The “Fun” In Dysfunctional

Jim. Pam. Dwight. Ryan. Phyllis. Stanley. Kevin. Angela. Andy. And of course, Michael.

If you’re a true fan, you knew by the first puh in Pam that this list was referencing the all-time greatest network television show, The Office.

Let me give you another one.

Julius. Gerry. Sunshine. Rev. Petey. Blue. Cheryl. Coach Boone.

OK, that was a little tougher—unless you’re a sucker for epic, against-all-odds sports movies like this one, Remember the Titans.

So what do the Dunder-Mifflin office workers have to do with the 1971 T.C. Williams Titans? And what does any of this have to do with your worship ministry?

The absurd dysfunction of The Office crew made for phenomenal TV. And the race-driven tension of a newly integrated football squad helped spawn one of the best sports movies ever.

But if you’ve ever been a part of an unhealthy team—be it athletics, work, music, or ministry—you know the truth: it sucks. Serving on a dysfunctional team is a drag.

There’s infighting. Backbiting. Gossip. Office politics. Back-channel maneuvering. Passive-aggressive manipulation. People are only concerned for themselves.

But not on a worship team, right? It’s all rainbows and unicorns here in ChurchBandLand.

Sure, your worship team might not be cutthroat (or bring ninja throwing stars to work), but it’s just as susceptible to unhealthy team behavior as any other organization.

If you’ve been a part of a worship and music ministry for more than 17 seconds, you know that’s as fictional as Schrute Beet Farms. Sure, your worship team might not be cutthroat (or bring ninja throwing stars to work), but it’s just as susceptible to unhealthy team behavior as any other organization.

And that’s what we’re going to talk about in these next few months in this special Team Members Only column.

Making Your Ministry More Amazing

As a team member who’s not “in charge” of the ministry, what can you do to help your team become healthier?

As I work with worship teams, I help techs and musicians focus on seven significant areas that contribute to the overall health of your ministry. I call these the Seven Critical Commitments of the Worship Team. Here they are:

Healthy team members are committed to…

  • Pursue intimacy with God.
  • Support their leader.
  • Challenge and serve each other.
  • Engage with the congregation.
  • Love their church.
  • Foster exceptional musicianship.
  • Embrace the ministry systems.

Some of the things on this list are obvious. But one or two things might leave you asking, “Really?”

But don’t worry.

Over the next several Worship Musician issues, we’re going to unpack each commitment area and talk specifically about how you can make your team more amazing by engaging in one.

And the key to making your team more amazing is you continuing to be (or starting to be) intentional in each of these areas.

Now, I know without a doubt that you have every right to point the finger at others who are causing the bulk of the dysfunction in your ministry. But here’s what each of us has to remember:

You can only change you. Nobody else.

And when you lead the way on your team towards consistent engagement in each of these areas, your team will follow. And when enough of your team members start taking these commitment areas seriously, you will be an unstoppable ministry.

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Jon Nicol Jon is the founder of and, two sites that help worship leaders build strong teams and lead engaging worship. He lives and serves in Lexington, Ohio with his wife Shannon and their four kids.

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