot of helpful videos out there on how to play the drum, piano, and guitar parts for nearly every worship song. If you know you band members need extra help with their instrument, send them the Youtube links to helpful videos. The second type of resource available to you and your band are paid tutorial videos. Resources like Worship Online and The Worship Initiative have excellent tutorial videos on individual instrument parts that will be a huge asset for your team.
4. Offer one-on-one training and practice sessions
The final way to increase preparation in order to improve your team’s commitment is to offer them one-on-one training and practice sessions. While this will require more of your time, you will also find this to be an incredibly effective way to help your team grow as well as develop your relationships with them. I often find that the drummer has the most difficult and important job in the worship band. Everyone else can make mistakes but nothing kills a worship set quite like an off drummer. That is why if I am working with an inexperienced drummer, an experienced drummer who is new to worship, or if the band is going to play a song that has a really tricky but crucial drum part, I will strategically schedule one-on-one rehearsals with the drummer to make sure he or she knows the song well. The same can apply to any instrument or vocalist, but I find that most of the time if I can make sure the drummer is on point, everyone else will be on point. This extra rehearsal may be a day or two before the full band rehearsal and could allow you to make proper changes to the set if for some reason a key musician cannot nail their part. I also think this one-on-one time is another effective way to show your musicians that you care about them and their progress.
Preparation is key to building a committed worship team. Do your best to lead by example, respect their time, resource them, and provide one-on-one trainings. I promise you will see them be more willing to commit and grow in excellence.