In most cultures the beginning of Spring is associated with the tradition of Spring Cleaning – a time to throughly refresh your home as well as your mind and body. An effort to dust off all that accumulated during the winter months.
Now is a great time to take a careful look at your worship team and see where you can improve.
4 ways to Spring Clean Your Worship Team
Check your Skills
Are you training, teaching, or discipling?
- Avoid Complacency – Most churches develop a worship style and selection of songs they rotate through. However without encouragement the church may sing through the same 25 songs for 10 years in a row. If we take worship as a true offering of praise to God and reflection on His love for us – it’s humorous to think we would just repeat the same thing for 10 years. Lots of life happens in 10 years – growth, loss, change. As a church body you move through these seasons of life together. Find songs that reflect these seasons. Take time to find the words that truly capture the message you want to convey to God.
- Keep moving through plateaus – Are you continuing to grow in your skills? Are there ways to move from being a good musician to a great musician? You’ve worked hard to develop your skills enough to make the worship team. Now between family, work, and practice you barely have any free time. Yet we are challenged to continue growing in all the areas of our life. Find ways to grow in your talents. You could learn a new instrument, develop some new technical skills, or try a new style.
- Develop the next generation of worship leaders – We are called to make disciples, this applies to the Worship team too. We should be raising our replacements as we are currently serving in our roles on the worship team. Jesus modeled this with his disciples, and Paul modeled pouring into the next generation with his mentoring of Timothy. Your church may have an All-Star Sunday morning worship team – but how deep is its bench? Are you developing a JV team who can step in if someone is sick or traveling? I’ve seen many big churches who were one-deep in instruments on the worship team, and when someone misses a Sunday service it becomes an emergency situation. If you are at a church thats large enough to have the benefit of tryouts for the worship team, consider what you do when someone doesn’t make the cut. Do you have a plan to help and grow them? Can you still utilize their servant heart? In the past we’ve taken people who want to play on a worship team, who’s skills were lacking and used them for ministry services. You don’t need to be an expert to be on the worship team at the local nursing home, or to serve on a youth worship team. Give people opportunities to grow and fail in low-stakes situations so they can be strengthened to overcome the tough challenges of life.
Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright.
Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
Check your Gear
What is good, what needs updating, what needs to go?
- Take an inventory – the first thing you need to do is understand what gear you have. Most churches seem to add to their collection, and after a few years and rotations of different volunteers you can soon have more equipment than you realized. Usually, that results in a box or storage room full of discarded gear, with no-one having clear ownership or the authority to get rid of old gear. Empower someone on your team to determine what is essential, and what is no longer needed. We’ve worked with churches in the past with storage bins full of tape cassette players and VCRs that were unused for years, but everyone felt guilty about getting rid of them.
- Once you’ve decided what is required, and what can be discarded, the next step is to decided what you can update to improve your worship team. Is your drum set held together with duct tape? Do you only have 1 wireless mic that the worship leader and pastor and announcements need to share? Do you have any backups in case your main equipment malfunctions? Investing in quality gear has 2 major benefits. First, better quality gear improves the overall sound of the worship team. Second, investing in your worship team shows you value their investment of time as volunteers.
- Update broken gear
- Buy backups of critical gear (or have a backup plan ready like a wired mic on standby in case the pastors mic goes out)
- Integrate new technology into your worship team – Just as we encourage growing your skills as a musician, new technology can also enhance your worship team. At one time church worship only consisted of choirs, then organs, and later pianos, and currently contemporary worship teams utilize full bands. No one form is right, but be open to listen to the Holy Spirit and accept that worship is beyond our own definitions, don’t place artificial limits on what worship should be.
Check your Vision
How does your worship team fit into your church’s vision?
- Purpose breeds passion – People want to be part of a movement. Help them understand how your church and your worship team fulfill the great call to build disciples and spread the name to Jesus to all people. Develop a vision for the worship team aligned with your Pastor’s vision for the church and communicate how you want the team to continue to grow and develop.
- Maintain a ministry view of worship – Don’t lose sight of your role in the church to lead the congregation in offering praise to the Lord. Your role is not to entertain the church, but to give Glory to God the Most High. Maintaining this perspective personally and reminding your team of the importance of their role ensures you don’t devolve to simply being a Sunday morning band.
- Look for ways to extend worship beyond church walls – Worship is not contained in a set Sunday service. You can use music ministry to reach out and evangelize to the community. Look to people groups in need or those who don’t have the ability to travel to attend a church service. We’ve worked with poor communities and nursing homes – bringing worship to them because they didn’t have access to transportation.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Check you Spirit
Does your life reflect Christ?
- Pray as a team – Praying as a team does two important things. First of all you cover your team in prayer and ensure God is at the forefront of your ministry. A worship team that doesn’t pray is just a band. Also, your team is composed of individuals with their own personal lives that are full of joy, sadness, and challenges. We need to know our team, understand what they are battling against, celebrate their victories, and pray together as believers to encourage one another in our faith.
- Live out biblical values – Every member of the worship team is under a microscope from the rest of the church. Because of both your physical position on the stage, and your figurative position as a ministry leader – others use you as a comparison for their own walk with Jesus. If they see you sin, it helps them justify their own sins. This is not a call for perfection, but we are called to strive to become more Christ-like everyday. If you have a continual hurt, habit, or hangup that causes you to sin, consider taking a pause from the team to strengthen your personal relationship with Jesus and get some assistance overcoming your temptations. When I was working with youth in the past, I would hear them making excuses for their own sin because “I saw Mr so-and-so doing the same thing”.
- Grow in your relationship with Jesus – Our walk with Jesus is just that – a walk. This walk allegory highlights the journey we take, and the fact that we don’t reach the destination until we leave this world to join Jesus in Heaven. Every day we are called to live our faith and talk with God through prayer. We are the Bride of Christ, and much like in a marriage, it requires continual attention to maintain and improve the relationship. The wedding day is not the end of the relationship, but rather the beginning. Our baptism starts our true walk with Jesus, as we continue to get to know Him more by reading the Bible, praying, and realizing His general revelation as he reveals Himself in His Creation.
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
1 Timothy 4:7-8