Of the many things the local church worship leader does, one of them is to help equip the congregation as leaders. You won’t be there in your role forever. And though you want to use your gifts of music and leadership to serve well, one of the best things you can do during your tenure is have a heart for God and help encourage and grow the gifts of those you are able to gather around you.
For starters, it’s difficult to lead a worship ministry on your own. You must be comfortable recruiting, inviting and getting people on board to help sing and play and to help make sure the tech works to support it. Most worship leaders who have served in any band setting realize this is obvious. Get comfortable reaching out to people and involving them!
I’m confident that if you are reading this post, you’re probably in a position of being a part of a worship team or leadership ministry in a local church – you probably have a few people around you with whom you serve. Now, you need to take the next step. You must begin to equip others for leadership.
Drilling down a bit, this is a messy process. It’s hard to describe “how to equip” at times, because so much of how leaders equip others is based on their own style and personality. There is some documentation that may need to happen, some expectations, some cheerleading and, depending on the size of your team, involvement from others.
But one thing we can talk about today is trust. The first step to inviting people into leadership is to trust them more. It may be a little scary, it may be a little nerve-racking, but I’ve learned over the years that the best way people can grow in their leadership is to jump in and do it. And at times, it’s almost better if I’m gone.
How can you trust your team members more? Here are a couple of big areas:
Trust a vocalist to lead a song. If you have been primarily singing all the songs, make a goal to turn over the leading of at least one song to someone else on your team each week. Share the music front leadership all you can. You may need to change some keys, and share the song and files in advance, but it’s worth it. As your team members become comfortable leading the songs that fit with them, after five weeks, they could lead a set!
Planning The List
Trust others to help build a set list – or other aspects of the service. When someone else is helping to lead the worship service, invite them to start from the ground up. Send the scripture or theme, let them pray over some songs, and let them give it a try. Of course, we want to assist, offer ideas and work in partnership as much as possible as we grow the leadership of our team, but trust people to experience it and make it work.
Leading the Service
Trust others to take the service and lead it. The more often you do this, the better and easier it gets. In fact, if you get into this rhythm of other people serving as worship leaders, you can take a backseat role… play another instrument or help with tech and still be present. Then when the time comes for an off Sunday, vacation or a transition to a new role altogether, you have a leader or two who can keep carrying it. The best way to learn is to do it. Share that joy and responsibility with others.
Trust others to pray aloud. At times, I find myself getting into the rut of being the resident “pray-er.” Don’t embarrass your team, but check in with people beforehand… “would you be willing to pray during our circle before worship?” Or “Could you pray after this song on Sunday?” Invite, equip and trust others to pray aloud for worship, for the church, and for the team.
If you don’t feel like you have leaders you can trust, start praying now! I recently heard you don’t find great leaders, you build them. There is someone in your church who can join you in ministry and become a partner to serve in leadership. Pray for doors to open and people to respond.
And one last thought: trusting more does require some prep work on your part. You want to give your team the tools to succeed. As the old adage goes, it may seem easier to do it yourself, but that’s not how the church is built. You are called to help equip your people for future leadership. Trusting them more is a first step.