Laura Blankenship offers excellent advice on how to start that new WL position:
Your dream job has arrived! Long hours, little pay, no benefits, weekly critiques from your customers…welcome to worship leading!
Okay, I promise it’s not that bad. It’s great actually. Even though you have just begun your Worship Leader journey, you know as well as I do that we don’t do it for the money. And the rewards are tremendous. Watching someone raise their hand to accept Christ, baptizing your friend whose life has been forever changed, feeling that family sense of camaraderie with your band mates; it never gets old.
But maybe right now you are feeling overwhelmed by the newness of the job. I know I was! I had all these IDEAS and I was ready to solve all of the PROBLEMS and I couldn’t wait to CHANGE everything. I came it like a bulldozer.
Let me tell you how that worked out for me. Not great.
I am so grateful to God that He so patiently and lovingly taught me several things along they way. Hopefully, you can take a few of these tips and save yourself some WL heartache.
1. Build relationships. Build relationships. Build relationships.
My first week as a Worship Leader I had 10ish volunteer musicians. Six weeks later I had four. Yikes. Coming into this position, I should have spent most of my time building relationships with those 10 volunteers. Think about it. Those volunteers were used to serving under someone completely different than me. They didn’t know me or trust me.
Put in the time to get to know the volunteers that have been around longer than you. Grab coffee, hang out after church, whatever it takes. Build a relationship so they know that you care and they learn that they can count on you. You are more than just their band leader, you are their spiritual leader and friend.
I cannot stress this enough. Even if this were all you did, at least you would have a loyal, devoted team.
2. Change one thing at a time.
All those great ideas you have? All those problems you know how to solve? Write them down and save them for later. You only need to look at one at a time. Change is hard for most people. And you yourself are something that has changed for your church already. Don’t overwhelm them with change all at once. I’m talking about your volunteer team AND your congregation. Maybe you have plans to completely change the worship music and never use those “old” songs again. Make it a slow process or watch a mass exodus happen.
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