Confessions of a Recovering Unintentional Worship Pastor

I’ve been challenged as of late by a very wise and creative friend to hone my skills as a leader.  One of the things he asked me this month was: “How do you help train and develop your worship team?”


“Does it count that I took the people who recorded a worship CD last year to a Chris Tomlin concert?”

“Umm.  Yeah, that’s real good, but uh…what else have you done?”

It made me realize that since I had such quality people, I wasn’t doing anything to help encourage or develop our team intentionally.  It wasn’t that we weren’t improving and doing great things, I just wasn’t charting the course too much more than making song selections, creating service elements by my lonesome, and developing personally as a worship leader.  I wasn’t equipping.  I wasn’t intentional.

That changed last night.  Last night, we pushed practice back to 6:30 to make sure everyone (every person who has a role on Sunday as far as musicians or tech team) had time to have their gear in place and seated down front together before we began (per the merciless countdown – and yes, I’m going to start talking each week right at 6:30).  We started with some development, prayer, overview of Sunday’s services, then musicians and tech team all got in their place and went through the service.

It went great!  There was huge improvement last night on so many different levels.  We also recorded last night’s practice for our band to listen to on Planning Center over the next few days to hear what needs some work (yeah, I told them that after practice).  Talk about a humbling experience.

The only thing I was worried about doing weekly training time was not staying fresh and me scrambling for something to share each Wednesday.  So I spent a bunch of time thinking, reading, and praying about what our core worship values as a team should be.  After much work, here’s what I landed on:

  1. Humility – leading with perspective
  2. Credibility – leading with integrity
  3. Capability – leading with excellence
  4. Availability – leading with presence
  5. Unity – leading with selflessness

If our entire worship team models these traits, we will see amazing God-sized results from our ministry.  Since we have many volunteers that rotate in once a month, I had to decide how to go over these topics regularly.  My plan is to spend a month on humility – a little different focus each week, but so that every volunteer will hear that thought at least once.  Then I will move to the next value the following month and so on.  When we get to month six, I’m starting all over again with different applications but the same big ideas.  I don’t think we have anything more important that those values to constantly strive for.

I also want to post the thought from practice each week so that all our volunteers can at least be exposed to the thought.  So here goes:

Humility – leading with perspective

God seeks worshipers who worship in spirit and in truth

I had a hard time grasping this verse for a long time.  For me to truly understand what Jesus meant by this statement in John 4:23-24, I had to reverse it.  What would worship look like if it wasn’t in spirit and in truth?  What would it look like if it was in flesh and in lies?

Worship in the flesh is offering worship only when we feel like it.

Worship full of lies means singing words that our lives don’t back up.

As a worship team, we must desire to be the kind of worshipers that God himself seeks.  Worshipers who worship in spirit and in truth.

6 thoughts on “Confessions of a Recovering Unintentional Worship Pastor”

  1. Travis, This has been my prayer for a long time, but I have been more dilegent lately about covering myself in God before I do anything. I DON"T want praise and glory, I DO want everyone to see CHRIST in my life and song. I desire to be just like my heavenly Father! This is truly the prayer of my heart, my passion. Thank you for following God's lead. This is awesome! Amy 🙂

  2. Tou are doing a great job! I guess you notice when most NS attendees sing the songs you work so hard on? When they are familiar with them. Familiar or “family-like” may lend a sense of “at- homeness” in an otherwise “bigger church” where many don’t know very many. What do you think? Either way, God has blessed us w/ you.

  3. Push hard, and don't be surprised at the fire that falls from heaven, it smells sweet and changes lives. And don't be surprised at the fire from the other side, and who it comes from or who it comes through. Hint – the second kind doesn' smell so sweet……..

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