As I travel leading worship and training worship leaders and teams, I get many questions regarding how to be a healthy team or grow together as a team. Asking these questions shows great humility and a desire to grow, which is such a beautiful thing to see in the Church.
Over the last several years of worship ministry, I have learned a lot about what it means to be a worship leader and the make-up of a healthy team. There are so many important pieces to this discussion, but the conversation must begin with one word: surrender.
Tip #1 – A healthy team is surrendered
It starts with letting go of what we want. Because it isn’t about what we want. It’s about what God wants to do through us. That mental shift changes everything. Worship leading is a gift and it’s a high calling. Our main job is to surrender to where God is leading. For leaders, that may mean surrendering your desires or plans in order to come alongside of the vision and needs of the ministry. For team members, maybe it means stepping back from worship team for a season because God is going to move in a new way or through someone else. Or maybe it means stepping up to the mic to lead even though you’re terrified. Wherever God is leading, our job starts with complete surrender.
Tip #2 – A healthy team is prepared spiritually
Private worship comes before public worship. Our priorities need to be in that order. If we are not investing in our own personal, private time with the Lord in worship and in the Word, we cannot lead from a place of overflow in public places. Without this intentionality, we can quickly become exhausted and unable to lead to our fullest capacity. (This applies to everyone, not just the “leader”). Your choice to make (or not make) this a priority will have a profound impact not only on your leadership, your team and the Church, but on your entire life. It’s that big of a deal. It’s preparation for the spiritual battle you face every weekend in worship ministry…and even in everyday life. You may have to fight for the time, but you will never regret it.
Tip #3 – A healthy team knows one another
You’ve probably heard this. But, it’s so important, that it’s worth repeating. Investing in relationships within your team is crucial. Sharing artistic gifts in public can be a vulnerable thing, and it’s so important that we trust one another as we serve together. I encourage you to schedule times throughout the year to get together, just because. No meetings or agendas. Just relationship investment. It doesn’t have to be formal. Just get to know one another. These investments will only make you stronger as a team. I understand that you don’t need “one more thing to do”. But, with a shifted perspective, you might find that you’re happy you took the time! You may be blessed with a new friendship. And your church will be blessed because you are a healthier, stronger team that trusts one another and leads the church into the presence of God with strength and unity.
Tip #4 – A healthy team is prepared musically
Worship Leaders – I encourage you to spend enough time preparing for rehearsal. I believe that rehearsal is not for learning music or figuring out song flow. It is simply for putting everything together. Learning music and prepping song flows, tracks, etc., is for you to prepare beforehand (and communicate to your team in advanced as well, so they can prepare). The best thing you can do is over resource your team. Give them every tool you possibly can to set them up for success (and make it easier for them to come prepared to the rehearsal).
Team members – whatever your role is – be intentional in your preparation. Learn your music before rehearsal. Know it inside and out. Study that sound board. Dig into that lyrics program. Wherever you serve, your leader (and your church) will be incredibly blessed by your time and care. You will also bless your other team members as you respect one another’s time by arriving at rehearsal prepared and ready to go!
Tip #5 – A healthy team understands their role
We are all in this position to serve, so let’s remember that as we continue. But, going further, we need to have a deeper understanding of our individual role on the team.
Leaders, your role is to lead with kindness, while still being clear about expectations and what is needed. Bring your team along with you in the journey, communicating with clarity. Further, it’s important to be on the same page as your Senior or Lead Pastor. Work together, instead of against or independent of one another. When leadership is unified, it’s a powerful thing.
For other team members, respecting the leadership that God has put in place for that time is key. Remember, they have spent time before the Lord, seeking His will for that weekend (set list, team, etc.). So, it’s a blessing when we respect their time, care and hard work by coming to rehearsal prepared and ready to support the vision God has placed on their heart.
Whatever your role in worship ministry, I pray that these tips are helpful and encouraging. When it comes down to it…this verse from Colossians 3:17 sums it up beautifully:
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
That is my prayer. That every time I lead worship, every team I train…whatever I do…that it would be in the name of Jesus and for His glory and fame.
May all we do point people to Him.
Andrea Olson has always loved worship, writing songs for the Church and leading people into and encounter with God’s Presence. She has been a worship leader in Minnesota for the past 14 years. In 2010, Andrea started a unique 1:1 mentorship program for young local worship leaders. As more leaders and churches began reaching out for help and training, God grew Andrea’s passion for worship in the Church and in 2014, Overflow Worship was born. This ministry for Worship Leaders and teams began with the annual Overflow Worship Conference, which now, is hosting its 6th conference on October 11-12, 2019. Now, in addition, Andrea (with family in tow) travels the Midwest going into churches leading worship, training teams and equipping leaders with practical tools to thrive in their ministry. To learn more about Andrea or Overflow Worship, visit www.overflowworship.com.