While most worship teams are composed of volunteers, the weight of this ministry should still hold a high level of accountability concerning preparation. All individual members should be prepared before practice and not use the group time as a session to cram.
Corporate cramming sessions serve as an inconsiderate waste of time and an absolute stressful environment for all team members.
Many team members know the disappointing feeling that accompanies a practice with no agenda. When the leader is unprepared, the team is unprepared. As the leader searches for equipment, scrounges for notes, and stretches for explanations, the entire team is tense and each member leaves anxious about the upcoming worship gathering for which they feel no more prepared than before.
Many team leaders know the frustrating feeling that accompanies a practice with no preparatory measures. When obvious transitions are neglected, simple movements are absent, and clear instructions are disregarded, a team leader is ready to quit. While he knows everyone is busy, he really wants each team member to take this seriously.
How can they help prepare others if they are not prepared themselves?
To make sure that practice is efficient and as stress-free as possible, both the leader and the team members need to make certain preparatory commitments to one another.
3 Preparations for the Worship Leader
The worship leader should commit to:
- Clear Assignments – It is rare for a team member to come more prepared than what you have prepared him or her. If you are going to lead, than lead with zeal (Rom. 12:8). When you send out requests, send out pertinent details concerning who is leading a part, offering a prayer, or reading a passage. The more precise you are with the group allows the members to receive clear expectations, enjoy smooth practices, and interact with fewer distractions.
- Sufficient Leeway – As a pastoral leader, your job is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:12). In order to do that, you need to give them a sufficient amount of leeway time to prepare. For years, I operated as a last-minute leader because I could pull certain things off on the fly. I was restricting followers to use their gifts because they all were not wired to serve like that in that capacity. When I realized that I was hindering their ministry, I changed. I established written rules concerning how many days out would I have all assignments in team members’ hands. As a result of my discipline, I noticed an incredible shift in their quality of work.
- Thorough Content – While you don’t need to eliminate the option for creative flexibility when the team comes together, do as much as you can to provide thorough content when you send information out to team members. The more thorough you can deliver your content, the more thorough the team can prepare for rehearsal. While these things may seem relatively small, your work done in a heartily manner is an offering to the Lord (Col. 3:23).
3 Preparations for the Worship Team
The worship team should commit to:
- Critical Listening – The manner in which a team member prepares for worship practice is immensely important. As individuals, we are to make the best use of the time because the days are evil (Eph. 5:16). If we fail to utilize our own time wisely, we run the risk of taking time away from others as well. The best way to get the most out of the group’s rehearsal time is if members will individually engage in critical listening before practice. Critical listening means you are diagramming the song so that you grasp your individual part and how your contribution fits as a part within the whole song.
- Focused Preparation – After you have listened critically to the music and diagrammed your part, now is the time for you to work on your contribution. Multitasking will not be sufficient. A harvest doesn’t come without preparation (Prov. 6:8). If you commit to having a focused amount of preparation time, you will be able to come to rehearsal primed and ready to go. Make your parts feel comfortable so you can focus on leading others in worship rather than worrying about missing a note.
- Selfless Attitude – As you prepare, remember that we are called to put others needs above our own needs (Phil. 2:3-4). As you look through other members’ assignments, can you rejoice over how each one will be used or are you questioning why you weren’t asked to cover something particular? Can you look forward with anticipation to their offerings or just judge with degradation concerning the lack of your opportunities? While your leader isn’t perfect, remember that God has placed that leader over your team. As you submit to the leader’s direction, realize they have to give an account for how he watched over you. “Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Heb. 13:17).
Excerpt from 5 Worship Team Killers
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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