Building the Team
Whether you're building a team from scratch or simply filling a spot for a 2nd keyboard player, you need to know what you're looking for. If we're honest, we'd all love to have a worship team built out of little Chris Tomlins and Joel Houstons. But that's not realistic at all. So, what governs your decision making process when deciding who makes it or not? Is it all about musical talent? Do you take a mediocre bass player whose heart is absolutely locked in with God's vision for your ministry? Perhaps the most important question is this: Do they have to be a Christian to serve in your worship ministry? Some say yes, some say no. (Bob Kauflin offers his thoughts here. Greg Scheer also has a thread of practical suggestions for this in chapter 2 of his book, The Art of Worship.) These are all important questions that must be considered before ever beginning to build your team.
Once you're ready to begin the team building (or simply role-filling) process, here are some steps that will help guide you.
* Recruiting: Finding faces to fill roles within the ministry. Everybody's got to start somewhere. And let's be honest: recruiting & discovering potential team members isn't always the easiest task. Below I've included some practical steps to help assist you in recruiting your team.
1. Pray - Too often overlooked, this step is essential. Pray that God would send willing worship leaders who are excited to be involved with your music ministry.
2. Advertise - Are you looking to recruit within your only within your church membership role, or will you be looking outside the church (and in the public as well?) Whatever your target group, here are some proven methods of advertisement...
- Flyers - Old fashioned? Yes, maybe. But people still notice them. It's a really easy (and inexpensive) way to advertise what it is your looking for, accompanied by the specific details and instructions.
- Social Media - We all know the power of social media. Your audience increases exponentially the more people "Like" and Retweet your status updates.
- Radio - This is a viable option for those bigger churches/organizations out there. Though not cost friendly, one has to imagine that there would be a great response to the ad.
- 'Announce' it! - Whether your church uses the stereotypical "announcement time" or whether its done through a slideshow, this is the best way to reach those who are already involved in your church and let them know what you need.
- Contact your local Director of Missions, your State Convention or others that you feel might help you, whether inside or outside your denomination. These organizations have great networking capabilities and could potentially help you find just who you're looking for.
* Tryouts: Making the most of your time & theirs. Now that you've advertised, lobbied, recruited, and done everything imaginable to find every available musician/worship leader...will you be ready when they respond? Our next logical step here is a tryout of some sort. This process will always vary from place to place. Maybe it's easiest for you to do this face-to-face. You might find it best to invite a new "recruit" to simply sit in on a practice and read thru rhythm charts at rehearsal (to survey their musical talent), followed by a face to face interview with selected members of the worship team. Do what works for you and your church and your ministry. And be intentional about it.
Personally, I've found this model from Elevation Church to be an ideal tryout process for larger churches. Maybe you could piece some of their ideas together to come up with the perfect formula for your next tryout process. Greg Scheer also offers great advice and ideas on tryouts in The Art of Worship (see Chapter 2).
What is expected?
Once you've accomplished the great task of recruiting and trying out numerous musicians of all sorts for your worship team, you now need to let them know whats expected of them. In some cases, you might have already covered this within the tryout time itself, or maybe even prior to it. Regardless of where or when its done, its important. Again, this is one of those things that will vary from church to church. Because of denominations and doctrines, it is certainly understandable that what works for one church might not work so well for the next. The best thing to do here might be to examine what others are doing and build on their methods to customize your expectations for your team. As you will see below, many churches make the guidelines for worship team and choir members available to the public. If its not posted online, don't be afraid to email worship leaders from bigger churches to ask for direction. Many of them (I have found) are always glad to help.
Things you may want to outline:
1. Practice/rehearsal guidelines
2. Lifestyle/Commitment Expectations
Check out some of these examples of worship team guidelines & expectations:
One final thing: Don't be afraid to let your team know where you stand. In my experience, when people see your passion, your organization, and your gifting for this calling on your life and the ministry in which you serve, they respect you. As Paul said in Ephesians 4:1 "...I urge you to life a life worthy of the calling you have received." God has placed you here for a purpose. Love and live and serve for Him while you're here. Do it unapologetically, grounding & burrowing yourself in the rich Word of God.
Bringing in "the new guy"
How do you introduce new musicians into your worship team? Most parents wouldn't throw their kids in the deep end of a pool and walk away expecting the kid to be able to swim like a fish (given they had no prior experience.) It's no different in our worship ministries! We can't just bring in 'the new guy' and expect them to function perfectly in an unfamiliar environment, especially if its a young person. We must intentionally foster and reach out to the new faces on our team, as a team.
Paul Baloche (in all his worship leading wisdom) has blessed the world wide web with this great instructional video for integrating new members on the worship team. Have a gander!
As you just saw, Paul has some great suggestions for us. We must never forget that we have all been the new guy/girl at some point or another. (don't you remember how excited you were to learn anything and everything your mind--or fingers--could contain?!) Let's do all we can to help build the confidence and musicianship of those who are new to leading in worship.
Discipling & growing your team
*Discipleship in your worship ministry
This is a topic you cannot afford to overlook. Serving alongside other believers in a worship ministry brings along tremendous potential for discipleship. From what I have observed, when a worship leader takes time to disciple the worship team, it pays dividends. Teach your team not just "how to do it" but "why we do it." I've included a few pointers below to help give you some direction.
- Do a 'song study' - Many of us are always introducing new music to our teams and congregations. Why not take a few moments to dive into the history and texture of the song before we begin to rehearse it. You might be surprised at how differently your team members will lead as opposed to when you don't do this.
- Pray together as a team - I've seen this done well, yet I've also heard of this being done poorly. Pray together, yes. But remain conscious of the precious, little time you have together while doing so. Taking an hour just to go over prayer requests and let everyone on the team pray might not always be the best usage of your time. Use discretion.
- One-on-one - We all know that real discipleship happens face to face. You can't disciple anyone from a distance. Find time (in your busy schedule) to meet with your team members one-on-one...even if its once every 3 months. My only caution here is to guard against one-on-one time with the opposite sex. Gentleman, assign some of your Godly ladies from your team to disciple the other females. (and vice versa for the lady worship leaders!)
*Evaluation in your worship ministry
After being so diligent in your search process for great, worship leading musicians, don't miss this important step. Develop a strategy of evaluation for your team. Set goals, and utilize the evaluations to help move your team (as a whole) toward meeting those goals. Praise them dearly for what they're doing right, and correct them gently on areas you feel they might need to improve upon.
Here's Elevation's method of evaluation: http://www.elevationworship.com/bands/growing-through-evaluation/
*Fellowship in your worship ministry
Maybe you'll choose to take the new lead guitarist out for ice cream after church is over on Sunday. Maybe you'll take all of the vocalists & choir on a retreat for the first two days of the weekend. Throw a Christmas party at your house. Eat breakfast together once a week. Whatever it looks like, fellowship is important. It WILL make a difference.
Go get 'em!
Now that we've covered all this information, what are you waiting on? Get started! God bless you in your efforts as you seek to glorify Him through this beautiful gift of music!