Have you ever felt like you were being set up before? You know, like, “This can’t really be happening.” Well, I played with a young worship leader recently and it felt much like that. It was a last minute thing (for me, not for him) because the keyboard player called in sick. We were supposed to run through things at in rehearsal and we would have had plenty of time – but he got there a half hour late, so we were cramming to get prepared. There were a couple of songs I didn’t know – actually 5 of the 8, so he was calling chords out to me on the fly because there were no charts for a couple of them. As you can tell, this was COMPLETELY set up for success! Anyway, while I seemed to get them during the quick run through, by the time the service started, chords were beginning to run together in my mind. We made it through, but not without a couple of hiccups, mostly my hiccups. After the service, he came to me, in front of a couple of other people, and said, “You made some mistakes tonight.” At this point, I began to look around for Ashton Kutcher and the Punk’d crew to come running out and yell, “YOU GOT PUNK’D!” The good news is that nobody died and I slept like a baby that night. But, based on that experience, there are a few details I would love to throw out there for thought and discussion.
Detail #1 :: Familiarity Breeds Engagement – There were several new, unfamiliar songs. If I, as a player who is fairly familiar with current worship don’t know several of the songs, I would think that there would be a law of diminishing returns for the average congregation member. In fact, I just blogged about this subject a couple of days ago CLICK HERE. As worship leaders, we HAVE to balance the songs we love to sing with the songs that people can sing with us. It’s great that you are pouring over every new Hillsong, Jesus Culture and Elevation Church worship project as it comes out, but just because you hear it and like it doesn’t mean you have to immediately introduce it. Chances are, what is new to you in March will still be new to the congregation in September. Pace yourself, my friend.
Detail #2 :: Preparation – It is imperative that as a worship leader, you know the songs you are singing, which speaks to preparation. But, just as important, you have to set your team up for success by giving them the resources they need to be successful, which also speaks to preparation. If you have instrumentalist playing with you, provide them with some form of chart/roadmap for each song you are doing. It doesn’t matter how good the player is, if they don’t know where to go, they may get most of it right, but the things that get missed will be a distraction to those in the congregation trying to enter into worship.
Detail #3 :: Be on time – If you make people wait for you, it sends a message that either you don’t value them, or you don’t value the opportunity you have been given to lead. Either way, time management is vital to success. People often view musicians/artists as flaky. If you want to break that perception, be on time. It is one of the fastest ways to earn credibility.
Detail #4 :: Feedback Should Be Given In Private – If you are planning to teach, correct, discipline or give feedback to a member of your team, do it behind the scenes. Even a joking jab (of which I am the chief of sinners) is a passive-aggressive way of getting your point across. In an effort to honor your team members, they deserve to hear from you if things didn’t go well. However, embarrassing them in front of others will erode trust quickly and, by the way, doesn’t paint you in a favorable light.
Would love to continue this conversation; give me your feedback by replying below.