Earning the Band’s Respect
There’s an invisible problem in many of our church services. It’s a division that can happen, even in a perfectly executed service. The congregation won’t notice it, and even the pastor might not. But, it’s in the atmosphere; in the relationship between the worship band and the production team.
Maybe it started with a misunderstanding – a misperceived or an undeserved harsh word – but a chasm has begun to form between two people and two ministries that should be working hand-in-hand. It’s a common part of ministry that should not be. How can we more proactive about earning respect from those we serve with, and in turn, being more worthy of respect from others?
Check your ego at the door
If you can’t check it at the door, hang it up on a rack yourself. The church is no place for your pride.
Sometimes, this also includes giving up some of your rights and exercising a measure of humility that only the Holy Spirit can give. That doesn’t mean you allow someone to walk all over you. But consider others better than yourself.
Control a critical spirit
It’s okay to be critical about the work you’re doing and how well you’re doing it. It’s what allows us to improve and grow as technical producers and leaders. But we have to be careful where we focus our criticism. For some reason, we can get frustrated at a piece of tech gear failing then get over quickly. But then we get frustrated at a person – created in the image of God – and let that linger for weeks.
In fact, most of the time the thing you’re criticizing isn’t even your responsibility. Sometimes you need to mind your own business.
But when you do have the opportunity to give input, you should be gracious and considerate – even when you don’t want to be and don’t feel like it. Poorly focused criticism is destructive, but well articulated critique builds and betters the skill and performance of others.
Make individual connections
Depending on the size of your church, you may have the same worship band each week or you may have teams and volunteers that rotate. In my situation, we have volunteers that rotate serving different weeks as well as serving in any one of our seven locations. It makes it very easy to just mechanically roll through sound checks and setups based on the needs of any given week.
But instead of just doing the same routine, step out and greet the worship team members. Introduce yourself to those you don’t know. And for the love of all things good and holy, after you’ve met someone new, use that person’s name during sound check. Don’t just call out, “Hey drummer! Kick!” Make it more personal than that.
It makes it easier for them not to get annoyed at “the sound guy” when something doesn’t work as planned. Individualized relationships help get specific results.
Over the years, I’ve known and seen so many technical directors and volunteers shoot themselves in the foot, simply because they weren’t approachable or open to comments or criticism from others. If you discredit someone else’s opinion or input, don’t expect them to hear yours or work with you when you need them to. Listen to others and at least hear them out. Many times, people simply want to be heard and affirmed.
From there, you can decide whether you need to do something about the situation. Maybe there’s a compromise that needs to be made or maybe there’s a problem you simply never realized was an issue. Be approachable and relational, and you’ll be successful.
Give honor where honor is due
If someone on the worship band does an awesome job, does something you really like, or helps you execute your ministry with more excellence – compliment them! It’s a sure fire way to get them to do it again. Plus, it helps to build relationship and trust between everyone involved.
A benefit of relationship and honoring someone is advocacy. If you’ve helped someone in the past and they trust you, they’ll probably be more inclined to support your decisions and judgment. They may put their influence behind one of your decisions when talking to their peers or people they serve beside. That’s not to say you should manipulate people and use them to push your agenda. But good relationships are extremely helpful in conflict resolution and working together.
Earning the respect of those you serve with isn’t easy. It requires humility and laying down your own personal agenda and ego. Being critical in a negative way in ministry is never beneficial to building the body of Christ and fostering good relationships. Individual connections foster those relationships and being an open and approachable person will help build better foundations for effective ministry. Through all of this, we can honor and respect each other, and by doing so, we honor Christ.