Congregations tend to plan and implement in the moment, since Sunday comes every single week. So, in worship ministry thinking about keeping younger players or finding future players, singers, or even a primary worship leader is rarely a consideration until a vacancy occurs.
“Player development” is what Major League Baseball calls the grooming of younger, less advanced players in their minor league system. The so-called farm teams provide mentoring, training, coaching, and practical experience for younger players with the expectation that as those players mature, they will advance to a higher level of play and responsibility.
The genius of the farm system is that players get better by playing regularly in smaller venues instead of just waiting for an opening to play in the major leagues. Teams are intentionally investing in younger players for the future. A major-league team with a weak farm system may have success for a time but will rarely carry that success into the future.
The value of worship player development is realized when a congregation attempts to fill a vacancy in their worship-leading team. What most find is that the pool of potential replacements out there is often very shallow. Those who are available are sometimes unknown and don’t always resonate with the culture of the searching congregation.
Implementing a farm-team model of grooming or developing younger, less advanced players from in here can offer your worship ministry a trusted and familiar resource pool for future players, singers, or primary leaders. Investing in those who already understand the culture, personality, worship language, and mission of your church has a far greater potential for future success.
Our success in worship ministry will be judged not just on how well we did it ourselves each Sunday, but on how well we helped train others to do it too. If churches want great worship leaders in the future, they must invest in not-yet-great worship leaders in the present.
Imagine then, one of those congregations so effectively implementing this player-development model that they are able to groom more worship leaders than they actually have places for them to serve. Then imagine the kingdom value of that congregation getting to farm-out those trained leaders to other congregations who were not as prepared to fill their own vacancies.
TEAM DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- What system do we presently have in place to secure players, singers, and tech substitutes when team members are absent?
- How are we encouraging younger artists to develop their skills for potential worship leadership in the future?
- Within the limitations of our budget, leadership, and facilities, how can we implement a formal or informal training process for younger worship leaders?
- What opportunities do we have or can we create for younger leaders to use their gifts publicly before they are ready to lead in the primary worship services?
The above post is an excerpt from David Manner’s new book, Better Sundays Begin on Monday: 52 Exercises for Evaluating Weekly Worship, Copyright ©2020 by Abingdon Press. Print and E-Version copies are available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Books A Million, Cokesbury, and Christian Book.