Essential Tools for Organized Worship Leadership

by Zac James

In worship ministry, we prepare our voices, instruments, sets, and hearts to glorify God in worship. What gets lost in the shuffle is how to administrate everything that goes into it.

For example:

How do I schedule a team and communicate that information?

How do I get my team music & chord chart files for the set?

How do I keep track of weekly tasks?

How do I track appointments so I don’t miss important meetings?

How do I collaborate with my lead pastor?

How do I track receipts so I don’t lose them?

We serve our teams well and glorify God through excellence when we answer these well. Growing up, I was known for being extremely absent-minded. My dad had a great saying for those moments when I would forget the same thing over and over: “Change your process!”

In other words, if you are failing to administrate something, change the step-by-step of how you do it. This often involves using a tool to help me instead of winging it and hoping for good results, but it can also mean choosing a different tool or process if the one I’m using just isn’t working. I’ve been leading worship since I was 14, and I’m now 33, with six years of full-time worship ministry experience. These tools have been high-impact in improving my ability to administrate worship teams.

  1. Time Management and Scheduling Tools

Whether you use Calendar, Google Calendar, or default Calendar on your phone, you need a way to manage your time. You can schedule appointments, create reminders, store the address for the appointment (very useful for obscure locations when meeting other worship leaders for coffee), and other notes, such as what to bring. Having a shared calendar also provides accountability if you give your pastor or administrator access.

  1. Notes App

I rely on the default Notes app for many purposes in my daily life. It serves as my go-to platform for various tasks, whether jotting down sermon notes, delivering live sermons, organizing team members’ attendance for conferences, taking detailed notes during meetings or simply creating to-do lists. The versatility of this app knows no bounds. Although your choice of the note-taking app may vary, I personally prefer Apple’s Notes in iCloud. Its seamless synchronization across my phone and laptop ensures I have access to my essential information whenever and wherever I need it.

  1. Whiteboard

I initially wasn’t gungho about having a whiteboard in my office, but my former lead pastor insisted, and I’m glad he did. When you need to collaborate in worship planning with a team, you need a way to display the group’s progress visually. You could also use a TV with your laptop Airplay function (or HDMI cable). (Also, it’s great for my family – my kids color on it between services and my wife leaves notes for me!)

  1. Weekly Process List

Remember the whole “change your process” line from before? One of the important things that helps me stay organized is having a visual list of all repetitive weekly tasks. I also include things that are hard to remember, such as updating a website for special service times.

  1. Planning Center Online (PCO)

I believe this should be mandatory for every worship ministry. It is an unbelievable time-saver when you have it set up correctly. It allows me to store all my song files by key & arrangement, so if I pick a song and key, it automatically loads them for the team when they log in to see the set. It’s elegant and efficient. Changing keys is easy peasy. It allows you to email team members in the app, so no need to add people to an email each week. Click a button, and write a message, send. Easy.

It allows me to review past song schedules and track how long it’s been since each song was used. I sort my songs by the Last Date Used, and this is INCREDIBLE for song planning. When you schedule team members, it will show them as confirmed, unconfirmed, or declined. This clarifies whether they are actually planning to serve or whether they missed the memo or are out of town. That can save you a panic moment of realizing a key musician wasn’t available like you thought, simply because they missed an email.

I also use it to schedule three-month rotations using the Matrix function. It functions like an Excel spreadsheet, allowing you to move people around and see a bird’s eye view of the schedule.

Long story short, if you aren’t using it, why not? It’s unbelievably high-value and high-impact for you to stay organized in worship ministry.

  1. Scanner Pro

When I started my first full-time position, I struggled to track receipts. What solved the issue? “Change your process,” – the Scanner Pro app. If you remember to scan the receipt immediately, it doesn’t matter if you lose the physical receipt because you have a backup. It’s fast, reliable, and easy to use.

With the right tools, you can stay organized, accomplish the mission, and glorify God through your worship team administration.

Zac James

Zac serves as Associate Pastor of Worship at First Baptist Church Lancaster in Lancaster, OH. He is also the author of 8 worship courses at which received a 2019 Choice Resource Award from Next Level Worship International.

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