I’ve always wondered how much people know about the challenges worship leaders face in leading a team and ushering people into the presence of God week in, week out.
Over the years of leading a worship ministry, I’ve tried my best to communicate to our congregation and leadership the huge sacrifices that worship leaders make in order to ensure that the team is ready every week. Being a worship leader is one of the few ministries in a church service that requires leadership with a team, the congregation and then co-leadership with the pastor/s. Therefore it is one of the most challenging but also rewarding leadership roles in a church. Over the years I’ve tried to understand how best to lead the Worship Team, the Congregation and co-lead with the Leadership. This week I’ll share some thoughts around leading The Worship Team:
The Worship Team
The worship team is a group of people. The first thing I kept being reminded of is that the team is made of people. These are ordinary people with ordinary challenges that everyone face. As a leader it is important to remind yourself that the people in team have needs and not just talents/gifting. I found myself in the beginning years of leadership looking primarily at gifting/talent because of the function of the worship team but quickly found that if the needs of these people were not being addressed, the talent/gifting would never operate in its fullness. So I asked myself this question, “What do they need?”
Now I know that many have various needs but I would like to suggest that I found the following to be the general needs in the worship teams that I led over the years.
I quickly realised that coming together as a team and just running through some songs was not growing people spiritually. Spiritual growth comes through praying together and sharing the Word of God together.
Col 3: 16 “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
As a Worship Leader, making time for prayer and sharing is so important as it builds the spiritual maturity of the team and brings everyone into alignment with purpose and function.
In a group of diverse people, relationships don’t just happen. Someone has to cultivate an atmosphere and culture for people to feel free to build relationships. The Worship Leader therefore has to be a relational person in order to help the team to build relationally. Making time for relationships to build can be taxing as it’s not always possible to do that at a rehearsal or a Sunday morning before the worship starts. It takes a get together, a supper or a day at the beach to help teams develop relationships. I tried to plan a social event at least once a quarter for the team to be able to relate outside of the rehearsal or service. However building an atmosphere for relationships can happen every week in the way a leader leads. A relational leader allows time for people to chat to him/her and each other. This again can take away time from rehearsals if one is not careful and intentional, however giving 10mins can do much in creating that relational atmosphere.
Everyone wants to grow in their skill. A Worship Leader can identify which areas each member wants and needs to grow in regarding their skill. A skilled musician/vocalist can give much more and flow much more than an unskilled music/vocalist. The beauty of skill is that it can be developed and the more the person wants to develop, the quicker they develop. A wise leader builds a hunger for growth and then motivates the person to seek after that growth. I remember clearly having to ask team members to consider taking on another instrument as they just hit a ceiling with their skill. I’ve found that one of the common reasons why people leave Worship Teams is that they are just hit boredom with their skill and that no development has taken place for a long time. So motivate your team members to grow in their skill and to get the necessary help for them to grow.
I love this quote by Author, John Maxwell, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” Be sure to lead by example with regards to development of skills.
Psalm 78:72 “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.”
Next week I’ll share some thoughts on leading The Congregation. I would love to hear from you so feel free to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org