This past Wednesday I had the joy of eating lunch with one of the piano players on the worship team at my church. He’s a great guy, a godly man, and a good friend. We try to get together every 5 or 6 weeks to catch up, usually near his office in Washington D.C. I managed to find a parking spot downtown and we walked to lunch at a packed-out sandwich shop near the White House. For a politics nerd like me, this was a lot of fun.
We talked about what was going in our lives, and then I asked him how he’s been feeling about how things are going on the worship team and at Sunday services. He had a number of really helpful thoughts, observations, encouragements, and insightful critiques. He even took the time to email me some more detailed thoughts later on that afternoon about some of what we had talked about.
Getting together like this with worship team members who I know and trust has been an amazingly helpful thing through the years for several reasons.
First, it gets me outside the church bubble. I work full-time at the church and am on campus six days a week. It’s good for me to get out and see how members of the congregation and my worship team spend their week. It’s busy and intense where these guys spend their days and I’ll serve them more effectively if I know what they have to deal with. I’ll be more understanding when they’re late to an evening meeting, can’t come to an event, respond slowly to an email, or need some time off. I’ll also be more grateful when I see what a sacrifice they make to give up an evening away from home for a rehearsal or give up a vacation day to go on a conference. If I really want to care for and lead my team well, it’s good to get outside my church bubble and make time to be with them where they are.
Secondly, I need to hear what they have to say. Hearing answers to my questions like, “how have you felt about the last few services on Sunday mornings?” or “do you think we’ve been doing the right kinds of songs?” helps me not become isolated, unapproachable, or prideful. Ask questions. They don’t have to be complex. They can be quite simple. The more input you can receive as a worship leader, from all angles, the better off you’ll be.
Third, your team shouldn’t always come to where you are. If the only place you see your volunteers is at church, you’re missing out on actually having a relationship with your team. They’ll see their role as just filling a slot, and you’ll see them as people who just fill slots. Your team will only invest themselves in ministry if you invest yourself in them.
Finally, it gives you perspective. Hearing what’s going on the lives of people on the worship team, what they’re dealing with at work, how they’re spending their time, and what’s on their minds helps me remember that much of what I stress out about as a worship leader isn’t all that important at the end of the day.
I encourage you to build relationships with the people on your team. Make time to go to where they are and even share a meal with them. Find out what’s going on in their lives and ask them for their thoughts on rehearsals, services, music, worship, etc. You’ll be more effective the farther out of your bubble you can get.