Congratulations, worship team member! You have been given your very own worship ministry leader.
Worship ministry leaders can go by many titles, like worship director, music minister, creative arts director, worship pastor, music pastor, worship leader, or some other fancy moniker that an overly-trendy senior pastor makes up, like Chief Artistic Congregational Experience Czar.
Thankfully, yours just goes by the title of Worship Leader.
Worship Ministry Leaders come in both genders. Yours is of the female variety. However, all these instructions apply equally to the male variety of the Worship Ministry Leader.
(Note: they tend to have bigger egos and make ruder noises than their female counterparts.)
You, as a team member, can contribute to the health of your worship ministry in many different ways. But one of the most critical ways is to properly care for, feed, and yes, even fight with your worship leader. The following is a brief instruction on how to do that.
Step 1: Understand Your Leader’s Position
Two scary words are (too often) misused and misunderstood in church circles, and that’s authority and submission. But when conducted Biblically, authority and submission are indistinguishable from mutual respect, servant-leadership, and love.
That’s the hope for you and your worship leader. The leadership of your church has delegated authority to your worship leader. So she’s been given the authority to both lead your team, as well as to plan and oversee the congregational time of worshiping through music.
She’s accountable to the senior pastor, or maybe another leader in the church, depending on the organizational structure. (If she’s not accountable to anyone, please make a hasty, but respectful, exit from your worship team).
Your worship leader is called to lead you with that delegated authority and is accountable for the way she does it. And you are called to follow her leadership. (Read Romans 13:1 and Hebrews 13:17 for more on this topic).
“So what does that look like practically?” I’m glad you asked. That’s Step 2.
Step 2: How To Follow Your Leader
Here are three practical ways to follow your leader. There are other ways, but if you start here, your worship leader will feel abundantly cared for and fed by you.
First, pray for your leader.
She’s carrying a lot of leadership weight. Not only does she have to learn the songs each week, but she’s also responsible for running the entire ministry.
So she needs you to pray for her and her family. And by praying for your worship leader, it will continue to keep you in an attitude of respect and love towards her.
Second, encourage your leader.
Too often, team members expect leaders to prop them up with compliments and accolades. Good leaders will do that. But they need encouragement, too.
Take time to thank your leader. Compliment her on a job well done. Tell her how much you appreciate her leadership. Your gratitude and encouragement provides care and feeding that her soul needs. Even if she doesn’t realize it.
And third, support your leader.
Your worship leader is trying to lead your team. If you want to care for her and contribute to the health of the worship ministry, you need to follow her lead.
So practice your songs. Show up early to rehearsals and sound checks. Keep a good attitude. And help hold your fellow team members accountable to the worship ministry standards.
Remember, your support is rocket fuel for her leadership.
“But what if I disagree with her or feel like I can’t support a certain decision?” Hey, that’s another fantastic question. I’m so glad you asked it because that’s Step 3.
Step 3: Discoursing With Your Leader
First, trust and assume the best.
It’s crucial that you trust your leader’s intentions are good. You may not like an action or decision, but assume that she has the ministry’s best interest at heart.
Remember, leaders are making their decisions on information that team members don’t always know about. So engage lovingly and assume the best in her.
Second, support in public; critique in private.
If you don’t agree with something, talk directly to her about the issue. Don’t confront her “publicly” – that is, with other team members around. It can feel like you’re disrespecting her leadership, and she’ll be much less open to what you’re saying.
And third, seek to learn during this, not just to get your point across.
Again, your worship leader has reasons for her decisions that you might not know about.
Disagreements are never fun, but the health of your team requires good conflict. If you let your issue fester, it will sour your attitude and likely affect the whole team.
Step 4: Repeat
Continue to repeat these four steps. If you do, you’ll be a role model on the team (and likely find yourself in a position of leadership within this ministry). And the worship ministry will be far healthier because you chose to make this commitment to care for (and properly discourse with) your worship leader.
(Note: This article is part of a multi-part series on The Seven Critical Commitments of The Worship Team Member. This has been a slightly tongue-in-cheek, 1950s-Styled-Instruction-Manual look at Critical Team Commitment #2: “Support Your Leader.”)