Do any of you have an age limit for the Sunday morning worship team?
I've made a big mistake by letting a 14 year old onto the team. Everyone told me how well she sang and she indicated that she really wanted to sing.
The problem is, she is so scared, she doesn't sing at all. If I try to encourage her she begins to cry. Really, I'm not that mean to her. I heard she does the same thing in youth group when they try to get her to participate.
I've talked to her mother about it and she insists that her daughter really wants to do this and asked that I just give her some time.
The other issue with her - through no fault of her own, her parents are hit and miss about attendance, so the girl isn't there half the time.
Anyway - she doesn't hurt the music, so I might be willing to just let her stand there. But then I just read in another thread about how this looks to the congregation - and I don't like that thought.
My pastor suggested an age limit of 18. But I have a 16 year old boy that is doing quite nicely on bass and I would hate to lose him.
I can't drop her because of attendance - because I have other singers and musicians that miss practices and worship (though they tell me ahead, they have good excuses - work or school - and they are good enough that they can learn the music at the Sunday morning practice).
The only thing I've got is her inability to actually sing. She might have a great voice, but I've never heard it. How do I deal with her? Any ideas?
I know I sound really wimpy about this, and I guess I am. This is one leadership flaw I have. I've prayed about this - but I guess He knows I'm really asking for an easy out when I should be asking for strength.
...it may be less pressure if she can sing in a group like a choir
Maybe do some off-mike vocal practice, putting her with other singers, to determine her vocal range and strength? She might be a low voice (alto) and unable to reach the higher melody notes; in that case someone needs to teach her how to sing harmonies.
Sometimes it's a matter of confidence - a loud kid can clam up when having to face one's family and friends from the platform. Perhaps teaching the team about worship, to focus on God, not man, and referring to Scriptures can help. That delivered me from stage fright, many years ago.
Otherwise, it's talk to her and her parents together, making it clear that she can worship in the congregation until she gains enough experience to be heard on-stage.
We have two teens in the Alto section of our small choir. They are friends and like to sit together. Both tend to sing quietly but can sing out when needed. One, the Pastor's daughter, was on our Praise Team for about a month, until the committment and pressure got to her. The other plays in the band at school and sings Alto because her mom does...
We don't have a specific age requirement to participate, but anybody who's interested has to be able to provide their own transportation to rehearsals and services and commit to knowing their stuff and being prepared independent of their parents. I wouldn't have a problem with a high school student being a part of the team if they could do those things.
As for your specific situation, it sounds like this girl really isn't ready to do it yet. She's not contributing to your team, and I'm sure that standing on stage feeling uncomfortable and crying isn't much fun for her either. I would suggest that she spend a little more time in the congregation, but make sure she knows that she is still welcome to participate if/when she feels comfortable.
Yeah, seems like she's maybe just not ready to do it yet. I would just explain that to the parents, try to get her involved in your youth group team or choir, as was mentioned, and tell them you'll keep her in mind for the future. If you feel she's not ready to be a part of the ministry it's really your call to make. The parents can argue, but you're the leader.
Our youngest on the team turned 16 last year and she does a great job singing. She started in the youth group though and is also very comfortable in front of people, both of which contribute to her being fairly comfortable with the adult team on Sunday mornings. We don't have an official age limit.
Can she practice with you until she feels ready to sing on stage during worship? I would find a non-singing singer to be odd, just standing on stage? If you want to be part of the team, you kind of need to do your part during the actual worship time during the service.
Maybe you could chat with her and suggest that she simply practice with the team and when she and you feel ready, then she can begin to sing on stage. AND a chat with mom and dad may be in order, just cause a teen "wants" to do something does not mean she is ready to do it. Maybe, if she becomes comfortable singing in practice, then she will be more comfortable singing during the service. But personally, I would not allow someone to be on stage in the morning, if they were so frightened that they could not sing at all. It is not fair to her or to the rest of the team.
You could also pray with her about having courage to use the gifts that God has given her, but honestly I am surprised you let her on the team without even hearing her voice first. How did she end up on the team when you had never heard her sing??
Last edited by TruePraise; 02-16-2011 at 03:45 PM.
I know - you are absolutely right. I've been thinking about that myself. We've never actually auditioned anyone on the team. (My own position as leader kind of seamlessly happened - I can't give you a date that I actually started - it's kind confusing.)
Originally Posted by TruePraise
When she started, we had two other ladies singing along with her. I never heard anything wrong, so I assumed everything was right. Then later people were telling me that she wasn't singing.
I really do accept all this as a failure on my part - and I'm just trying to find a way through this with minimal pain for her.
I appreciate all the comments so far. I am planning a meeting with our pastor about this and will bring some of these ideas with me.
Like you, I learned the hard way a long time ago that very, very few teens have the maturity and chops to lead worship with our band on Sunday morning. In my nearly 10 years of doing this, I've only allowed about 5 teens to give the Sunday band a shot, and only 2-3 of them I actually look back on as a good experience.
My general rule of thumb is, you've got to be 16 to join our Sunday band. 16 is a milestone for kids, and it usually means that they can drive themselves to practice and Sunday morning, which is HUGE. But, I do make occasional exceptions, both ways.
BTW, I encourage every church to audition people, for every ministry, not just the band. It's just plain wrong (yes, I will argue that to my grave) to say to somebody, "you're on the team", without giving them some kind of audition process. Too many people walk away from serving in the church altogether because they got "stuck" doing something they either didn't enjoy or were told they were bad at, simply because those of us in charge didn't use just a little bit of wisdom to create a process/system for bringing them slowly into a ministry position.
Give people a process for joining a team, give them the freedom to say "I don't think this is the right ministry for me", create a culture that prioritizes helping people find the right ministry fit INSTEAD of simply plugging holes with warm bodies. Look around...the church is one of the only organizations in the world that doesn't consistently have a process/system for bringing new people into positions of service. God has called us to be good stewards, especially of the people we are leading.
You don't have issue with her being young. The issue is that she isn't ready to do what you need a worship team member to do. We've had younger students be great contributors to our worship teams at times. I think if you make calls based on age first, and not spiritual and musical maturity then the process is not right.
Very good point - thank you
Originally Posted by dtpuga