Like you, I lead worship in a local church week in and week out.
I’m grateful for the worship teams I lead – the volunteers who are practicing music, rehearsing together, and helping to lead worship each Sunday (in both worship locations)! Also for the tech team that helps make it all come to life and to the hospitality teams who serve in our church. This has definitely been a year of on and off ministry, but we have a small army of some of the best, most hospitable, and dedicated people around.
It’s been a busy Christmas season, as usual, but with different things. Recordings, streaming, outdoor services, extra production, extra decisions, and extra stuff! In addition to these expected abnormal things for this season, our tech team has just finished installing three new sound systems, pre-recorded four of our next couple weeks of services, planned production for four outdoor Christmas Eve worship services, and all the other little worship sound related things.
So I invested a chunk of time one day this week putting together an unofficial worship newsletter highlighting some of our ministry together this year as a worship, tech and hospitality team. I’m giving that out to each person, along with a small gift to say thanks.
It prompted me to think of the three reasons for a gift like this: 1) Acknowledgment, 2) Appreciation, and 3) Vision.
These are three gifts every leader can give as we wind down this year.
It seems every paragraph, letter or news story we’ve read this year begins with some version of “it’s been a different year, but…” or “in this unusual time we have….”
That phrase may be overused, but as a leader, you almost have to pinpoint the situation. You have to begin where you are, then move everyone to the desired place. We need to acknowledge the uncertainties, our mistakes, and the ways people may be suffering.
But we don’t stop there and give up, we acknowledge where we are so we can begin to move forward.
Acknowledgment may mean letting your team know why we’ve set certain things aside, or why we’re willing to continue trying even if things are the most excellent. Most worship ministries are like fish out of water trying to lead a congregation that is solely online or even half in-person and half online (which is almost more difficult in terms of tech focus)! But I’ve recently come across these two quotes:
“If anything is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.”
“It’s hard to beat someone who never gives us.”
So acknowledge the fact that you’ve noticed your people trying, working hard, making it happen, and if nothing else, adapting and being flexible!
Especially acknowlege those places where thing are really been working well and let your people know it!
Think of all the ways your ministry, schedule, life and digital expertise has had to change this year. But, you’re not the only one who has had to change. For most of your team, staff or volunteers, it’s probably been all that and more.
As a leader, we need to verbally and tangibly appreciate our people for the time invested. Of all the ministries in the church that have been impacted, worship ministry has stayed pretty constant. Even when everyone else moves to zoom, cancels ministry and sets non essentials aside, worship teams are rehearsing, meeting, preparing, recording and leading weekly and with new twists!
Be sure to appreciate the time and effort your team has put in. A couple of ideas stand out: small gifts, a newsletter or blog post highlighting moments from this year, a video greeting with a list of great things that happened this year (and mention lots of names) and give credit. As we are appreciating our people, our pastors, and our families – give credit to them for their part in whatever success may have happened this year in worship ministry. We give glory to God and credit to others around us.
You can also appreciate where God has you right now. If there’s a year where people may be disillusioned in their staff ministry roles, this may be it. Hang in there. Either way, you can thank and trust God for being right where you are.
The third gift you can give to your people is vision. I once heard that a vision is simply the snapshot of a preferred future. Share that image with your team.
I know there are uncertainties, but you can share the vision that we will eventually…
- be leading in church houses packed with people again
- be able to take off masks, have meals and hug
- be able to take what we’ve learned on the digital front and increase our ministry reach
- be able to set aside a season of triage and move to a more strategic and purposeful plan for accomplishing our mission as worship and tech teams.
- be thankful for all that we have experienced and learned.
You teams need to rally around the vision for the future and you as the leader are in the unique and special place to call people to that vision!