This step-by-step approach can change the culture of your worship ministry and help your team grow spiritually and numerically—no matter the size of your church. We’ve seen firsthand the impact it has made in small congregations and large ones!
Please note that these methodical steps may take you months to complete. Be patient, and don’t rush through them—and be sure not to skip any as you move along. Each step is crucial to your success in training your team to be ministers through music.
Step 1: Confirm your vision, values and philosophy.
A. Through prayer and Scripture. Your first and most important task should be to nail down what you value and what your specific convictions are for ministry God entrusted to you. No vision, no values and no approach to ministry should be formed outside of clear scriptural confirmation and God-given direction.
No vision, no values and no approach to ministry should be formed outside of clear scriptural confirmation and God-given direction.
B. Through careful research. Talk with other worship leaders and pastors in your area to learn what they do. Also, take a look at quality worship ministries you know that are committed to discipling and training their teams.
C. Through Godly counsel. Proverbs 11:14 reads, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (ESV). Before you go public with your ideas, explain your vision and plans to people you trust to give you sound feedback and advice.
Step 2: Consult with key influencers within your church.
A. Educate them. The philosophy and systems you introduce may be a major shift from what your church has had in the past. You are hoping to change the culture of your worship ministry—and that change must begin with your key influencers.
B. Inspire them. Your dedication to work through these eight steps and your enthusiasm will be very important as you talk with key leaders. Know what you need to present to each influencer. Trust God to use your words to help inspire them to want to be on board with your ideas and dreams for the worship ministry.
C. Trust them. Ultimately, you need to remember that God has placed your key leaders in their places of influence for a reason. Listen to your pastor and elders and to the suggestions they give you. Pray for them that God will illumine their hearts and minds to see what you’re trying to do. Then trust and submit to them—even when they don’t fully agree with you.
Step 3: Commit to the development process.
A. Budget for it. David said, “I will not…offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (1 Chronicles 21:24, ESV). Offering God our best costs something. It’s all just a big pie-in-the-sky idea until we have to pay for it. Then it becomes reality. Plan ahead for the materials your team will need and for training events they need to attend. If possible, place line items into your church budget like “leadership development” and “mentoring.”
B. Broadcast it. Habakkuk 2:2 says, “…Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it” (ESV). There comes a point when you have to make plain to your entire team what you are doing, why you’re doing it, and how you plan to do it. Share it over and over in various and creative ways. It’s also helpful to have a graphic image which illustrates what your vision and plans are. My worship staff and I developed a carefully crafted process that’s simple to explain and follow.
C. Belabor it. Anything worth doing can be difficult. Go ahead and plan now for obstacles and challenges from people who don’t get what you’re doing and don’t like it. As you begin to make adjustments to weekly schedules and long-standing traditions, you will get some push back. Handle it prayerfully and carefully. Don’t take it personally. Keep reminding your team of what you’re trying to do and why.
Step 4: Lead your team to grow as worshipers and musicians.
A. Lead them in Bible and book studies. This is where the “water meets the wheel.” Everything you’ve said and done thus far has basically been rhetoric. Talk is cheap. Now it’s time to actually dig in and start growing. The best place to start is with heart-training. After all, worship starts in the heart. Worship leaders should learn to worship God themselves before they lead others in worship.
Worship leaders should learn to worship God themselves before they lead others in worship.
B. Provide opportunities for music training. The best worship leader development involves not only character training (for the heart), but also competency training (for skills). Psalm 33:3 exhorts us to “play skillfully.” Look for ways to coach up your vocalists to be better singers. Challenge your musicians to set goals for themselves to improve their playing. Partner with a local college music department or music store to provide discounted lessons for some of your singers and band members. Line up technical training for your sound and production folks.
C. Model personal growth. No matter your age or educational background there’s always room to sharpen your musical skills and leadership ability. If you settle for stagnation and mediocrity, those on your team may also.
NOTE: Steps 5-8 are in Part 2 of this series.
One great way to keep growing as a leader and learn how to leave a legacy is to join our award-winning Worship Leader Coaching program. It’s a full year of coaching divided into 3 powerful phases:
Influence Phase (focusing on your personal leadership)
Impact Phase (focusing on developing your group’s growth)
Legacy Phase (focusing on training up others to lead)