If you have a strong and growing relationship with people off stage, you’ll have more of a connection on stage. This works at different levels depending on the size of the congregation (see relational verse presentational worship leading). But for most small to medium-large congregations, it’s a real benefit for the worship leader and team to connect and visit before and after the service.
The times of conversations and greeting before worship signals connection, relational warmth and access. It’s a way to gather feedback, help people feel welcome and bring about a spirit of joy in the gathering of the worshiping congregation.
Before the service, it’s helpful to have some pre-recorded music playing so that it’s not quiet as people show up, greet and talk. The worship team members then can just say “Good Morning” or a simple “Hello and Welcome” to folks already seated or who are coming in. There is also the opportunity to visit with just one person or family in more depth. It doesn’t always have to be church business—things about the church ministry, the next meeting, etc., but these quick conversations can be about their families, news you recently heard or saw about them on Facebook book, plans for the day, etc.
If you see someone you don’t recognize, move that direction quickly. Welcome, connect and find out if they are new. It’s often tough to know who is new, especially if your church has multiple services or is larger in attendance. The worship team must learn to grow in the confidence of approaching and connecting with new folks. For the days you are serving on the team, you are responsible for helping the overall worship experience work well.
Here are some thoughts about connection before and after:
Wrap up your rehearsal, prayer and details with about 15 to 20 minutes to spare. Use the remainder of the time to be welcoming and connecting with the congregation.
It’s tempting to stand around and talk only with others in the worship team. Of course, we want to encourage our group and build community, but strive to welcome others. Don’t stand in a complete circle. Be on the lookout for other people you know. Shake some hands and say good morning.
Be a Name Learner
Names are a huge part of relationship building. The one key I have learned about learning names is to stop saying, “I’m not good with names.” You can become good at it with a little practice. At the very least, try hard to remember. READ: The Art of Remembering Names
Be Open to Feedback
It’s often in the quick moments that you will receive feedback from folks in the congregation. “I liked that song” or “Have you ever thought about trying this?” Be ready and willing to listen in to feedback and carry it back to the group.
Be a Misser
This has to be genuine, but it’s good to miss people when they are gone for a week or two. If you know they were on a trip, a quick question about their trip can really build a connection. If you just haven’t seen them in a while, say, “I’ve missed seeing you—how’s it going?” Of course, if they say, “I was here last Sunday!” you can just respond by saying, “Cool, I must have missed you.”
Sometimes conversations that open up are bigger than anyone can handle in two minutes. Be strategic in your response. You can make a note to talk with the person this week. You can let them know you’d be happy to talk about it after the service. Another tip is to put the ball in their court. Tell them to call you this week or send an email to you to discuss it further. The pre-service time is a floating time, not an opportunity for major decisions.
Be Kid Focused
If you ever see kids, that’s a great in for connecting. It’s often easier to talk to kids or about kids with the family. If they are new, ask names, ages, grades, etc. Parents usually will love it when a friendly person comes over to engage the kids.
How does your worship team connect with the congregation during the services?
This article originally appeared here.