Now that you’ve had a (hopefully) relaxing break from the holiday worship rush, carve out some time in the next week to prayerfully re-evaluate your worship ministry. Try a long walk or a long drive (when I have something big to consider, I’ll sometimes take an hour’s drive to one of my favorite restaurants in a nearby city. That gives me two hours of pure thinking time!)
Some things to consider:
What’s working? Does your congregation respond to a certain worship style or songs from a particular songwriter? One congregation where I served seemed to love the songs of Paul Baloche, another flipped over Hillsong United. If what you’re doing is working, find similar songs and styles. When you lead an old hymn does your congregation engage or yawn? Select hymns that can be arranged to fit your worship style.
What isn’t working? Be honest with yourself—that song you love in the style you love is met with blank stares from your congregation. Sure, indulge yourself once in awhile (it’s great to have musical variety), but stop trying to cram a style that doesn’t fit down your church’s throats.
Running a tight ship: Here’s another chance for you to be honest with yourself—where are you failing? Are you terrible at scheduling your team? Determine to do better (which probably means asking for help!). Are your chord charts a jumbled mess? Make sure they’re neat and accurate so you don’t waste your volunteers’ time during rehearsal. And speaking of rehearsals, are you trying to figure out your service order during rehearsal? Think and plan ahead so you know exactly where you’re going during limited practice time. What other procedures can be improved?
Can you be more than a musician? Good musicians, often introverts, can find it difficult or even scary to break out of their shells and reach out. Caring for people on your worship team doesn’t have to be that hard. A worship team is, in reality, a small group—if someone on your team has a crisis, a simple email or phone call will mean the world to them. Make sure they know you appreciate them (an encouraging, hand-written note on occasion works wonders.) Hang out after rehearsals with your team at the local pizza place.
Branch out: If you’ve got things running smoothly, it might be time to try something new—even something out of your comfort zone. Start a video department, a kid’s choir, an adult praise choir at special times (like Christmas and Easter), a Sunday morning prayer team that meets before the service, or whatever new and interesting thing you can dream up.
Delight your team: I worked at a church for a few years as pianist. The music director loved doing crazy fun things for the choir—he liked “mystery rehearsals” and would whisk the choir away on special occasions (like the final rehearsal before summer) to odd locations. Once he rented a huge houseboat and we had a choir rehearsal cruise. Another time he hauled the choir away from church via bus to a downtown skyscraper where we had rehearsal (and food) on a top floor with amazing views of the city. What fun things can you do for and with your team? Maybe your guitarists will come to rehearsal and find some funny, unique guitar pick on their music stand you found at the local music store. After visiting the NAMM show in LA one year, I brought back a stack of bass, guitar and drum magazines for my praise band.
Are you spiritually stagnant? Sometimes we get so busy doing God’s work we forget about the One we’re working for! If you’re feeling a spiritual disconnect, James 4:8 says if we draw near to God He’ll draw near to us. Seek out a worship leader devotional. Find a friend where you can have weekly ministry chats over lunch. Stream the DailyAudioBible during your morning jog or commute.
Bottom Line: 2015 can be your best ministry year ever … if you plan for it to be!