New Worship Team Orientation Meetings: Best Practices


While an audition process is great for gauging someone’s capability, it’s not the end of the onboarding process for new worship team members. Maybe a singer passed worship team tryouts but after you get them involved, you begin questioning whether or not you were right about them. Are they actually ready?

It’s not uncommon after a new team member is brought on to experience a rehearsal filled with awkward questions and pauses, constant IEM adjustments, not knowing the song form your team plays, and overall hesitation and lack of confidence. Not to mention the nervousness and blatant forgetfulness on Sunday morning. It begs the question, is the team member at fault or not?

New Worship Team Orientation Meetings: Best Practices

The above scenario is the exact reason that worship teams need to have orientation meetings and processes for new worship team members. Whether or not a new worship team member is ready to join the team from a skill perspective has nothing to do with whether they’ll adapt well to the culture. That’s what orientation meetings are meant to solve.

Here are some best practices for new worship team orientation periods and meetings:

Establish a Preliminary Orientation Period

A preliminary orientation period is a set period of time (somewhere between 2-6 weeks) where new worship team members come to get acquainted to the team. Have them prepare just as they would for a weekend, but they will only play at rehearsal. You could put them in PCO with a “New” or “Orientation” label so they and everyone else know they’re new and only there for the rehearsal that week.

This does a couple things – firstly, your sound guy can keep them out of the main speakers so they’re only coming through the ears. This way, bringing in new members doesn’t interfere with the actual mix for Sunday. Also, it allows you to evaluate a new member without committing them to a full weekend in case additional training or preparation is needed. And lastly, it gives the new member a low-pressure environment in which to get comfortable with the team culture.

Hold Training Sessions

Joining worship team can be scary when you don’t know how things are run, what to ask for, and where to find everything. It’s a lot of pressure to stack on someone who’s new! That’s why it’s so important to hold training sessions where you can run over all the important details related to worship team rehearsals and Sunday mornings.

Run through the in-ear system – is a mobile app needed? Are you using personal mixers? Show them the gain structures, where to set the master volume, how to mix their ears (and even providing a baseline mix to help), how to pan channels, etc. Check to see if they have a set of in-ear monitors, and if they don’t, make sure you have some at the church (there are plenty of affordable in-ear sets under $50 each on Amazon.)

Show them where to get charts, how to log into PCO (or whatever else you use for setlist organization and notes), and what a week on the team looks like from start to finish.

Have a Hangout with All Team Members

It’s awkward for a new worship team member to show up on a Sunday not knowing a single face on the team. It can be incredibly intimidating to step into what feels like a close-knit circle of best friends. That’s why it’s important to get new team members connected quickly with everyone – you want them to feel at home on the team from day 1.

If you can, schedule a team hangout with all worship team members – consider making it a regular thing once a month! It’s a chance for new worship team members to meet everyone, get to know faces and names, and feel more comfortable when they’re scheduled for a weekend.

Chris Fleming, Author

About the Author

Chris Fleming is a professional musician from Minneapolis, MN who has played with artists such as TAYA, Big Daddy Weave, and Jason Gray. He is actively involved with the worship music scene and has contributed as a drummer, music director, song writer, and producer for various worship artists and churches locally and nationally. Chris is the Motion Designer at Motion Worship, helping to create motion background collections and countdowns for our subscribers.

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