Have you found it challenging to get worship team or band members that you need for your ministry? In today's busy society with so many responsibilities pulling on people, it can be a big sacrifice to volunteer any time at all, let alone the hours needed each week to put out quality worship time on Sundays. It is something in the forefront of every worship leader's mind to make sure they have all the slots filled and a second string of vocalists in case life happens and someone can't show up. Here are a few tips to consider when looking for that next team member.
Look Past Talent to Character
I can't tell you the number of churches we have been to where I was introduced to a band member or vocalist (and sometimes even the worship leader) who was only put into that position because they visited the church and someone found out they could sing or play an instrument. I've even heard of worship leaders who were not even saved when they were given that position. It's like when we find out that someone can play a guitar we immediately think that means they need to be on the worship team. But if we don't know that person and their lifestyle or character, we could be setting them or our ministry up for trouble.
"Now also we beseech you, brethren, get to know those who labor among you [recognize them for what they are, acknowledge and appreciate and respect them all]" (1 Thess. 5:12, AMPC).
Anyone who is on the stage is immediately in the "spotlight" and becomes a role model, whether they want to be one or not. To just pluck someone from a crowd because of their talent without looking into their lifestyle to make sure that it glorifies Christ is a mistake. Wait a few months to put them into position and get to know them—the real person behind the guitar or the microphone. Someone whose heart is not yet in the right place may not understand their leadership role in ministry, and when an offense comes, it could push them away from God, because they were not mature enough to handle that role. And none of us wants that on our hands.
Do They Have a Heart of Worship?
Worship isn't just something we do in church on Sunday; it is a lifestyle. And it really should be for the people who are leading congregational worship. Don't confuse this with just a love for music and "jamming out." There is a difference between loving to play music with your friends and wanting to be in the presence of God. If you have a choice between someone who is an extremely talented guitar player and can hit all the riffs, rhythm and leads or someone who isn't as good yet, but loves to worship and has a lifestyle of worship, I would pick the second. Someone can always increase in their musical ability, and I have found that people who have a heart of worship are normally much more teachable and eager to better their abilities than the person who has already "arrived."
I would rather have three people on my worship team who really have a heart for worship that shines through their countenance during the worship set, than a dozen people who are up there for themselves. Before you sign that person up for the team, check their heart!
"And so the Lord says, 'These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote'" (Isa. 29:13, NLT).
Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
Statistics show that the majority of churches out there have less than 200 people in their congregation. In those smaller ministries, it can be slim pickings to find good worship team members, let alone any backup members. But I have ministered in several churches where it seemed there were more people on the platform than out in the congregation. When it comes to worship leading, sometimes the more is not really the merrier. Past a certain number, the platform gets crowded, and the music turns muddy. In most of these situations, there wasn't ample practice time for everyone to all be on the same page, and the result was sometimes painful to listen to!
If you are in the rare situation where you have lots of people involved in the worship ministry, think about creating two different teams for worship instead of just cramming everyone on stage all at once. It will give each team a chance to rest and be refreshed to worship in the congregation, and you will suffer less burnout from your team having to be there every single week. Then you can focus more on the quality of what you are doing.
With these three things in mind, you will have a greater chance of finding worship team members who will be a benefit and blessing to your ministry rather than a hindrance. Happy recruiting!
Cathy Sanders has been involved with music for over 27 years. She is an anointed worship leader and psalmist who regularly leads worship for community and church events. She has produced three albums, and her music was played on the radio for over six years in the Northeast. She is also a prolific writer who has authored/coauthored five books. Cathy carries master's and doctorate degrees in Christian education, graduating with honors. Cathy and her husband, Andy, reside in New York with their two teenage children.
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