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Volunteer Motivation/Song Homework

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  • Volunteer Motivation/Song Homework

    Hello All,

    I am trying to find ways to motivate my team of musicians to do their homework each week. We usually play 5 songs for our worship service, many of them are repeat songs that just require a little refreshing. I have heard from some members that they "are just volunteers". I know it's a fine line to walk as far as a leader with regard to having only a volunteeer staff. Any suggestions?


  • #2
    Somehow, you need to lead them past the idea that they are only volunteers, and bring them to the understanding that they are ministers in God's House-- they are worship leaders leading alongside you. And ministering in God's house isn't something to be taken casually; I believe that God expects excellence from us as we lead, and excellence comes from practice.

    For some musicians, the weekly practice time (if you have one) is all they need to be excellent, but for most it requires more than an hour a week to become more than just average.

    I wish you the best; be assured, this is a very common problem, and there are no simple solutions.


    • #3
      Record the services and let the team watch and listen to the recordings. Unprepared artists are going to rob the Holy Spirit and distract the congregation. Remind them that the craftsmen in the Bible were selected on more than just a good heart and if that doesn't work, go with a lesson on the parable of the talents. Best wishes and prayers that God gives you a loving heart to share with your team.
      "Rock On" (Matt 7:24-25)

      Dave Brown


      • #4
        We have an all volunteer worship arts ministry. Before we accept anyone into the ministry, we inform them of what is expected and required of them and what they can expect from the church leadership. One of the expectations is that the musicians practice at home and come to the rehearsals ready to rehearse. If they cannot continue to maintain that, then they are let go. All of this, and more, is provided to each prospective member when they are interviewed. The leaderships job is to show the members that they are valued, appreciated, make a difference, listen to them, develop a solid friendship, and lead by example.

        Talk to them and listen. Find out where their heart is and what their spiritual state is. The lack of commitment may be a sign of an underlying spiritual struggle that they need prayer and help with. Then go from there with them.



        • #5
          Challenge them to go pro. By that I mean you're not paying them, but you expect that behavior and like a pro, they should be remotely familiar with the song prior to practice then put all of the pieces together at practice.
          I play professionally and it is expected of me to show up practice already having the songs learned, sometimes it's a whole show learned 12-15 songs. It is doable, you just have to give the time, provide charts early and encourage them to make notes on the charts as a reminder of things. Also I disagree a little (kindheartedly though) with the statement, unprepared artists are going to rob the Holy Spirit, possible yes but last I checked God can use anything he wants even our bad days and if a wrong note means God can't move then when does he ever move? Don't get caught in things have to be perfect, you are not dealing with professional musicians but you can teach them the practices of one.


          • #6
            You might want to consider what else your team has going on and what their skill level actually is. Are you asking too much from them? Really, think about it. Are you worried about the "show" or about "worship"? With lots of practice, your team might be able to get to the level you seem to expect. But is that level realistic based on the time and talent available.

            If your team is involved in church activities outside of the music, you may be second place already. For example, our guitarist is chairman of the deacons. Everyone in our gruop knows that deacon-ing comes before guitar playing. And so our expectations adjust when we know that the deacons have something extra going on.

            Pray for your team, and love them where they are. It will make your life a lot easier.


            • #7
              You cannot motivate somebody who is happy with remaining stationary. Unless somebody already has the passion needed, there is nothing you can do. My suggestion is to move on without them.

              Practical Worship

              Please Pray For My Wife


              • #8
                Thank you everyone for the comments/suggestions. Lot's of good info here, glad I found this forum. Scott...


                • #9
                  Hi Scott,

                  Just found your thread . . . I am struggling with similar issues in my band at present, but perhaps we can exchange views.

                  We have the "volunteer" culture as well. A "volunteer" may not realise the expectations of ministry, or there may be an underlying pastoral issue. Either way, I'd give the responsibility back to them, instead of trying to dream up tricks for motivating them. Invite them to reflect on their own commitment and skill level, maybe meet with each person individually to review with them (although this may not be practical if you have a large band). Reiterate consequences (if any) of lack of commitment.

                  Funk Master is right on the money - OT musos were chosen for their skill - their hearts are not mentioned. I don't think this means we disregard the heart, by the way. I just think it means we need to value skill. I've been in bands where people are let in to help their self-esteem, or as a resting place between ministries, and their skill has been woeful. I simply don't agree with this. Ideally, you want people who can minister long-term, and who are passionate. It's glaringly obvious when musos are "just filling a need".

                  Music ministry can be under-valued in churches (I know it is in mine). I wouldn't accept anyone into band who didn't value it the way I do. I'm glad I get to be in a team that glorifies the King of the Universe every week. There's no place I'd rather be. And that's the kind of musos I want on board.



                  • #10
                    I have had the same issue wit the response "I'm a volunteer". My response to that is yes you are a volunteer, but not mine, God's. The better you know the songs the better you are able to let loose and worship. God calls us to give our best not just "get by".

                    sometimes thats enough motivation and sometimes you just have to become a little more "bold"


                    • #11
                      I haven't read through everything, but I'm guessing people's responses will be similar to this...

                      First you need to make your team realize that they aren't "just volunteers"... They are leading people into the throne room, whether they get paid to do it or not (in my church the senior pastor and myself (worship pastor) are the only paid people.. Yet we have a very vibrant worship ministry, youth ministry, children's ministry, and seniors ministry.. All run with volunteers.. But if they feel like they are "just volunteers" they will act like "just volunteers"... They are such an important part to any church.

                      My other recommendation would be to record them on Sunday... Though I think teams should be doing this all the time.. It helps you to learn where you need to improve. And truthfully.. It's helped some of my team mates (the volunteers..) realize that they aren't as good as they thought they were, which causes the, to practice more. It sucks to have to show someone that they sing flat, because it can be embarrassing, but, they get the point!!!

                      And hey... If they have any respect for their art.. They should be practicing anyway..

                      Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
                      Last edited by chrisburke; 03-04-2012, 07:53 PM.