Worship Pastors: Importance of Positive Feedback to Musicians


Being a pastor of any sort is an incredibly busy (and often draining) job. You’re shouldering the weight of daily responsibilities, constant meetings, endless to-do lists, and on top of it there’s the entire relational aspect to the job. Don’t get me wrong – I know pastors love their congregations and volunteers, but when you stack the responsibilities of being personally involved in all your staff and volunteer’s lives on top of everything else, it can be a lot.

As a result, worship pastors will often go weeks or months without offering their worship team members genuine compliments or words of encouragement. Not out of intention – just sheer forgetfulness due to the busyness of their schedules.

I don’t think any team members would hold this against their worship pastors, but it is pretty amazing just how significant of a difference it makes to continually be encouraging and cheering on your team members.

Importance of Positive Feedback for Your Worship Team

I played drums every week at a church for 3-years that was led by a worship pastor who was incredibly relational. He put his team members above himself in every way he could. I remember that it was almost bi-weekly that he would offer a genuine “thanks” of deep gratitude for our preparedness, commitment, and care for our craft and place on the team.

My goodness did that attitude bleed over to the entire creative team. There was never a sense that anyone was there out of obligation. Everybody showed up prepared, excited, energized, and inspired to be there. They weren’t there because it was their job and they were getting paid – they were there because they wanted to be!

I’ve seen first-hand the impact that positive feedback to worship team members makes, and I’ve also experienced the emotionally and spiritually dry culture that comes from a church with a lack of encouragement. With all that said, here are some reasons that offering positive feedback to your worship team members is so important:

They Don’t Know if They’re Doing it Right

Sometimes your volunteers are unsure of whether or not they’re doing it right to begin with. This is especially the case for volunteers who have needed some direction in the past – whether it be talks about preparation or reliability or tone or any other number of topics.

While they may never say anything, if you’re not actively thanking and expressing gratitude towards your team, or encouraging them when they’re doing things right, they may never know how you actually feel about them. Let them know what they’re doing right! Even if you have some criticisms to offer, begin the conversation first with all the things you’re impressed by and thankful for.

Consider Personality Types

Some people couldn’t care less about words of encouragement. They love playing music, being a part of a worship team, and volunteering at their church and they’ll show up each week excited to be there regardless of what you tell them. That’s great! But there are plenty of other personality types who really crave and rely on words of affirmation. There’s a reason it’s one of the 5 love languages – it’s important.

I don’t think you should be selective about only encouraging those who you think care, but it is something worth keeping in mind as you consider the importance of it at large. You don’t know where people are at personally and what they need to thrive, so be generous with positive feedback and encouragement.

Words of Encouragement Build Relationships

It’s a well-known psychology fact that people want to be around those who make them feel good about themselves. There’s been hundreds (if not thousands) of books written on the topic. When you make others feel valuable, cared for, complimented, and encouraged, they will be drawn to you.

If you feel like there’s a disconnect between you and your worship team members, do a quick self-analysis to see how you’ve been treating them. When’s the last time you complimented or encouraged your team members on specific things they are individually good at? When’s the last time you stopped to recognize when a team member went above and beyond in terms of preparation or attitude? Words of encouragement build and strengthen relationships.

It Changes Your Worship Team Culture

Behaviors come from the top down. Churches with toxic leadership tend to have a toxic volunteer and staff culture. Churches with healthy and encouraging leadership tend to produce a loving, caring, devoted, and inspired volunteer and staff culture.

Some worship pastors are worried that if they are continuously giving positive feedback to their team members that it won’t push them towards improvement, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

When worship team band members feel seen for their efforts, it encourages them to step up to the plate and take ownership of the things they excel at. Offering positive feedback all the time also makes it easier to offer constructive criticism when necessary. When someone knows you love them, aren’t out to get them, and are genuinely thankful for everything they’re doing, small conversations about things they need to improve on are all-the-easier to have.

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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