Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Worship Leader Tip: Have Attainable Expectations

I've been asked — "What are your expectations of your musicians? Where do you draw the line?"

You know, I'd like to go through life painless — a life that doesn't upset anyone, doesn't demand much, and where I don't make waves. Unfortunately, that's not the life Christ has called me to. If I wanted an easy life, I'd scrap this Christianity thing and do what I want (or don't do anything I wouldn't want to do).

When it comes to leading a worship arts ministry, I set some expectations. They aren't meant to be a bunch of rules or something I slap people's hands with. But I'm up front with them, share them with the worship arts family, and explain why I have them.

Here's a snapshot of my main expectations:

1. Come prepared to every rehearsal using the tools provided. We provide CD's, sheet music, lyrics, and online material for each musician to know the music before rehearsal. Why? Because worship is more than excellent music — and if we spend an entire rehearsal on only music, we'll lose the point. Knowing where the breaks, rhythm, style/feel, melody/harmony, and general roadmap of the music before rehearsal has to happen for a quicker entry point to heartfelt worship.

2. Be available to be used by God regardless of the environment. Your best 'ability' is your availability. Meaning, if someone can't or won't make themselves available to sing in the full vocal team or choir, I probably wouldn't invite them to lead worship other times in smaller vocal settings. Why? It's a safeguard to make sure we are in this for the right reason — not just for the "cool" selective position.

3. Have a great attitude. Why? Because complainers are a downer for me and God. I already struggle enough with it myself, so I don't need others dragging me into the pit. When I find myself complaining, it's usually because I'm upset God didn't give me my way. I appreciate someone who comes to me and says, I need to take a break because my attitude stinks.

4. Be ready to roll when rehearsal starts. In other words, show up before rehearsal starts so then the clock strikes midnight you are set and ready to roll. Start on time and we'll end on time. Why? God has given us all a certain amount of time. I value that. And I value your time. I try hard to end on time (rarely doesn't occur). So starting on time is a must. Being there for the whole rehearsal until the end values the time other others around you.

And here are some examples things that aren't necessarily expectations, but I really take notice when they happen.

1. Helping out behind-the-scenes with grunt work when you sing like a lark or play like pro. That speaks volumes. I love guitar players and sopranos who don't mind moving a music stand. God loves a servant — especially talented ones who, in the world's view, are 'above' serving. It's anti-diva. God is anti-diva.

2. Extremely passionate beyond the music about following and worshiping Jesus. I can smell a fake. Those around you can to. If you sing words you aren't meaning or feeling in the moment — you'll be found out. If you play and it's a bunch of chords and notes and repeats, eventually people will discover it. I love guitar players who sing. I love singers who look like they mean the words coming out of their mouth.

3. Encouraging people around you. It takes WORK to turn to someone and say I appreciate you. It takes initiative to find the behind-the-scene guy/gal and say — thanks for what you do. I notice when others are encouraging people around them.

4. Following through on something they said they would. I love it when someone says, "I'm on it." Then the next thing I know, they have it done, done well, and completely done. Wow! There are parents in the kids musical earlier this year that simply has amazing follow through. Makes my job easier when I know I can trust someone who will follow through.

5. Being a volunteer who works like they are paid. I can't tell you how much the light show this past year would have cost if I had to hire out the work. But, geesh, there's a core group of people who worked like they were being paid to do it. I've learned from others to call them un-paid staff. Really, they are on staff — they just aren't paid for it.

These two lists aren't complete, but these are some of the ones that come to mind.

What are your expections? Do you have them written done? Does your ministry family know them?

1 comment:

  1. As a volunteer I have expectations too. I expect myself to have the music memorized and well practiced before showing up for rehearsal. Be at church early to set up my gear and ready to go before sound check/rehearsal time. Give 100% to my team, church, and God. Meet and greet people in the atrium between services. Be an inspiration to others with a positive attitude and a servant heart. And I’m always ready to sit in if some one is unavailable. I set these goals for myself, to make everyone else’s job easier. The worship leaders and team members (band, signers, tech) know they can rely on me. Hopefully things run smoother because of a little extra effort on my part.

    It was great to meet you at Innovate 08.
    Brian Warrell
    Granger Community Church