As worship leaders, we are almost always on the hunt for new musicians.
Some of us are more desperate than others, but all of us can always use more skilled worshippers who know their instrument.
So how do we fill in the gaps in our teams with quality and dependable musicians?
The answer is that you potentially have a wealth of musicianship sitting and waiting in the pews or chairs in your congregation.
Over the past few years, the trend of relying on backing tracks instead of live musicians has been growing and growing. While tracks are great for complimenting what you are doing. I have worked with worship pastors and leaders who lean so heavily on tracks to a point of it becoming a crutch. They seem to be waiting for these awesome musicians to just appear. And let’s face it, that rarely happens.
A vital part of being a worship pastor or leader in your church is teaching and mentoring. Let’s take an example from Jesus. Jesus went looking for people that didn’t necessarily have influence but found people who could have influence. He invested in his disciples. He took people completely unfit for the positions they would soon hold and discipled them. Let us make the decision to lead by Jesus’ example.
Spend time sowing into the heart.
No matter how lost the art may seem, equipping the saints is what we do as music leaders, pastors, directors, or whatever else you call the leadership positions in your church. Investing into someone’s life is the essence of ministry.
Teaching and mentoring is such an ambiguous topic. There are so many variables that need to be considered with each individual that, quite frankly, can’t be summed up within this post.
I personally feel the most important aspect of teaching and mentoring is building friendship and trust outside of the church walls. Some ideas for doing this can be as simple as meeting someone for coffee or attending their children’s events. These are little things you can do to show that you are invested in your team members. I am frequently told by people that I am the first worship pastor to ever ask them out for coffee or to show up at their child’s recital.
It’s the little things that begin to build a friendship and trust, which will ultimately help you start to lead and disciple when they see you as someone who has invested in them.
A question that I am asked a lot is how do we find these people in the congregation? First and foremost, we need to make sure people know you need them. Seems simple, but I’m always shocked by the amount of people surprised to know that there IS a need in the ministries of the church. Make it known. Many people do not step up because they simply do not know they’re wanted or needed.
Creating a culture of inclusion when you are auditioning.
Auditions are essential but they should never be handled in a “make it or break it” moment. If you handle auditions in this way, stop. It is a disservice to your church and to the people looking to serve. Auditions should be conveyed as more of a “placement test.” You should be accepting 100% of those auditioning. Not everyone may make it to the platform immediately, but find a starting place for them.
For musicians, this may mean giving them a piece of music to work on to build their confidence with. I like to meet during the week to give lessons. This way they are able to learn and train to the standard needed to be on the platform. It also is very bond building for my team members and me. People who are there for the right reasons and with a servant’s heart will press in and want to learn and grow. The people who are not there for the right reasons will usually drop out on their own. Especially, once they learn a little bit of work will be needed.
So, take those people with the servant’s heart and train them, teach them, mentor them … whatever it takes. Give them a place to start. It is work and you have to have patience. But which sounds more glorifying to God? Equipping, supporting, and discipling believers in your congregation to serve or waiting around for those imaginary “All Stars” to show up?
People who have a servant’s heart, teachable spirit, and want to grow in their walk with Christ will outweigh those who have superior technical skills, any day.
The teachable will eventually not only be skilled but, more importantly, have commitment in serving with the right heart posture. So, give those people the tools to grow with videos, tutorials, mp3s, tablature, and sheet music. Set them up with other musicians on your team that they can learn from and you will watch them grow into your most valuable team members.
Personally, most of my strongest and most dedicated musicians have always been those I’ve had the privilege to pour into. Plus, you’ll see lifelong friendships form between you and your team. It’s a beautiful thing to build the kingdom of God together. It’s contagious and you have people that want to be a part of it right in your church. Give your congregation a place to serve of importance and watch your teams flourish and grow.