It takes a lot of work behind the scenes to prepare to lead a worship. Here is a list to help you think through things that can help you build strong worship teams and meaningful weekend worship services.
40 Tips To Build Strong Worship Teams
1. Make room for all ages, even the old guys. It is great to be cutting edge, but if you church has a bunch of older people and they are never on the platform you have a problem.
2. Raise up the kids to be on the platform. You will never keep things fresh if you forget to include the kids on your worship worship teams.
3. Strong worship teams look like a family. Every family has a mom. Does your worship worship teams have women represented?
4. Invite people to respond, don’t demand it. Never bully your people! A pastor or worship leader needs to learn to woo rather than dictate. This is always better!
5. Pastor, preach on worship. Most don’t have a grasp on its importance. In fact, your staff probably doesn’t know your view on it.
6. Communicate everywhere what to expect on Sundays–not just to visitors. If you have too high or too low expectations set you have sunk satisfaction completely. Some need moderation while others need to be challenged.
7. Worship leader, tune your guitar. There is nothing worse than a musical leader who leads from guitar and yet ignores taking care of his gear.
8. Clean the bathrooms. Seriously, a smell can ruin a worship experience. And, it shows your values as far as the worship meeting.
9. Keep you song list smaller than the band likes it. Once the band and worship leader are tired of a song the congregation is finally enjoying it and humming it!
10. Make sure your song list has new songs. You will get stagnant if you don’t teach a new song on a regular basis.
11. Make sure you have familiar songs in your setlist. While new songs are a great thing to have, sandwiching them with familiar tunes makes the experience more palatable.
12. Decide that you cannot please everyone! And, make sure that is known by all and that everyone should be okay with that. The question then is this. Is God pleased?
13. Worship Leader, take some voice lessons! Many can lead a band and play an instrument. But, if you voice is scratchy or out-of-tune you need to work on it. Leaders of singing need to sing well.
14. Plan worship services as a worship teams. If the pastor and worship leader never communicate, their planning will lack. In fact, including others—even if just on occasion—might enrich the experience for all.
15. Sound matters a whole lot, so pay a guy if you have to! Your sermon, your music, your whole leadership happens through a sound system. It takes a lot more skill than many give it credit to run sound well.
16. Leaders should value worship by being present. If your staff or board members scowl during the service others will as well. Are your leaders excited about the service?
17. Get honest feedback about the service. The idea is not to please everyone. But, if 74% of people claim the music is too sleepy then maybe a change is in order. Do you know your people?
18. Don’t do business during worship. It is like a basketball game. The coach should not run out on the court. Have those “business” conversations after or during the week. It is imperative that your congregation sees the leaders of the church worshipping. Not running around talking to one another, not texting, not writing prep notes. Can’t stress this enough!
19. Learn to enjoy participating when not on the platform. If a worship leader or pastor never enjoys the pew, he or she should take a break! A chef should taste his own dishes on a regular basis, right?
20. Use as many volunteers as possible. This idea here is that if you have a choir, they bring their spouses and friends, too. If you include the youth group on a Sunday, they come as well. Church is about inefficiency as our effectiveness is about relationships.
21. Hire musicians if you can. Sometimes skill can get in the way. And, if you have a hole inthe building of your strong worship teams, a pro player might encourage the volunteers who he or she plays with.
22. Get rid of the pros if they are divas. While having talent is great, attitude trumps skill. You can sink the goal of worship and have great music in the process. Avoid that!
23. Get rid of printed bulletins if you can! Holding something is so 20th Century. If anything, you should include the use of Bible apps from smartphones. Keep people’s eyes up and interacting with not just the platform but with each other.
24. Train your group to be strong worship teams from the pros. If you go with volunteers, then budget money to help them improve by attending conferences or learning from private tutors.
25. Tune your room like you tune your piano. Well, many have digital pianos. Regardless, hire an audio pro to retune your speakers at least once a year or more.
26. Keep some traditions sacred. If you have a certain song that you always sing during Advent, keep it! The one caveat is to be sure the meaning behind the tradition is not lost or forgotten.
27. Have the worship worship teams serve as greeters or ushers on their off weeks. Imagine if the musicians and singers are happy to serve in other ways on occasion. This models being a servant first.
28. Teach and model conflict resolution. Why does this matter for worship? Well, it’s hard to enjoy the family meal when we don’t deal with our brother and sisters. This is even more true for leaders to be on the same page before worship.
29. Audition every role that requires skill. You cannot pull up a fellow and put him behind a sound mixing console. That is like randomly asking a person out of the crowd to fill in on piano. It may ruffle feathers, but your congregation thanks for you doing it!
30. Interview every volunteer for their roles on your strong worship teams. It is one thing to check for skill. You also need to know if that incredible bass player also cares about your church and his personal spiritual journey.
31. Learn together as leaders! If staff and volunteers who lead worship can experience learning together it will surely build them as strong worship teams. Read a book together. Go to a concert together. You get the picture.
32. Plan for moments. Your service is a group of moments. Not all of them will inspire equally, but seeing your five-minute song as 500 minutes with the 100 people you lead gives you an idea of how valuable each moment is.
33. Make a “never will do that” list and break one of the rules on the list. Once in a while, you have to get out of the box. You can’t do that if you don’t define a box!
34. Appreciate the efforts as well as the results of your worship teams. The war is won with battles. If building your strong worship teams is on the right track, be sure to acknowledge that fact. What is unseen produces what is seen.
35. Be yourself! There are so many cool churches out there. But, your church is unique and you need to be OK with that. Most of your church people don’t know about those famous churches anyway. Be true to who you are!
36. Don’t cut and paste and call it creativity! Yes, steal ideas from the best. But, if you simply copy what another church does without considering your core values you are building it backwards. Inside out is how to grow.
37. Don’t apologize for being human. Perfection is not the goal, leadership is. When the mistakes come don’t be surprised or worried. We are only human, right? Even Jesus prayed for strength from the Father.
38. Worship is warfare! Yes, you are battling the Devil. You are battling for attention from distractions. You are battling your own weaknesses. Don’t be blindsided. Pray up!
39. Measure in months and years not the last Sunday! We all have a great or bad Sunday. Our emotions can amplify these experiences. Keep yourself honest by looking at trends instead of the immediate gut response.
40. Don’t forget to have fun in the process. Leading worship is a process, not an event. The events are indeed what people see. But, all the hard work is what we do underneath and we should love that part, too!
Rich is a writer, blogger, speaker, musician, father and husband to his best friend. You can check out his latest book, The Six Hats of the Worship Leader, on his website RKblog.com