A few weeks ago, the shrieking cries of hipsters all around the world rang out as they learned “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition” had caused The Civil Wars to abandon their touring plans. Heartbreak.
Something broke the band.
Ever been a participant in a band breakup? The only thing worse than the impact of a band breakup might be what happens in a worship band breakup.
Nobody sets out to serve in a worship team with the goal of breaking the band apart, but it can certainly happen. Every worship musician has a role to play in maintaining unity and vision within the band as part of the direction of the church, just like every worship leader has a responsibility to call for unity and set vision in a way that keeps things moving in the right direction.
Is your band in danger or breaking? Here are a few ways to avoid that:
For Band Members: Pray
I wish this didn’t need to be said but it does. Pray for your pastor. Pray for your worship pastor. Pray for the people you serve beside. Pray for your congregation.
As you pray for your leadership, God will give you a passion and commitment to carry out your role in a way that supports and encourages the things they are calling you to. As you pray for your congregation, God will give you a love for them that will translate into your Sunday morning playing into an expression of serving them in a way that honors the Lord. As you pray for your worship leader, God will give you a new commitment to be part of a team that works hard together, for the sake of the Kingdom rather than for the sake of your own name.
For Band Members: Prepare
When conflict appears, it’s rarely about a current situation.
A failure to prepare for rehearsal and services can lead to resentment, which can grow quickly. Prepare at or above the level set by your worship leader. Do this for the good of the Sunday worship service and the good of the team you are serving.
What’s required when it comes to preparation will be different for every church and every situation. Make sure you have a very clear understanding of what’s expected from you. Are you supposed to print out your own chord charts? Are you supposed to have songs memorized? Should your parts match exactly what you hear on the recording? Working these out with your worship leader as part of your involvement in the worship ministry will keep relationships healthy and show that you are invested in the success of the whole team, not just your own ability.
For Worship Leaders: Communicate
It’s definitely possible to over-communicate by bombarding people with too much information – new songs, future plans, nitpicky details, wear this not that, and don’t forget your arrival time on Sunday. But you can never, ever, ever over-communicate when it comes to vision and core expectations.
It’s often said that by the time you are getting sick of communicating vision, your audience is just beginning to get it. That translates all the way from your pastor and leaders setting vision and direction for the church, all the way to you communicating vision and expectations to members of your worship team.
Do people who serve on your team know why they are serving?
Leaders must ooze vision.
Is this draining? It is, only if you don’t believe it wholeheartedly yourself. Is this hard to maintain? It is, only if your worship ministry is pulling in a different direction than the rest of your leadership and the rest of your church.
Know your church’s vision. Know how to communicate it. Make sure people on your team know it. When your team catches vision and begins telling it to one another, they’ll be more than willing to make sacrifices. They’ll work hard together for the sake of the whole.
For Worship Leaders: Clarify
Emotional misunderstandings can often be traced back to an event where clarity was needed. A word was taken the wrong way. An email whose tone that didn’t translate. Or body language that came across in a way that was not intended.
Clarify the roles and responsibilities of each worship team member. Clarify what’s required as preparation for rehearsal and for Sunday in a way that will serve your worship team members and set them up for success.
If the members of your team have a clear understanding of what you expect from them and how they are contributing to the big picture of your church’s success, you will have done everything you can to create an environment that will breed meaningful relationships and God-honoring worship services.
Worship team members and worship leaders working together to maintain unity among the band have the potential to create an unstoppable movement for the good of the gospel and the advancement of God’s Kingdom. Do everything you can to avoid breaking the band!