How to build a committed worship team Part 1 - Relationships

This is part one of a 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.

You have probably heard the saying “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” For this context, I would change it to “People do not care about your worship ministry until they know how much you care about them.” I’ll be honest with you, as a younger worship leader, this was the most challenging aspect of leading for me. I’m more of a task-oriented rather than a relational type of person. That’s why I needed to make a plan for how to love my team not based on how I feel or what came naturally to me but based on the fact that if I was going to be an effective leader, these relational connections needed to happen. Here are four ways you can help foster meaningful relationships with your band members to encourage their commitment to worship ministry.

1. Pray for your team

First, you should be praying for your team. Regularly pray for your band members to grow in their faith, for the well-being of their families, that they find meaning in their work, and for any other requests they have made known to you. You should be aware of what’s going on in their lives so that you know how to pray specifically for them. Whether it is in person or via email, let them know they can always send requests your way. When you do pray for them, let them know! Maybe not every time, but enough for them to feel loved, appreciated, and cared for.

2. Say "Thank You"

Next, make it a regular practice to say thank you to your worship team members. They are sacrificing a lot of time and energy to help you. Try to make it a point to say some brief word of thanks or appreciation every Sunday after the service. You can even write them a handwritten thank you card and send it in the mail. In our digitized society, that type of "thank you" will stand out.

3. Schedule One-on-One Meetings

My favorite way to develop relationships with my worship team is by scheduling one-on-ones with them. Usually, I will treat them to coffee or lunch. If the person is of the opposite sex, I do not recommend hanging out one-on-one for the sake of everyone’s emotional safety. Be smart about how you spend time with people outside of church. During these one-on-ones, ask them a lot of questions about their story, their interests, their work, their family, etc. Make it a priority to get to know them more. When people are known, they feel loved and cared for, and they will trust you more as a leader. The moment you feel tension with someone in your band, I recommend spending quality time with that person as soon as possible and I think you’ll be amazed at how restorative that time can be as you better understand one another.

4. Develop team relationships

Finally, you will want your team members to develop relationships with one another. That is why I recommend coordinating social events for them to get to know one another and have fun outside of church. If possible, invite them over to your house, so they feel like they know both you and the rest of the team. You do not want your team to feel like they play in a band with strangers. Make sure there is the opportunity for them to develop friendships with one another.

As you pray for your team, thank them, spend one-on-one time with them, and host social events for them, I promise you this relational investment is going to pay huge dividends for your ministry. Of course, you do not have to be everyone’s best friend. What you do need to do is try your best to have at least some meaningful interaction with your team members on a regular basis. It will be the number one way to gain their trust and commitment to the ministry. When people know their leaders and their community care about them, they are way more likely to put in the time and effort to prepare for worship. Your band members will know if they fail to do so, they are not letting down a stranger but they are letting down a family, and no one wants to do that.

What else have you found to be an effective way to fostering stronger relationships on your worship team? Share your thoughts in the comments.

How to prepare for speaking during a worship set

Sometimes it is appropriate for worship leaders to share thoughts, prayers, or words of encouragement during worship.

Despite their ability to sing, many worship leaders feel intimidated or terrified to speak to their church. As an introvert, I felt this way when I first led worship. Over the past decade of leading worship, my confidence and ability to speak in between songs have steadily increased to the point it is something I look forward to rather than dreading. Here is a simple process I use to prepare myself to speak during a worship set.


One way to continually grow as a worship leader is regularly spending time studying the Bible and theology. While studying music in college, I was inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach. Everyone has heard of him and his music. Most do not know that he was just as serious about being a pastor as he was a musician. He held biblical studies and theology in high regard. Learning this about Bach helped me realize that as a worship leader, I must invest time learning more about God’s word and theology to better lead people in worship. The more I learn, the larger the pool of biblical and theological knowledge I have to pull from when I seek to encourage the congregation during worship.

To begin with incorporating more study into your life, here are some resources. For biblical studies, find a good study bible. I love using the ESV Study Bible and NIV Study Bible. As someone who has taken a lot of biblical studies courses in college and seminary, these study Bibles are the CliffsNotes version of everything you need to know about scripture.

Here are couple book recommendations to learn more theology. First, I recommend Wayne Grudem’s Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith. This book is a concise, systematic theology that will help you connect what the Bible says with what we believe as Christians. Next, I would recommend pretty much any of N.T. Wrights books such as Simply Christian, Surprised by Hope, and How God Became King.

It’s not hard to find a lot of excellent resources today on the Bible and theology. Take advantage of those resources. As you begin to reflect on what you would like to say to your congregation, you will have a vast pool of knowledge and insight from which you can pull.


Each week during your worship planning process, make time for reflection upon the theme of the sermon, the songs you have selected, and the flow of the service. For a lot of churches, the sermon of the week or series determines the focus and direction of the congregation. Hopefully, this informs your song selection and any words you say in between songs. Spend time reflecting on the theme of upcoming sermons with your pastor and think of ways to support that theme in your worship planning and leading. Next, reflect upon the lyrics of the songs your church will be singing. Do a little bit of research to understand the theology and meaning of the song. From there you can teach the congregation something they may not have caught or understood when singing it. Then consider the flow of the service and what type of words are appropriate if you want to say something at the beginning or towards the end of the service. At the start of the service, it makes sense to invite the congregation into worship. Maybe read a Psalm and give a brief thought on why the church gathers for worship. At the end of the service, you can reinforce the sermon and tie it into the closing song. Just a few minutes of reflecting on these things will help you identify strategic and appropriate was to speak to the congregation between songs.


Within your planning process, take the time to pray. Ask God to guide you as you plan and lead worship, as well as guide your words when you speak during song transitions. I do not have any specific instruction on what this prayer time will look like as it is different for everyone. The key is to place yourself in a non-distracting environment and spend time listening to God.

Script and memorize

Once you know what you want to say and where you want to say it in the worship time, spend some time scripting and memorizing your words. Especially if you are new to public speaking, writing a transcript will allow you to craft your words with intentionality. Since you are only saying a few brief thoughts, what you write down should only be a few sentences. After finalizing what you want to say, read it out loud a few times and memorize it. Practice it until you can speak if from your heart without hesitation. Since it is going to be brief, this should not be difficult to do.


When you rehearse with your band, practice speaking in between song transitions during rehearsal. Ask one of your other band members to play softly in the background. If you are a solo worship leader, practice playing softly and speaking at the same time. Background music is not always necessary, especially if you have prepared what you want to say and you are articulate.


By now you should feel well-prepared to say a few words to your congregation in between songs in your worship service. When the time comes to speak, be articulate and clear. Make eye contact with your congregation as that adds a great personal touch.

Ask for feedback

Sometime after the service, ask your pastor or another leader in your church for feedback. Since you pastor’s job requires a lot public speaking, they will probably have constructive criticism on how you can improve in both your content and delivery.


I also want to mention a couple of caveats. First, make sure the leadership at your church has given you the authority to give these brief speaking moments during worship. You do not want to catch them off guard. Maybe have them look over what you are going to say beforehand. Second, keep these speaking moments brief. Your congregation does not want to listen to two sermons. Always err on the side of keeping your thoughts brief.

For those who are new to worship leading or speaking during a worship service, I hope these tips gave you a bit more direction on how to speak in between songs. You’ll notice that the bulk of the work begins long before you speak. The best insight from worship leaders come from a long time spent studying scripture and theology, reflecting on your church’s season and worship flow, and finally putting in the time behind the scenes to articulate and practice what you are going to say. If you’ve been leading worship for a while and you enjoy speaking during transitions, what other words of wisdom do you have to add? Please share them in the comments below!

5 ways to love church volunteers

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the church.

Have you ever took a moment to consider what your ministry would look like without them? You would be a one-man band, there would be no child care, there would be no host team to greet visitors, and all of your production gear would just sit there unable to amplify your voice, throw lyrics on the screens, or set the mood with lighting. Without volunteers there would be no ministry.

Unfortunately, it's really easy to take volunteers for granted, especially the most reliable ones who serve every single week. As mundane as it may seem, some of the most valuable work you can do as a leader is show your appreciation for your volunteers in small but tangible ways. Make it a part of your weekly work schedule to reach out to at least two or three them with kind gestures of appreciation. Sometimes it’s difficult to come up with ideas for what to do, so here are 5 ways you can love a volunteer that do not require much effort or time.

  1. Thank them after every service - This is probably the easiest way to show appreciation. After your volunteers have slaved away for you for two or more hours on Sunday morning, try to tell them thank you before they leave. You don’t have to say much, just a “Thanks for your time and the great job you did…”

  2. Write a thank you note - Order a pack of thank you cards and some stamps and send them an old-school handwritten letter. You could also write them a thank you note via email, but my guess is people have a greater appreciation for taking the time to write it by hand. Leave the box of thank you cards on your desk or some place where you’ll see them regularly and be reminded to use them.

  3. Take them to coffee or lunch - This cost money, but try to have funds allocated in your ministry budget to do this. Spending time to get to know your volunteers outside of church at a local restaurant or coffee shop will really go a long way in showing appreciation for them and building trust. If the volunteer is the opposite sex, I highly recommend inviting their spouse, or bring along your spouse. Just make sure you are never in questionable situations.

  4. Brag about them on social media - Find creative ways to share how awesome they are on social media. Take photos of them while they are serving at church and then post them on Facebook or Instagram and write some sort of caption that talks about how awesome they are.

  5. Ask how you can pray for them, pray for them, and tell them you’re praying for them. Go out of your way to ask them how you can pray for them, record those things in a format so you can recall them later, and make it a part of your weekly routine to pray for them. If you do the other four things in this list and develop a meaningful friendship with your volunteers, I think you’ll find praying for them something you look forward to doing.

I’m sure there are a billion other creative ways to show appreciation for your volunteers. What else would you add to this list?