Finding people to fill all the required positions in your band or production team can be difficult. It is especially tough when you lead worship at a small to mid-sized church. Here are four strategies to find potential new members for your worship team. I say “potential” because in these early phases of recruitment you do not know if they are going to be a good fit. That will require getting to know them and having them go through your audition process. Here we will focus only on how to start having more conversations with potential band members.
Be proactive and ask around.
New worship team members do not magically appear out of thin air. You must be proactive in the process of finding them. Before and after the worship service on Sunday, you should be interacting with the congregation. As you have casual conversations with people, ask them if they have any musical experience or interest in joining the worship band. If they do not, ask if they have any friends or family members who do. You are bound to find people interested in serving if you consistently ask.
Partner with the assimilation team.
Most churches have an assimilation process. Hopefully, your church has a system for helping attendees or members get involved by serving. Make sure that “worship team” and “production team” are on the list of options for people to serve. You will want the assimilation pastor or person overseeing that process to tell people that some or all positions for worship volunteers will require an audition process. Being able to lead songs in front of the congregation requires a certain level of musical competence that serving at the coffee bar does not.
Identify and train young musicians.
My favorite way to find new worship team members is to identify and train young musicians with little experience but high potential. Some high school students are dying to learn how to play guitar and sing. You have that knowledge and can easily share it with them. It is going to require a fair amount of work on your part, but it is worth it when you see them grow as musicians. Who knows? You could be the catalyst to help them discover a calling to worship ministry. Encourage these students to take lessons to develop their voice or instrument. Give them lessons yourself if you have the time. You could get paid to build your worship band.
Finally, you may want to network with musicians who you can pay modest stipends to play in your band. Ideally, they would be Christians and have an understanding of the purpose of worship music. Maybe they are stellar worship volunteers at another church, but they would not mind playing at your church once a month or every other week. I have had a lot of great experience working with these types of musicians. Sometimes contracting musicians is tough, especially if your church has no budget for it. Explain to your leadership how helpful it would be for the quality of worship to have a hundred or two hundred dollars a month budgeted for contract musicians. I would expect to pay anywhere from $25-$75 per service depending on their experience and skill level.
If you consistently network with other musicians and get to know the people in your church, you will have a steady stream of people who are either interested in serving in the band or available for hire for a modest stipend. Are there any other techniques or strategies you have used to find new team members? Let me know in the comments.