by Kelsie Saison
It takes a tremendous amount of time, effort, and energy to build, train, and lead a worship team. Dealing with our imperfections as we seek to develop the level of praise, honor, and reverence that God deserves can be challenging. To add pressure to the pot, excellent and effective worship is not only commanded by God but has the power to attract non-believers, inspire action, and change lives.
Here are a few practical tips to help establish a healthy and effective worship team:
1. Know Your God
“As the deer pants for streams of water,
So my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?”
King David knew what it was like to consistently crave God’s presence. His soul panted and thirsted for God. He lived every day for the knowledge of the Father. As worshippers, we need to cultivate this same desperation in our own lives. When we get to know the God we serve—who He is, His character, His will, His power, His dominion over the earth, and His intimate, unchanging love for us—worship becomes our only natural response.
In order to be effective as a worship team, it is pertinent that every member engages in daily personal devotional time.
2. Know Your Vision
Knowing who we worship helps us realize why and where we worship. These why’s and where’s are then communicated through a vision statement. An effective vision statement answers the questions, “Why do we worship this way?” and “Where do we want to go?” When dreaming up a vision for your team, first and foremost make sure it aligns with God’s Word and the overall vision of your specific church. This vision, once defined, should be the driving force shaping your worship team policies, goals, sets, etc. It will also shape the way your team interacts with each other and with the congregation.
3. Know Your Congregation
Once your worship team catches the vision, it becomes everyone’s job to communicate that same vision to the congregation. More often than not, getting our congregations involved requires stepping outside of our comfort zones. We must realize that once we set foot on stage, our worship turns from personal—“me and God”—to congregational—“we and God.” Encourage your team to be vulnerable, invite the congregation in, and trust God for direction.
Another aspect of this “know” is building personal relationships with your congregation. It becomes easy to hide behind the safety of a worship team. However, leading people into worship is a very personal exercise that involves mutual trust, grace, and love. The more your team does life with the church, the more they will love it, and the more they will know how to properly serve it.
4. Know Yourself
While it’s important to know your congregation, it’s equally important to know yourself. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses as individuals will determine how best to function as a team.
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts,
but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.”
—1 Corinthians 12:12
This includes knowing how much time you and your team can commit to weekly worship opportunities. If your musicians continually overcommit, it causes burnout which may lead to sub-par worship experiences for all parties. On the flip side, if members want to give more to the team, provide them with opportunities to do so. Encourage your team to give all they can but remain aware of their individual limitations.
5. Know Your Music
“Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.”
It’s not enough to simply know yourself; you must grow yourself. Listen to music, learn a new instrument, and read books. Know where you are in your craft and take yourself to the next level. More specifically, know the music in your worship set. Sunday rehearsal should not be the first time you and your team have looked over the charts and listened to the music. Communicate the set in a timely manner and practice, practice, practice!
6. Be in the Know
Some other items that should be communicated on a regular basis are team schedules, prayer requests, team announcements, and church announcements. It’s also vitally important to communicate the team vision, policies, and roles on a regular basis. The team needs to know what’s expected of them. They need to know answers to questions like; “What is expected of me as a worship leader?,” “What is expected of me as a band leader?,” “How often should I serve?,” and “Why am I serving in the first place?” Effective communication helps your worshippers achieve a sense of ownership in their roles and inspires them to execute the vision as a team.
7. Know Your Team
Building comradery is one of the most effective ways to shape your worship team into a community people want to be a part of. Get to know and love each other. Pray for one another. Keep each other accountable. Spend time as a group outside of rehearsals and services. Have fun together! Build a safe place where your team can grow together as musicians and as Christians. This cultivated rapport will eventually become the key ingredient that attracts new recruits and brings your team to a greater level of engagement and growth.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another:
Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”