Why Your Volunteers Are Quitting, Pt. 2

[Editor’s note: This is part two of three in a series on how to improve your track record with volunteers in your ministry. Check out part one here, and be on the lookout for part three next week.] 

I have developed seven fundamentals that every worship leader should consider and pray over. Last week, we explored time and leadership. This week, here are two more reasons why volunteer musicians are calling it quits:

3. Make a plan, execute the plan.

We serve a God of organization and order.

From the beginning of the Bible, God sets precedence for how his Kingdom works. He created light first, then land, then vegetation, then animals, and then finally his masterpiece, humankind in his own image, and there is a reason for the order in which these were created. I’m not one to speak for God by any means, but if light were created last, would any of the other bits of creation have been able to survive?

Are we leaders who embrace organization and order, or do we let chaos envelop and mark our ministries?

Hear me out: I’m not talking about Spirit-led spontaneity within a worship set. I am talking about a lack of organization and planning on our part to ensure our team has the materials and tools at their disposal so they can feel prepared and in turn know the music well enough to worship freely.

I have a general rule to have my sets up at least two weeks in advance of rehearsal.

Rehearsals should be scheduled well in advance of this two-week timeline as well. This allows the volunteers that have full-time jobs away from their instruments to be able to schedule when they rehearse on their own (and it is not an unreasonable expectation for your worship team to rehearse and know the music). This expectation needs to be set not out of a pressure to be able to perform their part perfectly. Instead, this allows your team to know their part so well that they can just focus on worshiping God when they play both at rehearsal and on Sunday.

This might sound crazy to some of us, but I played at a growing and thriving church where we would find out when we were rehearsing sometimes two hours in advance of the rehearsal time. That is unacceptable and conveys a message again that the volunteer’s time is not valuable and they should be sitting around waiting for a call just to know when rehearsal is going to happen.

Here’s why it’s important:

All of us feel a certain pressure to perform. We desire to lay our first fruits at the foot of the throne in an act of sacrifice to the King and to say, “Jesus, you deserve my best.” With that, we walk a fine line between performance and worship, and unfortunately if we are unprepared, we tend to err on the side of caution as musicians and focus more on not screwing up the music than we do worshiping God.

4. Disciple your team and encourage mentor relationships within the team.

As we said earlier, we should care more about our worship leaders’ walk with Christ than we should about the notes they play, and I think we all agree on that. We also went over the fact that there is only a certain amount of time that any volunteer has in a week to be effective in their ministry. If we put these two things together, we can get to the heart of the matter in relation to discipleship.

I have missed my small group with my wife for literally two months straight with rehearsals. I’m not proud of this. I really desire this time with our small group as they are like extended family to me, and my wife sure misses me there as well. This got me thinking: What would our rehearsals be like if we treated them more like a small group? What would happen if we spent time in the word as well as preparing worship for the weekend? After all, shouldn’t this time also be a time to prepare us for worship? In reality, with our volunteers spending an extra 10-12 hours per week at the church, this may be the only “small group” they get to participate in.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; there don’t need to be finger foods and deserts there, or an elaborate testimony time. One thing that we have found extremely effective is to set aside some time at the end of rehearsal to just do a group devotional. Usually the head worship leader for that week will bring a verse that they have been meditating on and talk through it with the group, encouraging discussion and thoughts.  

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ScottReady@churchleaders.com'
God has granted me the privilege to lead worship from a variety of platforms for over 13 years as a volunteer at churches with varying styles, sizes and techniques. I'm a construction superintendent by day and work crazy amounts of hours at my job while trying to balance my wife, my 8 month old daughter, being a worship leader at 3 different churches playing bass, acoustic, electric, singing, etc; anywhere that I can try to fill the gap to help lead even one person to Christ. I have been married to my wife for almost 4 years now and she was my college sweetheart, I’m a father to the most precious baby girl that I’ve ever laid eyes on (I’m biased I know), and I try to reach anyone I can in this crazy world that we live in. I’m not perfect. I speak jobsite and walk a very fine line between the world and the Word, sometimes falling off that line hard onto my face. Thank the Lord for grace! I can’t navigate this world without Him and in return if I can plant, cultivate, care, water, and even harvest the seed of one person to Him in my life, then this life was a success.