Choosing the Right Worship Team Members

There’s been a mindset in the church for as long as I can remember that goes something like this: “If you can sing, play, and show up on time for rehearsal, you’ve got a spot on the worship team.” Great hearts and poor musicianship do not an effective worship team make. The inverse can be just as bad: pro musicians who have no buy-in, no interest in the church past their charts or their monitor mix (or their check if you are paying them). Is it too much to ask for talent and heart???

We audition people every week who desire to be a part of our worship teams, many of them with pretty decent chops. Once we’ve established that they have the ability to play or sing I begin looking for a few intangibles:

Does he/she exude the quality of a worshipper? Do I enjoy being around them? If they are lifeless off the stage, they’ll practically be a corpse on it. Everyone on the worship team should be a model of joy and enthusiasm, ready to shine their light and encourage those in the congregation to join in! Contagious is a word that comes to mind…

Will they go the extra mile to show up to rehearsals prepared and with an attitude of working toward excellence? Do they understand that leading people in worship is serious business? I’ve worked with plenty of singers and players who do the least amount of work possible, look at their watches and ask, “When will we be done?” They’re not on our team anymore. Granted, it’s on me as the worship leader to make sure rehearsals run as efficiently as possible, but at some point we need to dig deep and spend the time to make the set amazing. Our church deserves it, and so does God. I need people on my team I can count on to put forth a great effort each and every week.

I’m not looking for a bunch of Billy Grahams, but those who grace the stage need to have an obvious passion for God. They need to have a grasp on just how important this all is. Singers and players who love what they do and love the God who gave them the ability to do it are worth searching out. These are the ones who worship during rehearsal when no one is looking. These are the people you can build around because they get it. And best of all, they will attract like-minded musicians – passion breeds passion.

I can’t count how many times I’ve been moved emotionally by one person onstage with a guitar, genuinely pouring their heart out for God and for their church. I also can’t count how many times I’ve been disappointed to see 10 musicians onstage going through the motions, just hoping to end the song at the same time. Is this a quality vs. quantity thought? In a sense. The point I’m trying to make is this – be careful who you put up there. What you model onstage will cause you to attract more of the same. Great players and singers who have a great time doing what they do will send the signal out to others who are wired up the in same way. The inverse is also true. It’s worth the effort to find those who have the gift of music and a passion for serving. These are the people who will truly lead your church in worship.

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Andy Chrisman
Worship Pastor
Andy came to Church on the Move in 2005, having been in the music industry for over 25 years. He's dedicated to raising up the next generation of worship leaders, and even though he spent many years with the group 4him, he says he's "having more fun now than I ever did on the road."