Keeping Your Team Fresh

There are times at our church when it gets pretty crazy in our department. Easter, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Romance (women’s event), etc. are just a few examples where our rehearsals can stretch over a span of several days and some of those rehearsals could last 6 hours or more. And in the midst of all that, the weekends keep coming! So it’s important to find ways to keep from burning out our volunteers. These are amazing people who have 9-5 jobs and families and still are able to give of their time to help us put together our events. And they do it with devotion and excitement. But at some point, if we don’t keep them refreshed and focused, we will wear them out.

Here are a few things that we do to help prevent burn-out:

It’s important that our team is not burdened with our lack of preparation. When they walk in the door they should be greeted with enthusiasm and direction. We know what we’re doing, what we expect of them and how long we will be rehearsing that day. We load all of our songs onto Planning Center well ahead of time to make sure everyone is familiar with the feels, keys, and arrangements. As the worship pastor I need to be extremely confident in our vision for the service/event. That alone will relieve stress for our team members.

We come up against scheduling obstacles all the time, especially when we need to add rehearsals for a special event. If my drummer’s work schedule changes, I will consider changing rehearsal times so that he doesn’t feel the pressure of making a decision between job and church. If we need an extra vocal rehearsal we may do it on a Sunday after church or Wednesday night before service when I know our singers will be there anyway. In other words, make it as easy as possible for your team to make rehearsal and not feel like they are putting the rest of their life on hold.

I understand that for small churches it is difficult to have multiple drummers and bass players, or more than 3 or 4 quality vocalists. But that’s no excuse for not seeking more talented people who can help you (read my earlier blog post on ideas on how to develop new talent). We deal with this issue every summer when we send music teams out to Dry Gulch to lead summer camp worship. We dealt with it last year when we had to split up our services between buildings when we remodeled our sanctuary. Motto: you can never have a deep enough roster. Being deeper also allows you to not have to lean on the same people every week. Giving one of your key players or singers a couple weeks off will keep them fresh!

I think it’s important to let our team in on why we do what we do, to help them understand the creative process that got us to this point. When they can buy in to the big picture they are more apt to shrug off tired voices and heavy work schedules. We share our victories with them, letting them know about the lives that have been changed because of the service/event that they were a part of. Nothing will motivate someone more than knowing they are making a difference.

By letting our players and singers know that we will do whatever we can to help them get better, we motivate them to stay connected. I will offer vocal and performance instruction to any of my singers who desire to get better. In the past we have set up our players with private teachers. We want everyone to feel as though they are on a journey and we are going to help them any way we can.

We have a nice, comfortable and spacious area each week where our team can relax and have fun between services. We provide food, drinks, WiFi, etc. in an effort to help them relax. We build in fun events for our team several times a year to say “thank you” for all of their hard work. We’ll cater in a nice meal, play games, and give away prizes, letting them know how much we appreciate their hard work throughout the year.

As leaders we need to continually be aware of the “condition of our flock”. Make sure that as you motivate and push your team to do bigger and better things that you don’t lose sight of the gift that your volunteers are giving you: their time.

Comments or questions? Would love to hear them…

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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."