Q: Our worship team squabbles alot. How can I get us to work together?
A: It doesn't happen by accident. It takes a continual and concerted effort—along with the blessing of the Lord—to have healthy teams where those involved are called to a higher purpose than themselves. But when teams like this exist, they can transform not only those within the church, but the whole community. Healthy teams are great witnesses.
Team building can be daunting, but I have found a few practical steps.
In the early years at Saddleback, our small group program was not as well developed as it is now. So our relationships revolved more around our worship team activities. Today every attender, including worship team members, is encouraged to be in a small group, so we have to work harder to create community within the teams.
I plan community-building time in every meeting and rehearsal. The rehearsal is about so much more than music; the heart is more important than the art. We want the Lord at the center of the rehearsal. And it is possible to build a team united in purpose and in Christ. I do this in a few different ways:
I pray for each team beforehand (band, choir, singers). I pray that God will guide the rehearsal. I open and close the rehearsal with prayer, and we often break into prayer teams to pray together in the middle of rehearsal. Small groups of three to five choir members pray for each other's needs. And in the closing prayer we ask guidance throughout the week to help us to be worshipers beyond the Sunday services.
We teach and share biblical truth by opening the Bible together. Further, at every rehearsal it is important to cast vision: focusing again on why we do what we do. If people accepted Christ in our services the week before, we share that. We share stories that are a direct result of what God is doing in our church.
Give careful consideration to the spiritual life of each musician.
With more gifted musicians who need less rehearsal than the others, we ask them to invest in others, not just on a musicianship level but on a personal level. I encourage our leaders to arrive early and engage people on a relational level. They ask about their families, jobs, and the other things that are important to them.
This sets the tone for the rehearsal, but more important it models love for God, love for the church, and love for the team.
We are more than musicians; we're a family—a family of God, of friends, and workers for a common good.
You'll find that your team will take your lead and start modeling relationship building with each other.
Rick Muchow is worship pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, and author of The Worship Answer Book.
Copyright © 2008 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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