Worship Ministry: Balancing Volunteer and Paid Musicians

There are several churches that rely entirely on volunteer worship teams, while others rely 100% on a paid contract musician structure. It’s pretty easy to keep everyone’s expectations similar when the whole team is comprised of all volunteers or all paid musicians, but once you start mixing them together, the balance can get difficult. Who should be paid and who should be a volunteer? Should expectations be the same for everyone or higher for those who are paid? Should you have more paid...

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Tips for Training in New Worship Team Volunteers

As a worship pastor, you deal with people of all sorts of skill levels. Chances are if you’ve worked in churches for long enough, you’ve seen people volunteer to help out who can hardly play an instrument, as well as volunteers far beyond your own skill level. That’s the nature of working in a church – you see a very wide array of skill and commitment levels in volunteers. And while most people understand that volunteering to play on a worship team requires a greater deal of excellenc...

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Top 4 Mistakes of Church Tech Directors

“Church Tech Director” is a pretty high-intensity position. Not many congregation members see you since you’re not on stage like the worship pastor and lead pastor, but the truth is that none of it could happen without you. Depending on your church staff and organizational structure, you may be helping with a number of things – lyrics, designing slides, running the computer, running lights, mixing the band (and maybe being everyone else’s IT support... sorry, it just comes with the ...

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Church Admins: Handling Last Minute Requests

Church admins are some of the busiest people working in a church. Due to the nature of the job, sometimes work blends into your personal life and vise versa. It’s tough, there’s a lot of moving parts, and it requires a ton of personal investment to make things run smoothly. Before we continue, know this - you are appreciated, and while not everyone may know how much you do, the church wouldn’t be able to operate at the level they do without you! But it can be difficult to convince yours...

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5 Ways Your Church Is Losing Money

Managing finances in any organization is difficult. Each department/staff member has different expenditures happening at different times, and it can feel like money is constantly going out the door. Churches are no different. While some churches and small church plants have a good grasp on their finances, the truth is that most of us struggle to keep control of all expenses. If you are trying to get a better view of where money is going in your church and how to control it, here are 5 ways yo...

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5 Tips for Incorporating Worship into Your Children’s Ministry

I first fell in love with worship when I was a kid. My children’s ministry didn’t have a wild budget, smoke machines, or loads of niche volunteers, but they did what they could to build an environment for active, engaging worship. They found little ways that were meaningful and transformative to invite us kids into the process. Music is an important tool for not only teaching kids about God, but for inviting them to experience God for themselves. Whether your children’s ministry already...

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Lent 101: How Fasting Can Fill Us

It’s a new year. Thank goodness. And while we’re still in the heart of winter, the days are slowly but surely getting longer. In this season, the slow thaw of late winter into early spring, the liturgical calendar brings us Lent. Although often associated with the Catholic church or other liturgical denominations, these days, Lent is being observed by more and more church communities. If you’re not familiar, the liturgical churches follow a calendar that moves through different perio...

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4 Reasons Your Congregation is Disengaged from the Sermon

People in your congregation don’t think you can see them, but you know as well as anyone that you see everything they’re doing… all the time. And when eyes begin to wander about the room, thumbs twiddle, and for a few shameless congregants, phones light up their faces, what do you do? Call them out publicly from the stage. Kidding. Please don’t do that… But it’s so tough as a pastor to see your congregation disengaged from the sermon! You have a responsibility to lead them, ...

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Children’s Ministry Directors: Getting Young Kids Excited About Church

Being a children’s pastor can be an incredibly enriching job (if you’re the right kind of person that is!) Kids are full of energy, and it’s such an important time of their life developmentally. Being a part of their journey means a lot to them and can be very fulfilling to watch them develop as they grow up. But anyone who works with kids knows there are pros and cons to the job. While kids are energetic, happy, and exciting to be leading on a weekly basis, we all know a few kids who a...

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Leading Worship With Confidence

Searching for confidence can so often feel self-defeating-— the more you try the muster up a feeling, the more elusive it becomes. I’ve discovered that confidence is less of a feeling and more of a choice. Building confidence, like building muscle, takes work, consistency, and trust in the process. Here are a few tips to get you on the path to leading worship with confidence. Tune Your Instruments Typically, the more you do something, the easier it becomes; leading worship included. I...

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How to Be Proactive About a Pastoral Transition

Pastoral transitions are never easy. There are a number of reasons they occur - your pastor is retiring, transitioning jobs, moving, or being asked to step down. Regardless of the purpose, the fact remains that pastoral transitions are tough on everyone; your congregation, your staff, and your volunteers. While you can’t avoid all of the challenges associated with a pastoral transition, there are certainly things you can do to be proactive about the transition and to set yourself up for a s...

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Getting Young People to Volunteer in the Youth Ministry

Properly balancing your volunteer-to-student ratio can be difficult. For smaller churches, it can be difficult to keep volunteers committed over the years to maintain a healthy leadership culture in your youth ministry, and for growing churches, it can be difficult to properly staff all youth events with enough leaders. This is especially the case as various different types of events come up: youth retreats, Bible studies, youth group gatherings at the church, small groups at peoples’ homes, S...

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4 Tips for Making Youth Group an Inviting Space for New Students

When you’re a teenager (and heck, even an adult!), putting yourself out there and stepping into a new environment full of people you don’t know is a pretty big deal. A little bit of preparation goes a long way to create a space that is welcoming to newcomers from the moment they enter the door. Let Students Lead the Way Let’s be honest, no matter how awesome your adult volunteers, having students be the first to greet new students will make the biggest impact. Identify student leade...

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Buying Church Media Assets: How to Convince “The Boss”

Aside from a few larger churches where everyone has a departmental budget, most church media teams need to convince their pastor to purchase any piece of gear or new media assets. If you’ve been left with that role, you know the anxiety that comes before “the pitch.” He’s going to ask why you need it, how much it costs, probably stall for a second, and then ask you why you don’t consider a cheaper alternative (even though we both know you did extensive research and landed on this op...

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Building a Leadership Team in your Church Plant

When you’re planting a church, it’s important to equip capable, trustworthy leaders to help bring the vision to life. Finding these leaders, however, can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re juggling everything else that comes with planting. Here’s a four-part roadmap for finding, recruiting, and nurturing a successful team for your new church: Pray with people you trust Just like with everything else, when you’re looking for the leaders to work alongside you, you start ...

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5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Church Tech Budget

I’m convinced that nobody - absolutely nobody - would be capable of spending a six or seven-figure budget as fast as a church tech director. While I joke, the truth is that everything in that world is expensive, and there is always a better version of whatever it is you’re buying. Cameras, computers, light boards, lights, sound boards, stage designs, audio systems, music gear, software… Unfortunately, I don’t think most church tech directors have the luxury of working with a seven-fig...

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Church Musicians: Should You Pay Them?

As a freelance drummer in Minneapolis, MN, I’ve had the opportunity to play at several churches in the area. I have gotten the privilege to share the stage with volunteer musicians at new church plants meeting in high schools and theaters, as well as at megachurches. Playing at several churches has given me the chance to see how different worship pastors approach building worship teams, scheduling, and compensating musicians, and I thought I would at least share my perspective on the topic ...

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Creating an Engaging Christmas Worship Setlist

It’s that time of year again, where we all run around panicking about Christmas services and that our ideas won’t be executed properly. We’re kidding... kind of. Hopefully you’re more organized this year than ever before, and we’re sure that no matter what you choose to do, everything will work out fine. However, for worship pastors, there’s always a lot of stress around building an engaging Christmas service setlist. Building a Christmas worship set isn’t the same as just...

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How to Lead Efficient Worship Team Auditions

Developing a tight audition process can save you headache and awkward conversations down the road. Setting clear expectations and hosting intentional auditions sets new musicians up for success and makes it easier for you to find good fits for your team. Here are some suggestions for running efficient, heartfelt auditions from the first introduction to the inevitable follow-up. Pre Screening Process Questionnaire Save yourself time and energy down the road with a pre-screening pro...

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5 Reasons Your Church May Not Be Growing

Paying attention to your church attendance is important for many reasons, but obviously it can be incredibly frustrating at times. Unless your church just happens to be exploding in attendance right now, the majority of churches struggle to grow their attendance – especially as church plants. Growing a church is a slow process, and while the chances are high that your ministry will expand just fine in the future, almost every pastor can attest to going through “valley seasons” where church...

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