“Success” in ministry has more to do with developing people than it does creating a team to out rock all teams. Sure we need to pursue excellence, sure we need chemistry, sure we need to rehearse together, flow together, pray together, etc…
But a tight rhythm section or regular vocals that the congregation sees every week isn’t a sign of success (when you dig a little deeper).
This means putting people first – before talent and/or spaces to be filled. Of course we should always be aware of positions and roles that need to be fulfilled, but we should never see people as just a set of skills. Sure that guy is a great guitarist and you could really use a great guitarist, but what you really need is a PERSON that will plug in to the vision of the ministry and commit to using their talents and skills to serve others.
People make up our teams. People make up our churches. People are called to be followers of Christ and His servants. People do the work of the Kingdom.
Not guitar chops. Not drum skills. Not mad vocal technique. Not even great songs. God’s Kingdom is all about people.
Now Shouldn’t Be Normal
Another way that we can create a culture where people are truly valued is to make every effort to combat the “Now is Normal” mentality.
Many of us who are worship leaders or ministry team leaders know that it’s very easy to slide into the status quo. We get into a place where there are plenty of musicians and singers on the team and we have our pick to choose from. On the outside it looks like we don’t need any more, because we have a jam-packed stage.
Whether you work with volunteer musicians, singers, children’s workers, parking lot attendants, youth workers, etc., we all face the temptation to kick it into cruise control and to see our present situation as the norm. We let it become the status quo. We should be careful to always be looking forward. We should be future minded, while leading intentionally in the present.
Whatever you have NOW should not be normal.
Even if you have the greatest team you’ve ever had, as a leader, you still need to be inviting people to join your ministry teams. Granted, in some situations, it’s good to have the same people minister together for the sake of unity and excellence. But, it’s also good to have a continuous attitude of invitation to your team. We should never have closed doors.
Even if that means creating alternate teams to minister in different venues, we should always be developing leaders. As a worship leader, I’m constantly on the lookout for people who I know would enjoy ministering with our worship team. That means they are people and ministry oriented and also decent at what they do.
Looking towards tomorrow
It’s crucial that we are always looking towards tomorrow, while living and working in today. Whatever your now is, at this very moment, make an effort to do your very best at never accepting it as the norm. Make your now count, but make sure that you never make your now normal.
I’ve been in situations where we had an amazing team that in a matter of a few weeks disintegrated. What I’ve learned is that we should always be training and equipping someone to step into roles when needed. But what’s more important than just having a team that is “good” at what they do is having a team that develops people (whether or not they are “on stage” or not).
People will feel needed, valued, and crucial in the grand work of The Kingdom when we continue to invite people to join us, even when we have a “full roster” – it’s absolutely necessary to create opportunities for people to use their talents for the Lord. Have a full roster for worship team? Here’s some suggestions on other ways to get people involved:
- Start a guitar group. Meet once a month and invite any and every guitar player to come and sit in. Hand out music a week earlier.
- Have a drum circle.
- Rotate singers and musicians into other areas of church ministry. Children’s ministry, Youth ministry, community outreach, etc.
- Start a community band. One that plays only outside the church.
- Start a songwriting community.
- Volunteer in other areas outside of your church. School? College? Doesn’t even have to be ministry oriented. Find where PEOPLE are and what they congregate around and make that important to you.
In summary, keep in mind that we should be pursuing excellence and that it’s not at all wrong to craft the “perfect” balance of musicians and singers for your particular circumstances, but let’s not let that pursuit push the principle of mentoring and developing people to the side.
As Christ followers one of our primary purposes here on Earth is to be discipled as we disciple others. As leaders, let’s not fall into the temptation to get comfortable in our “now” circumstances so that we’re apathetic towards a culture of raising up new leaders.