Every worship team has it’s own culture during the summer months. I’ve known some churches where the worship leader also works in the school system and as a result, there is time in the summer months to grow, stretch and push. Other times, based on the area or the style of the congregation, many people will be in and out all summer long. For example, in our worship team, one young man was on a two-month mission trip. A couple of others blocked off a month at a time for a vacation.
On a personal level, for more than 30 years now, I have invested several weeks during the summer leading worship for church camps and other special events. As a result, I have often used the summer to invite others to serve on the Sundays I’m gone. We also often spend the summer doing simple stuff well. We don’t try tons of new things but try the basics well. We do some familiar songs, have a couple of community-building events and we, for the most part, keep it simple. We don’t hit the brakes, but we don’t hit the gas pedal either.
In either case, the fall is an obvious new starting point. It’s a great opportunity to pull your team back together, recruit others, share the vision again and inspire people to keep on moving forward together.
Here are some ideas:
Send out an email, newsletter, or group communication to celebrate the summer, say thanks to each person who has played a role and let people know about some important dates coming up. It’s also a good time to re-up commitments or gather pertinent info like how often your team members would like to serve, any contact info updates, etc.
Plan and Schedule
Take a look at the calendar for the fall. What are the big Sundays? What is the direction of the pastor or church? What new songs will you incorporate? Who will be joining your group? Take some time to work on planning and scheduling for the next few weeks so things are set and ready. This builds expectations.
Schedule a Community-Building Event
Sunday mornings are “go” times for the worship team. We arrive early, stay late, and are busy most of the time. As a result, I always like to plan – at least four times a year – a community-building event that is not centered around getting things ready to lead. We want to have meals together, talk, visit, play, plan, and in general, not get to a point where it’s all work and no play. I know that accomplishing the task of worship leadership builds teams, for sure! But I want there to be plenty of opportunities for people to connect on a different level.
Time of Training
A time of training can be incorporated in many ways and should be ongoing. Some ideas might include having a night where you learn new songs, aside from the coming Sunday set. Another way is to kick off the season with a meeting regarding expectations, vision, and growth for your ministry. Even if not everyone is there, having some things in writing will help steer the ship. (Things you may want in writing: schedules, times, Planning Center expectations, rehearsal expectations, dress code, growth in spiritual maturity, etc). It’s great if your training times can be extended into a regular routine. Try to sign up for a conference or workshop. When you see a great training video for worship leaders and teams, share it with your group through Facebook, text, or email. When you get the chance, encourage your team to visit another church and report back any creative ideas and inspiration they may have taken away. Often, my motivation for training and expectations is motivated by this one thought: “If one of my team members had to move and join another church, I would want that worship leader to be inspired by the level of humble commitment and effective ministry of anyone coming from our ministry.”
Vision For The Fall
The Fall season is one of natural vision. Though it needs to be woven in throughout the year, it never hurts to go back to the basics. Why are we here? What is our job? Why do we exist? Where have we been, where are we going? Here are four questions you can use! In essence, pray about your ministry, dream about your ministry, think about what it would be like if you were twice your size, and share some of that with your team.
Long Term Planning
Long Term Planning benefits your soul, your family, your team, and your church. Carve out some time in your busy schedule to do some work on the calendar. It will be life-giving as you make time for breaks and vacations, time for important ministry-building conferences and activities, time to develop your team, and time to plan, dream and work toward the goal. After doing this on a personal level, it might be good to meet with a couple of key leaders in your ministry and repeat the process on a corporate level.
Meeting with Pastor
Check-in with your pastor. If you don’t have a regular, standing meeting, now is a good time to see how things are going. What would your pastor like to see in the future? How are things from your pastor’s perspective? What are his/her dreams for the ministry?
Prayer is a key component in your ministry. God works through prayer – so we stay consistent and persistent. We keep focused on God’s work of prayer for our ministries, leaders, our church and our people. Find ways to be reminded to pray. Build the discipline of prayer into your life. Pray with your team, pray with the other leaders, and pray at home. Bold and big prayers will produce bold and big things. You have not because you asked not. Keep praying! We’re praying for you.
Remember that flexibility and adaptability are key, as each worship team is unique. It won’t the same every fall, but now is the time to hit it hard, get ministry into the new routines of people, and enjoy working with your team as you serve in the church.
Sometimes ministry leaders hit up against issues, roadblocks, and other plateaus in their life and ministry. That’s where a coaching call or two can really come into play. Often, a different perspective and encouragement from someone – especially someone out of your typical circles – can be exactly what you need to take the next step. I would love to talk with you! Let’s set up a time here.