Many congregations do not realize the positive impact and influence that they can have on the morale of their worship team. Most congregants do not get the opportunity to hear the conversations of assessment and feedback that worship leaders and teams have with one another following each weekly gathering. Sometimes, worship teams can leave Sunday mornings feeling burnt out, unappreciated, and even eventually quit serving, depending on their congregation’s treatment of them. As a worship leader, I hope to provide three tangible, simple, and helpful ways for congregations to encourage their worship teams that could result in a deeper, more sustainable impact than they could realize.
Pray For Your Worship Team, and Then Tell Them!
Healthy worship teams are spending their weeks practicing and mastering their instruments (in many cases, for free), thinking through creative ways to proclaim the story of redemption, and working hard throughout the week with a posture to serve. One of the best ways to encourage your worship team is to pray for them, and then to tell them you prayed for them. Your worship team is likely composed of people from your congregation who are full-time employees, students, mothers, fathers, with real life stress who need their congregation to encourage them often. If your team never hears encouragement from you, they are prone to believe that you don’t actually care about them. By letting them know you are praying for them, you are reminding them of the value they have to the church, and truly is the best way to say “thank you” for their service.
Sing Often, Sing Loudly
It is such a deflating experience to stand in front of a group of people that you love, pour your heart out in preparation throughout the week, execute the plan with as much excellence as possible… and then to look out to a face of blank faces who are just staring at you. Many congregants don’t realize that worship is not exclusive to God (vertically), but is also meant to encourage the congregation (horizontally). Ephesians 5:19 says, “Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord.” Not only does the suffering congregant, who may feel hopeless, need to hear the voices of their brothers and sisters proclaiming songs of truth, but so does your worship team! Looking at a congregation who doesn’t sing can often make worship teams feel like their work doesn’t matter. Singing matters, and goodness it encourages your worship team deeply!
Give Feedback, Constructively
Believe it or not, your worship team actually loves hearing feedback from you, as long as it is constructive. I recently experienced an example of feedback that was not constructive. An older gentleman came up to me after the service, looked me in the eye, and curmudgeonly proclaimed, “We never sing hymns here!” We had actually sung a hymn every Sunday for the past two years at my church, so not only was his feedback unhelpful, but it was incorrect. Had this gentleman approach me willing to have a conversation or to ask questions, it would have been life-giving for me to dialogue with him and would have been my joy to try and serve him by implementing songs that allowed him to feel more connected to the Lord. Instead, it was hurtful and unproductive. Let your worship team know how they can improve, just do it in a way that is conversational and caring.