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How to Keep Team Members – 4 Ways to Care for Them

how to keep team members

As you’re leading the team that leads your church, it isn’t uncommon for folks to move around (even if they’ve been working on your team for years). Once you’ve recruited musicians, your sound team, your leaders, and your media techs – the question becomes how to keep team members — and how to keep team members for the long haul.

The good news? There’s a way to nurture those bonds and relationships with your team so that you won’t regularly be faced with an every-6-month-turnover in your core worship team.

How to Keep Team Members – 4 Ways to Care for Them

1. MAKE PEOPLE FEEL LOVED

When people feel loved, appreciated, and valued, it’s not as hard to keep them committed. Over the course of the journey that you’ll share together as a worship community, people need to continually feel valued.

In other words, they need to feel like they have a part to play – that they have a role in the bigger family of the work in ministry life together.

If people on your team feel valued and affirmed, they’ll do almost anything for you and for your team over the long haul.

Focus on expressing authentic value and worth to your team members. The fruits of the spirit are not personality traits. We can all be gentle and affirm our love for individual servants.

We can all be generous with our encouragement of our worship team members, even if some of us have to tell our less-relational personality to pull up its bootstraps to become an encourager!

Be encouraging at all times, as often as possible – encouragement is a vital ingredient when keeping people connected and committed. Why?

Because our team members’ volunteer tasks can get tiring, repetitive, and draining – and a little verbal affirmation goes a long way in making us want to serve together.

WAY 2 – GO BEYOND THE TASK

Go beyond “functional” worship leading with your team. Go beyond the week-to-week duties with them. Get involved in their life as a friend.

See if you can support them in any particular way in different seasons of their lives.

Consider taking ministry bricks out of people’s wagons. In other words, make their loads a bit lighter when you can, and put people before the task (specifically when you are leading primarily with volunteers).

Some people are just over-committed. Many worship team ministry members are also a part of small groups or other ministries that strengthen your church. People are already living active lives. If you sense a conflict of energy and commitment, then be honest with the person:

“Look, if you need to lay worship down for a season, maybe that’s what God’s leading you to do. Or maybe you need to lay down some of your other tasks so that you can serve with joy in the worship ministry. You need to know that I love having you here, and we need you. But I’d also like to affirm the other roles God has called you to fulfill. I am concerned for your heart, your life, your marriage, and your children. So, is there anything I can do to help alleviate some of the pressure?”

The response to that kind of an offer is, in my experience, usually something like:

“Thank you for loving me enough to say that. Thank you for being honest. Thank you for championing me along the journey.”

WAY 3 – CARE FOR THEIR GREATNESS

Care for, and launch fireworks around, their greatness. People have particular things that are important to them.

You may have an amazing violinist who can’t hear herself in the monitors over the drums or because of the sonic setup of the stage.

It’s important to pay attention to these needs for each person, and to address them as well as you can. For this violinist, it may be worth the fight to find her the best monitoring system you can afford, and accommodate her best placement on the stage.

Always, always, always, celebrate the greatness in your team members. Will you always succeed in calling them to who they are meant to be?

Probably not. But, you will succeed 20, 30, or even 40 percent of the time. And that matters. At the end of the day, there will be a sense of value expressed to you as a leader when someone on your team feels like you care about the areas of passion and greatness that make them who they are today.

If you have a quality, skilled, passionate musician, you could have folks gather up money for a birthday present for them, buying them an incredible instrument.

It is amazing what these kind of gestures do in someone’s heart. An added bonus is that often such gestures keep them committed for the long haul.

They’re along for the journey with you because they see that you are generously living life together – and not just fulfilling a task week to week.

WAY 4 – INVEST IN THEIR JOURNEY

Invest in your team members’ journeys because they are worth investing in. Yes, this could mean monetary investment, but it could also mean babysitting their kids, getting to know their extended family, or spending time in their lives.

Do what you can to invest in each team member’s long-haul discipleship journey. Let them know they are more to you than just a guitar player, a sound tech, a media leader, or someone who runs logistics behind the scenes.

You only have so much time and energy to give – if everyone on your team is about creating the kind of culture that invests in others, you can step back a bit and let them have at it.

Our goal is to create a servant-hearted, mutually-loving community that cares for one another, makes one another feel loved, and stands the test of time together.

Friends care for one another’s mutual greatness, and your team will learn, through your example, how to invest in others. When generosity of spirit is in the worship team ecosystem, health and life comes to the whole community.

How to Keep Team Members – Action Steps

Try at least one idea for the next time you meet.

The key for how to keep team members around for the long haul is to nurture your relationship with each one of them. Make your whole team feel loved and appreciated, rather than simply emphasizing the task before you. Go beyond week- to-week interaction, and get involved in their weekly life whenever possible.

Caring for each of their needs – and respecting that each person has their own priorities – establishes that you’re listening and respecting who they are, which builds their trust in both you and the team.

And, of course, genuinely invest in who they are. They’re on your team for a reason – affirm and encourage them generously outside the church environment, so that they’re even more inspired to lead the congregation with you in worship.

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This article on how to keep team members originally appeared here, and is used by permission. You can sign up for Dan’s email list, and receive a download of FREE worship team devotionals (and a few extras!). SUBSCRIBE HERE.

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Dan Wilt, M.Min. is an artist, author, musician, educator, songwriter, communicator, and spiritual life writer. With 20+ years in the Vineyard family of churches, he serves in various ways to further a “New Creation” centered vision of the Christian life through media.