Like anything else, worship ministry effectiveness requires continued learning and growth.
Don’t count on what you’ve learned a long time ago to sustain you through all your ministry. At each turn, at each season, you will need to grow from the experience and will need to tackle new challenges.
Keep the posture of a student. Don’t feel like you have to know it all, but keep an open mind, ready to learn.
Here are some ways to keep learning:
You can learn about worship ministry, leadership and relationships – and much more – through reading God’s word. Sometimes, it’s fun to read the Bible through the lens of worship. Passages like Palm Sunday entry (Matthew 21:1-11) help get a glimpse of spontaneous worship. Read the story, and reflect on how and why people were praising him. Another passage might be Paul and Silas worshipping in prison (Acts 16). What does that teach us about worship? What was the result?
From Other Leaders
There are many ways to learn from other leaders. Of course, we don’t want to compare, but we take what we hear and experience, and apply it to our ministries. Some examples of learning from leaders include visiting another church and experiencing how someone else leads worship, reading a book written about worship ministry or having lunch with anyone who leads well.
It’s not always fun, but some of our best learning comes from feedback. At times, negative feedback, given without love, can be chalked up to discontentment on behalf of the giver. But when it’s someone we trust, thought it may sting a little, we can take on the posture of a student and learn from it. What is this person really saying? What is it about my leadership that I can change to combat this? Don’t dwell on negative feedback, grow from it. It’s helped me over the years to remember the old saying “You’re not as good as your biggest fan thinks you are and you’re not as bad as your worst critiquer thinks you are.” All that said, worship leaders (and any ministry leader really) need to have some thick skin.
From Your Team Members
Much like any leadership position, you want to pay close attention to those who are on the ground each week. Your team members are a wealth of knowledge about how songs are connecting, how the worship team is doing, and how the church is receiving it. Your team members may have experience from another ministry setting. Your team members also know firsthand how you are leading as a pastor, a music director, rehearsal leader, and worship leader. Don’t tepidly live life wondering what people think, but find ways to systematically learn from your team. Asking questions is one great way to do this.
Coaching is one obvious way to really learn and grow as a student in your leadership. I have been the recipient of great coaching from various people over the years. In fact, the reason this blog was started was because a worship leader coach encouraged me to read more books and to “learn and return.” As a result, I would blog about what I was learning to share with anyone who was interested. There are numerous ways to sign up for ongoing coaching, but if you feel like you just need someone to talk with a couple of times about your ministry, I would love to visit!
Attending conferences and training events always helps you learn and grow! It’s one of the most practical and simple ways to remain a student. There are hundreds of local conferences, national conferences and online conferences for worship leaders. If you’re in our Southern Illinois/St. Louis geographical area, you’re invited to the Ministry Leaders Conference on Saturday, September 17! And, if you’re interested, here are a few free videos from our Awakening Worship Conference a couple of years back. [Access Videos]