Worship Leading Essentials #3 – Teamwork

If you set your team up as being a one man show, it will eventually be a one man show! I have learned some hard and painful lessons on teamwork over the years. Tons of mistakes and tons of learning.

Currently we have a worship “pool” of musicians and vocalists. We pull from this pool to make our teams each week. Each week the band is made up of different musicians that have to come together as a team. Many have asked me if I like this approach better than having set bands that rotate. I love it. It functions well because our people serve as a team. So, how do you establish teamwork with your worship team?

  1. Establish leadership.Flat out, there HAS to be a leader. I have been a musician in bands where there is no leader. It is uncomfortable. Band members need someone to take the lead, establish direction, and make decisions. It frees them up to do their role on the team. We tell all of our team members that we all throw creative ideas into the arrangements, etc, but someone has to be the one to make the final decision. That is the leaders job. Strong, compassionate leadership is an essential in teamwork.
  2. Establish expectations. When we audition potential team members, we lay it all out. We expect each team member to be Life Journaling, we expect them to model their personal life after Christ, we expect them to be proficient at their instrument, to show up on time, and to be a team player. We try not to pretend that everyone knows the expectations. On occasion, I have had to have conversations with members of the team and gently say that some expectations are not being met and find out what is happening. Sometimes this goes well, other times, not so well. We use a huge amount of prayer, honesty, compassion, and love.
  3. Establish the win. What does a successful worship gathering look like? This has to be answered early on. Because there are many different ways to define a win, the leader has to make it crystal clear. For more thoughts on this, check out Defining a Successful Worship Gathering in a previous post.
  4. Care for your team. Last week we had a friend (Floyd) come in and observe our rehearsals. Floyd is on a hiring team for our EPIC community. EPIC is hiring a new worship leader and Floyd wanted to get a feel for how we do things. He was asking some questions of Jeff (our vocal director) and I after rehearsal. Floyd asked if I felt like people sometimes didn’t respect me or my leadership, or if we all got along. That’s when it dawned on me. As I looked around at our team that night (they were packing up), I was struck with how good of friends I am with the team. I have been in most of their houses, I know their families and their lives. We share experiences outside of worship leading and live life together. You have to see your team as more than musicians filling a slot. They are people with hurts, disappointments, and great untapped dreams. It may be the that the songs you play are less important than the people you play them with. Care for them.
  5. Play. Best selling book FISH! is a great resource which, among other things, challenges us to play and have fun with our teams. Great team leaders play with their teams. It doesn’t take much time for our team to start verbally slamming each other, throwing jabs back on forth – all in fun. As a worship leader, you have one of the most enjoyable roles on the planet. Relax and enjoy it!

Teamwork can not only make or break a worship gathering, it can make or break a worship leader. If your elementary report card continually said “doesn’t play well with others,” you better get a grip. Healthy teamwork is critical to worship leading.

Drop in next time when we talk about how to put together a worship set. Until then, go have some fun with you team!

[tags]worship leading, teamwork, church, god, jesus, Fish!, expectations, win[/tags]

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