As someone who is more interested in leadership and community than artistic excellence, team building is something that I get super jacked about. After almost 15 years of being on worship teams, I have noticed that too often team building is overlooked. If it isn’t overlooked it is something that is done out of obligation and not out of a true desire to create healthy thriving teams.
Over the past 5 years I have immersed myself in leadership podcasts, books and trial and error. Through all of this I have found a few things that really work for me when it comes to building comradery and healthy relationships within our teams at church as well as here at Worship Guitar Magazine. What you will notice is that all of these tips/ideas are outside of rehearsal. These are all things that require some extra time. They require you to get down into the trenches and live life with people. While these things will take some time to do you will find so much joy out of not only the result but the process. Here are 5 of my favorite things to do with people on our teams.
1. Have a Team+Families Cookout
Now not everyone has a spouse and kids but often times team members do. First of all we need to make sure that our team member’s spouses are behind what they are doing. Now there are many reasons why we need to do this but the first, being purely selfish motivation, is so that they can continue to serve on your teams. If their spouse has no idea who they are serving with and does not feel connected and a part of what they are doing they will likely have to say no more often than yes when asked to serve on Worship/tech team.
The second reason that we want to connect with each others families is so we can live in community together. When we do life with people and their families we can speak life into their marriages, parenting, jobs and more.
The third reason is that it is fun, or at least it can be. My favorite thing to do is to start a fire and have everyone over to grill hot dogs and marshmallows. Trust me it will leave a lasting impression on your team and you will have a blast.
2. Help Out with Personal Projects
One of by best friends and a massive contributor on WorshipGtr.com is Ryan Savage. Ryan and I began our friendship playing on Worship team together and chatting about gear. It wasn’t until Ryan volunteered to help me with an electrical project in my basement involving a tankless water heater being installed, then un-installed due to my own, for lack of a better term, stupidity. Ryan got zapped by an electrical connection twice and we had a ton of moments where four letter words almost flew. In the end what was forged in my basement was one of my most cherished friendships.
Beyond friendship, since Ryan and I have done a few DIY projects together we have learned how each other ticks. What makes frustrated. What is overwhelming and how we can help each other. That has migrated from personal life to the stage during rehearsals and Sunday mornings.
3. Grab Coffee and Chat
It seems cliche but inviting your team members to have coffee once a quarter or six months is not that difficult. It might seem like you don’t have time but trust me this is something you need to make time for. A happy team will return fruit ten fold when it comes to building a healthy, strong team that is passionate about serving the congregation and leading them in Worship. Find out what their dreams, passions and frustrations are. Pray for them and setup the next time to meet.
4. Encourage the Contribution of Ideas
I have served under a number of worship leaders over the years. Some don’t take advice well. Some take every idea and try to make it happen and lack the ability to make decisions that are best for the team. I have found that somewhere in the middle is where you want to be. The two worship leaders I currently serve under are absolutely incredible at this. They listen to ideas and implement what they can but are not afraid to say no if it is not going to benefit the goal of leading our congregation in Worship.
The key to this, lies in good communication. Don’t take someone’s idea and say it’s good then not follow up on it. If you need to say no then convey the reasons. If it is just a slow process at your church, then convey that it just takes time and that you are working on it. The last piece is the most important. Include them in the process of executing their ideas. Dave Ramsey is one of my favorite leadership guys for advice and in his Financial Peace University he talks about how he new a pastor that as soon as someone comes with an idea he puts them in charge of the committee to make it happen.
By including your team members you weed out a lot of the junk ideas organically while making your team feel involved. You will more than likely also find some great ideas and encourage people to step outside of their comfort zone and lead. WIN WIN!
5. Find Out What They Like to Do Outside of Worship Team
I know it’s crazy right? Believe it or not, the members on your teams have lives outside of mid-week rehearsal and Sunday mornings. Many of these lives are filled with full-time jobs, hectic family schedules and passions and hobbies that are outside of your realm of influence. You need to be active in this space. To be an effective leader you need to know what makes your team tick. What makes them wake up in the morning. What commitments are causing them to not be 100% in Worship Team? Do they want to play a different instrument than they are playing? Is their family suffering from their involvement in Worship team? Asking some of these questions and understanding the answers will slowly help you understand how to manage your team members and their schedules. Beyond just the benefit to you and the Worship experience you will be actively inputting and speaking life into your team members which is priceless.
I really hope that these ideas, provide you with some actionable ways to improve your team culture, grow your teams and increase your impact. At the end of the day it takes work. More than likely some of you thought that leading Worship at church was just picking up a guitar and singing a few songs. While that is a part of the job a ton of colleges and education programs miss what should be at the core and that is leading, encouraging and building your team members spiritually and emotionally. Healthy team members will take you further than you could ever get on your own.