GETTING NEW PEOPLE INVOLVED IN MUSIC MINISTRY
BY STEVE KRENZ
When it comes right down to it most worship songs are fleeting, most of them having a very brief lifespan. Music styles change and even instrumentation evolves, but the one factor of music ministry that stays constant is the people of God lifting up their praises to Him. This will be a part of music ministry for the rest of our collective lifetimes and even beyond. As such, it is important to firmly entrench your ministry with good working and functional habits that will not only ensure your own longevity within God’s service, but also empower others.
People are more than “musical resources.” They are the lifeblood of your worship team. Getting new people involved in your team goes beyond the present need that every church has for skilled musicians and
singers. Bringing new people into worship ministry extends into planting and tending the spiritual seedlings from which the future of the worship ministry at your church will grow for years to come. Drawing new people can become a natural process if we have some key attitudes in place.
Worship ministry that is done with an excellent spirit will naturally attract people to it. Excellence in your worship ministry is not dependant on the size of your church or the level of resources you may have. It is an attitude of heart that pervades everything you do. People appreciate, expect and are drawn to excellence. With this in mind, we should strive to sing well, play skillfully, and even memorize the songs to minister them more effectively. Excellence is reflected in everything we do.
Pay attention to the details of how you, your team, your stage and your church are being perceived. Do you and your team reflect an attitude of excellence in your appearance? Does your stage look clean and inviting? Does the choice of songs reflect a prayerfully thought out and clear direction that preferably ties in with the message of your pastor? Are the transitions between songs and between the various parts of the service done in a concise and fluid manner? These are just a few examples where excellence in your ministry definitely need to be shown.
This principle is equally true. No matter what church you may serve in, sloppiness in areas of ministry turn people off. Sloppiness in our ministry to God reflects poorly on us, our churches and ultimately, upon God. Take a realistic look at the music ministry at your church and ask some difficult questions. Do we appear disorganized, flustered or nervous as we stand up to minister before God’s people? When was the last time the stage had a good cleaning? Are the audio cords and cables organized or hid out of sight? Is sheet music from previous rehearsals all picked up?
There are some simple ways to combat stage clutter. Consider visiting the local craft store to pick up a few silk plants to strategically place around the stage. Purchase some black fabric to cover some of the
more unsightly articles such as the backs of amps, guitar effects pedals and the backs of upright pianos that face the congregation. Make sure the musical transitions between keys and between songs are well rehearsed to avoid confusion and awkward pauses.
Pay attention to the details, for in them are the difference between good and great worship teams and ministry. No one wants to join and devote his or her time to something that appears sloppy and thrown
together. Quite possibly, some of the best people your church’s music ministry has ever known could be quietly sitting in the congregation saying to themselves “Why should I get involved? The worship team
doesn’t even have its act together.”
Be Inviting and Fun
People are naturally drawn to people that are having a good time. They want to be involved in activities that are enjoyable. Your greatest weekly advertisement for others to get involved in worship ministry
lies in the joy on the faces of the people that are ministering on the platform. Make your worship team a place where busy people can let their guard down and worship the Lord with fellow believers in an atmosphere that is positive, meaningful and fun. Lighten up. Smile more. Laugh.
Many people find themselves, at one time or other, lonely and they desire to be in a place where “everybody knows your name.” Make a conscious effort to reflect in your worship team the joy of the Lord and the joy of fellowshiping and worshiping the Lord with other people.
Church activities can have a wonderful place in the lives of people, provided that it has boundaries. Everyone has a life outside of the church walls. If someone finally gets excited about giving up some of
their time to sing in the choir, make sure that when they come to rehearsal it is a good experience for them. Start rehearsal on time and end rehearsal on time. If your rehearsal is on a weeknight, a good rule
is to try to end no later than 9:00 p.m. People need to get home, get their kids to bed, and prepare for the next day of the week. Do not hold people late into the evening. The first time visitor to your worship team rehearsal may stay until 10:00 p.m. or beyond for the first practice not wanting to be embarrassed, but most will not do it twice. Make sure that every minute your wonderful people are volunteering of their precious time is being wisely spent.
If possible and practical, consider providing childcare for your rehearsals. For many parents with young children the issue of childcare is one of the most important factors in their decision to join the worship team. Realize the need they have to have their children cared for, and the blessing it is for them to not have to get a babysitter.
Emphasize often to the church and your worship team that worship and music ministry is a high calling that is vital to the cause of Christ in this place. New people will not be drawn to the worship ministry because of your needs, or the needs of the pastor, or even the church. But they will be drawn to worship ministry to serve the Lord out of their love for Him. Talk about the importance that the sacrifice of
time and talent of God’s people in worship ministry is having to the body of Christ. People want to be involved in something that is beyond themselves, something that is helping other people.
Be a Blessing to the People that Serve on Your Team
Serving on the worship team should not only be a blessing to the church body but also be a blessing to your team members. I believe God is more concerned in the welfare of people and their relationship to Him than
in their musical talents of singing and playing at church. We, as music directors, should be more concerned about our people than in their talents that they bring. We have a responsibility before God to our team to steward not only their musical talents but also their lives as followers of Christ. Pray for your team members needs. Teach them and train them. Visit, cry and encourage them in times of need.
Show your appreciation to them publicly and privately. Purposefully schedule times of fellowship. Grow the people on your team. Tend them, water them, and steward them in their walk with the Lord. Remind your music team and the church of the tremendous influence that serving the Lord in the music ministry has. Personal contact and word of mouth is still the most effective way to recruit.
Advertise in Your Church
Luke 11:33 states, “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” If you have specific needs
in the worship ministry then let the needs be known. People cannot help you out until they know that you have a need. Write a paragraph in the church bulletin or make an announcement from the pulpit outlining
specific areas that people could serve in. Emphasize the idea that God has uniquely given each person talents that can be used by Him to bless Him and the body. Clearly lay out the details of when and where
rehearsals meet and offer a phone number where those interested can call to get more information.
Avoid saying something that sounds like this “The music team needs people, talk to John after the service.” This type of generic call for volunteers is too vague and leaves too many unanswered questions. Instead, phrase it this way: “The worship team has openings for a bass player, keyboard player and singers to play and sing a couple of times a month for the morning service. If you, or someone you know, would like to serve the Lord in this rewarding ministry, please call John Doe at the church office at 555-5555. Rehearsals are 7:00pm in the sanctuary on Tuesday nights. Child care is provided.”
Advertise in Your Team
Not every good idea has to come from you as the leader. Just because you might not know of another keyboard player in the church doesn’t mean they’re not there. The many members of your team have a better chance of knowing someone in their relationships who could fit on the team than just your network alone. I have heard Bob Somma (guitarist for the Maranatha! Praise Band) relate how he had gone to his church for quite a while before someone expressed to him the worship team’s need for a guitar player and asked him to consider becoming involved.
Advertise in the Community
If your church is small there may be no one in your local church who can fill the need for skilled musicians. If an accomplished pianist cannot be found in your church, consider placing flyers in local college music schools and music stores. If necessary, offer them a weekly amount of money to play rehearsals and services. More often than not you will find these players able to meet the musical needs of your service.
Some may disagree with the idea of having people outside of the body play at church. I respect the position and understand the underlying tones of sanctity for the platform ministry. Use your discretion when
bringing people in from outside of your church. Consider it as a specific form of evangelism to musicians who would otherwise not darken a church door.
Psalm 127:1 states, “Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain.” Even if you do all of the aforementioned things but do not pray your results will not be successful. God is ultimately the one
who will bring people to serve in His house. Our efforts, apart from His guidance, can only bring limited results. We should go to God, our provider, with all of our areas of needs; not just our personal needs
but our needs as leaders in His church as well. Make a personal commitment to pray for the needs of your worship team.
People are More than Resources
We as leaders must see beyond the musical talents of our people and steward them as precious living stones in God’s house. God’s house is a place of joy and refreshing. It is an exciting place where lives are
healed and people are helped. May God give you supernatural wisdom, creative ideas and heartfelt passion to see people constantly flowing into the stream of service in God’s house.
Steve Krenz is a guitarist and worship team clinician based out of Nashville,Tennessee E-mail him at znerk@ email.com.
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