One of the essential ingredients for vibrant and engaging worship is having a band that is spiritually healthy. The last thing we want as worship leaders is to lead a group of musicians who have no passion or excitement for what God is doing in their lives. One of the roles as worship leaders is to pastor our team. We want to be a guiding spiritual influence to help them draw closer to Christ and live their life to the full. While many variables that influence someone’s spiritual health are out of our control, there are some practical pastoral things we as worship leaders can do to inspire them to a deeper devotion to God. My hunch is that as they become more spiritually healthy, they will have a greater desire to pursue excellence in worship ministry because their heart is in the right place. They will also be more committed and reliable. Here are a few pastoral things I do to help foster a spiritually healthy environment for my band.
1. Get to know them.
It is of utmost importance to spend time with your band members outside of rehearsal and Sundays. You do not need to be best friends, but you do need to make time to hang out with them outside of church, so they feel known by their leader. Ask them about their life story, faith journey, and what they are passionate about besides worship ministry. You can get to know them better in a one-on-one setting as well as during a group social event. Having people over to your house for a barbecue or dinner is an effective way for them to feel connected to you.
2. Pray with them and for them.
Make time during rehearsal or in between services to pray for and with your band members. Who knows? One of them could be going through a crisis and would be significantly moved if their team gathered around and laid hands on them in prayer. Ask your band members in one-on-one conversations how you can be praying for them. Leaders pray. Pray with and for your band.
3. Read through a book on worship together.
There are some fantastic books available on the topic of worship leading. Many of them are written to function as a weekly devotional for worship bands. Walking through a thoughtful book on worship can help your band mature in their understanding of the meaning and purpose of worship.
4. Be there for them in times of celebration and times of sorrow.
Keep track of your band member’s birthdays and other life events. A simple happy birthday phone call or even a little gift can go a long way in showing them how much you care. Hopefully, you know your band well enough that you can also be there for them when they experience trials, suffering, and pain. Do not feel like you have to say something deeply profound and spiritual. They simply need to know you are there and you are praying for them.
5. Show interest in their vocation.
It’s easy for ministry leaders to get so caught up in their ministry that they forget their volunteers have day jobs outside of the church. Often you will discover they are involved in some pretty fascinating stuff. The church I am the interim worship leader at has a lot of congregants who are aerospace engineers. I love asking them what they worked on during the week. Most of it’s classified so they can’t say much, but it’s cool knowing they are working on building satellites and figuring out how to get to Mars. In most cases, showing interest in your band member’s vocation will make them feel appreciated beyond volunteering at church.
6. Encourage them to join a small group.
Your church probably has a program for discipleship like small groups, life groups, or even classes. Encourage your volunteers to participate. You will need to lead by example, so make sure you are a part of a small group before telling them they need to be in one. Some volunteers want to treat worship band like a small group. I think this is unrealistic, especially if you intend to grow your band and worship ministry. A small group requires that everyone in the group meets on a weekly basis. Hopefully, you have enough worship band volunteers that not everyone plays every week. Tell your band that the best avenue for them to find close community in the church is in the small group program.
7. Encourage them to attend church when they are not playing in the band.
It’s tempting for some volunteers not to attend church at all when they are not singing, playing, or running tech. Remind them of the importance of participating in worship even when they are not in the band. Not only will it help them grow spiritually, but it will give them insight into how they can improve after hearing and seeing the band from the congregation’s perspective. Maybe they will notice things from this perspective that sound bad or are distracting. It will help them improve the way they rehearse and play on the weekend.
As the worship pastor, it’s important not to forget to pastor your band. They want your guidance and leadership, not just in music but also in their spirituality. A healthy band will help foster an engaging and vibrant worship experience.