Trying to grow a worship team can be like nailing Jell-O to the wall.
It’s nebulous. And frustrating. And can even be demoralizing. But I want to encourage you and help you get your growth-mode juices flowing.
Contained in this list are some ideas, strategies and tactics. But remember: what works to in one church may fail miserably in another. You are the expert on your team and your culture. Adapt and rework these to fit your ministry.
Secret #1: Make it tougher to get in.
“Make it – what?!” I know. It doesn’t seem right. But the idea is to create a qualification process that does it’s job: truly get to know the potential musician’s skill and heart, and also gives her a chance to know what she’s committing to.
Two adages come into play here:
“Easy come/easy go” is usually true. We musicians can be a flakey bunch. If someone enters your team too quickly and easily, he often finds the exit just as fast.
“It’s easier to NOT hire than fire.” I’ve let on a number of “problem children” (and inherited several) at each church I’ve been at. The only thing worse than firing is doing nothing. You just pray for them to quit. Or Jesus to come back.
Secret #2 – Utilize outside musicians.
This is not a long-term solution. But it can be an effective stop-gap while you grow the team. Here’s a resource that talks about using guest/outside musicians and some of the issues.
Secret #3: Become stellar with what you have.
It’s easy to say, “We don’t have ______, so we can’t do __________.”
Every ministry has those blanks, no matter the size. So you might not be able to pull off certain songs or sounds. But don’t let that stop you from being remarkable and engaging your congregation in worship. (Smaller churches, check out this free resource.)
Secret #4: Offer musician-training events that are open to your congregation.
Bring in a local guitar teacher, vocal coach, etc. to train your musicians. Make it open to your congregation. You might scare up some hidden talent.
Secret #5: Confront territorialism and other dysfunctional team behavior.
You might have some bad seeds producing rotten fruit and some dead branches stifling new growth. Prune.
Here’s a team devotional series that can help.
Secret #6: Create a bigger bucket.
Are your systems holding you back? Scheduling, qualification process, communication, leadership structure, etc. can all effect growth. Often times our systems work for our current size – they are a one-gallon bucket that holds one-gallon of water.
Discover what systems and structures a “5-gallon” worship team utilizes. Start adapting. A bigger bucket won’t directly cause growth. But a smaller one will certainly hinder it.
Secret #7: Become the kind of team people WANT to join.
All worship ministries have a culture, whether we try to shape it or not. Shaping your ministry’s culture is as important, and maybe more, than your Sunday morning leadership.
So actively shape your culture to one that people can’t wait to be a part of.
Secret #8: Empower your team to become recruiters.
They are your best promotion. And they’re connect with people you’re not. Just make sure they understand the qualification process. You don’t want them “signing up” someone before you have a chance to qualify him.
Secret #9: Pray for your gaps.
But don’t just pray for a warm body that can play an instrument. Pray for truth and Spirit worshipers. Pray for musicians who are stewards of their talent. Pray for the person God wants to fill that spot.
Secret #10: There ARE NO secrets…
…or magic bullets, or “proven formulas” that grow a healthy team quickly.
Notice two key words: healthy and quickly. There might be some slick ways to get musicians in the door. But want to grow your team numerically while building and maintaining a healthy team culture? That takes time. And hard work. And whole lot of God’s good providence and grace.
Discussion: I’ve got a few more “secrets” that I didn’t include. Maybe a I’ll do a “more secrets” post later. What would you add to the list? (If I use your idea, you’ll get credit in the article. That and $4 will get you a venti latte at Starbucks.)