Laura Blankenship explains how she’s building up leaders:
You’ve heard it a million times, right? “Great leaders raise up new leaders.” My annual evaluation is coming up and I can already hear the words coming out of my pastor’s mouth, “On the worship team, who has the potential to be a worship leader? What are you doing about it? When will they be ready?”
When I started leading worship at my church two years ago, I had four volunteers. FOUR. I didn’t even have a complete band. So thoughts of ‘replacing myself’ and ‘building up leaders’ went straight out the window. It felt impossible.
Two years later, we now have 24 volunteers on the worship team. One of those is now leading worship at our other campus and I am training two aspiring worship leaders. How did we get here? That’s a big, huge, long answer. So how about we start with the first part of the process.
Here are some things I have learned about how to spot future worship leaders:
A potential WL is sold out to Jesus and the church vision.
This is by far, #1. When you think about the volunteers on your worship team, who stands out as someone who is there to serve Jesus first? Here’s another way to look at it. Who do you see that is growing in their faith? I’m not talking about the person who knows the most about the Bible. As a leader, you should be able to spot those under you who are seeking Jesus and taking steps in their relationship with God.
Don’t forget about your church’s mission and vision. The people you are looking for are the one’s who “get it”. That’s how you would describe them to others. They are probably not the ones who are sure to tell you every time they disagree with a song choice or the ones who ask you, “When’s my next solo?” every Sunday. Just sayin’.
A potential WL loves people.
A worship leader HAS to show love to people. There are some Sundays I find myself chanting, “Choose love. Choose love. Choose love” in my head because I don’t “feel” it. As humans, we don’t always feel like being loving. But as a potential worship leader, do you see them choosing it?
A potential WL is excited to serve on your team.
It’s all in the attitude, folks. A potential WL is pumped to learn a new song. They ask questions like, “When am I on the schedule next?” and “Can I play/sing more often?” I recently had a volunteer (vocalist) as me, “How can I become more necessary to the team?” What a GREAT question. Now, that is someone who is invested in this ministry!
A potential WL is striving to improve their craft.
A potential WL does not think that they are good enough. They have the “never settle” spirit. One of the volunteers I am currently training plays the guitar and sings. She text me yesterday that she just learned how to play “How Can It Be” on the piano. She is actively trying to learn and have a better understanding of other instruments. Look for the people on your team who practice a lot, put in the extra time, and come to you asking how they can get better. That vocalist who asked about becoming necessary? She’s taking guitar lessons.
A potential WL brings ideas to the table.
They are out there listening to new music and tossing out song ideas. They text you mid-week with an idea for a killer opener.
Towards the beginning of my WL life, I had a volunteer ask if we could pray for each other at every practice. (And then I was embarrassed that this wasn’t my idea) That idea has turned into a team habit and has seriously brought us closer together. A potential WL has creative thoughts to offer.
A Potential WL has a desire to lead.
They honestly have to want to. As their leader, it’s our job to keep the lines of communication open so we know where their desires are. Maybe they have all of these qualities and are an amazing team member but becoming a worship leader is not right for their life right now. Talk to your team. But more importantly, listen.
Do you have some names popping into your head already? I hope so! Notice, I didn’t talk much about actual music talent. Hopefully, they have some of that since they are already on the worship team. BUT honestly, it’s not as crucial. Their heart is crucial.
What do you look for?