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Worship Pastors: Building Close Relationships with Your Team

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You wear a lot of hats as a worship pastor. You’re doing a lot of administrative organizing tasks throughout the week, you’re finding songs and curating setlists, coordinating with staff members, and communicating to the team.

But while an effective worship pastor needs to be good at driving the bus from a managerial standpoint, they also need to be relational and empathetic with their team members. After all, worship team is about pointing others to Jesus through worship, and if we ourselves aren’t in close community with our own team members, how can we expect to mirror the relationality and love of God to the congregants?

Building Close Relationships with Your Worship Team Members

It’s all about showing a genuine interest in their lives.

If you feel like you’re not that close to your team members, but you just can’t put your finger on why or what you need to do to grow closer with them, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Do Life Together

What do people do with their closest friends? They do life together. They hang out, they have fun, they forget about work, they share what’s on their mind, and they walk with each other through every season of life no matter what’s going on.

While you don’t have all the time in the world to be every single team member’s best friend, you should be vigilant about putting forth effort towards doing life with your team members. Don’t wait on them to initiate it. If you want to develop meaningful relationships with your worship team volunteers, take responsibility to start it up.

Invite the team over for a bond fire and grill out. Maybe make it part of the schedule – once a month, you cancel midweek rehearsal and have a barbeque hang out night with everyone and just plan on showing up early Sunday morning.

Help your team members when they’re moving to a new house. Volunteer to help them paint and frame their basement or do some lawn care. Dog sit while they’re on vacation. Forget about solely being a worship pastor to them and instead put yourself in the mentality of what their friends would do. Be there for them and make an effort to go out of your way for the development of that relationship.

Delegate and Trust

I think we could all agree that trust is a requisite for being close to someone. You need to trust your close friends and relationships in life, and if you’re not demonstrating your trust for your team members, you’re always going to be struggling to feel close to them.

People respond positively to trust. When you entrust a team member with a big task, they will naturally want to step up to the plate and deliver. And that trust will be mirrored both ways.

Talk with some of your more talented vocalists about leading songs and taking charge of the stage. Maybe give them the prayer between songs, or let them do the welcome and announcements. Teach your drummer how to set up and run the Ableton setlist and have them do it during the week if they want to. Reach out to your more talented volunteers about being an MD (music director) for a weekend, helping with PCO, reaching out to band members about parts, creating charts for new songs, etc.

Delegating these tasks demonstrates your trust for your team members, but it also provides a way for them to grow. Just make sure you’re not dumping tasks on others for the sake of alleviating your own responsibilities. Find people with a genuine interest for taking on more leadership and accountability for the growth and health of the worship ministry.

Create Space for Community

When you’re a worship pastor, you are so often in the frame of mind to just “get things done.” You work a 40-hour week and then show up to rehearsal and the goal is to just plug in, play, and go home. And as much as none of us want to admit it, after you’ve done 200 Sunday mornings in a row, it’s easy to start putting in as little effort as possible to get the job done. It can be draining.

The issue with this is that you’re not creating any space for community, and that extra bit of time and effort may be just the thing you need to refill yourself and your worship team members.

Try setting aside the first 15-20 minutes of rehearsal or Sunday morning to just spend time catching up. Share highs and lows from the week, what you’re excited about, etc. As mentioned above, it’s not a bad idea also to cancel rehearsal once in a while to do an all-team hangout. All volunteers, paid musicians, sound guys, production folks, etc. get together to hang out.

Something else that’s really important is to make sure – no matter what you do – always involve the sound engineers/production staff. There’s often a strange segregation between the musicians and production staff at a church. It’s not uncommon for musicians who play every weekend to not even know the names of those in the production booth, and frankly, it’s quite sad to see. Break down those barriers, get everyone comfortable with each other, and build community between everyone there. Every single person who’s working towards creating a Sunday morning service experience should be doing so from a place of community and friendship.

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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