As a touring artist and worship leader, I have a simple grid that I use to help me decide whether to accept or decline an opportunity presented to me. I ask myself four basic questions:
1. Do I believe in the vision and mission of this event?
2. Do I want to spend time with the people involved?
3. Do I enjoy the music?
4. Does it pay well?
If I can’t answer “yes” to at least one or two of these questions, I usually won’t take the gig.
I have spent 15 years leading and building volunteer worship teams and have realized that volunteer musicians are in some way asking the same questions when deciding whether to dive in or not. Now, because we are talking about volunteers we can cross off the Question #4. But, when you dissect the other three questions, three clear values appear that I believe are some of the keys to building a successful volunteer worship team.
Vision/Mission (Do I believe in the vision and mission?)
As a leader and team builder, it is essential that you cast vision for your team and that everyone is bought into the mission. They need to understand the importance of worship and grasp the responsibility of ushering the congregation into the presence of God. Look to add members who already get this and are in fact worshippers themselves. If existing members of your team are not there, help them get there.
I would suggest hosting times of worship for the team or taking field trips to other churches or event that are ahead of you in this area. There are also great books out there on the topic of worship. Worship conferences are also a great tool. Having an actual Vision and Mission statement really helps too.
Community (Do I want to spend time with these people?)
This is huge! If you are inviting your volunteers into a life-giving community, the chances of them sticking around are so much higher. It’s so important for you and your team to have fun together and enjoy hanging out with each other. In this area, there is no substitute for time. The more time you spend together the more you will bond and the more you bond the more attractive your worship community will be to those who are thinking of joining.
Good Music (Do I enjoy the music?)
This topic should not be over spiritualized. It’s a fact that good musicians want to play with other good musicians. If you can get a small core group of good musicians, it will attract other good players. Although character and heart are vital, do not overlook musicianship. In my experience, good musicians don’t mind working with up and coming players who are improving or with the odd fill-in guy who may not be that good on his/her instrument. However, if week after week it’s a struggle to make the music sound and feel good, eventually you will start losing people.
I hope thinking through these key components helps you build a healthy volunteer worship team!