I’m sure you’re thinking, “Wait my Worship Pastor gets annoyed? I didn’t know they were even capable of that!”
Now I know it’s hard to believe, but even though all they do all day is spend 6 hours in their office worshipping along with Bethel, Maverick City, & UPPERROOM YouTube videos, they still can get annoyed from time to time.
So as you are picking your jaw up off the floor, we thought we’d share the top 5 things that volunteers do that annoy their worship pastors more than anything else.
For real though, our reason for sharing this list isn’t to help keep your worship pastor from being annoyed with you. We believe conquering these common pitfalls helps us better lead people into encounter!
**disclaimer: we totally understand that unavoidable things come up. This list isn’t for the rare occasions, but for the repeat offenders.**
Consistently Showing Up Late
We know things happen from time to time & occasionally people are late. This one is for the people that show up 5-20 minutes after call time every single week.
Arriving on time can be difficult, but it’s definitely avoidable.
SIDENOTE: What makes your Worship Pastor want to send their head through a wall is when you’re walking in late carrying a fresh cup of coffee from Starbucks or *insert 3rd-wave coffee shop name*. Glad your coffee is more important to you than everyone else’s time.
If you do find yourself in this camp, here’s a trick to try.
Take note of how many minutes you’re consistently late & set your alarm early by that many minutes + 5. Why + 5? Well in the words of the great coach Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers, “If you’re early, you’re on time… if you’re on time, you’re late… if you’re late, don’t even bother showing up.” (Although…I don’t think your leader would want you to follow that last part…)
So let’s make that suuuuuuuuuper practical.
Let’s say call time is 6:45 am, you normally set your alarm for 5:45 am, & you’re consistently late by 10 minutes. Set your alarm for 5:30 am & leave 15 minutes earlier than you normally do. Why 15 minutes? Because, 10 + 5 = 15. You didn’t know I was a math genius, did you? 😎
You might also try setting an alarm for when you need to be walking out the door.
Here’s another quick tip: If it takes 20 minutes to get somewhere, walking out the door 20 minutes before call time will still make you late because it takes a few minutes to walk to your car, load your gear, pick your driving tunes, & get on your way.
Why make a big deal about this?
Very few things are more disrespectful to everyone else on your team than showing up late and making everyone else wait on you. It communicates your time is more important than theirs.
Again, we understand life happens! We have families and things are tough to anticipate, but like Albert Einstein said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
We know you’re not insane, so quit acting like it, ya goof!
Committing the PCO Sins
1) Not Blocking-Off Unavailable Dates
Scheduling is definitely low on the list of favorite things a Worship Pastor
has gets to do. Honestly, it takes a lot of time! It’s a game of strategically crafting specific team configurations that amply fulfills the needs of each worship service.
Say you’re 1 of 3 drummers on the team & you get scheduled on the 1st Sunday of the month. We’ll call you Person-A & pretend you’re available to play any Sunday, but no more than a total of twice a month. Person-B is only available to play once a month on either the 2nd or 4th Sunday. Person-C can play any Sunday, twice a month. So the Schedule becomes:
Sunday 1: Person-A
Sunday 2: Person-B
Sunday 3: Person-C
Sunday 4: Person-C
Now 4 months ago, Person-A scheduled a trip for the 1st Sunday of the month & has known for 4 months they aren’t available to play the 1st Sunday of the month. So Person-A gets the schedule request and before they tell their Worship Pastor they actually won’t be in town that weekend, Person-C sees they’re scheduled on Sunday 3 & 4 and makes plans to go out of town the 1st Sunday of the month. If Person-A would have put into PCO that they weren’t available, Person-C could have been scheduled for Sunday 1, Person-A for Sunday 3, & the mess of not having someone to serve would be avoided.
This might seem extreme, but for the majority of Worship Pastors, this happens multiple times every scheduling iteration.
You not being able to serve in a specific role isn’t always as simple as finding a replacement for your position either. It can have an influence on the overall sonic experience a set was designed to create.
All that to say, blocking off when you aren’t free definitely makes a huge difference!
2) Not Confirming Your Request to Serve
You might think forgetting to confirm your request to serve isn’t that big of a deal. It truly wouldn’t be that big of a deal if “unconfirmed” always meant people were planning to show up. But we’ve all ran into plenty of situations where someone doesn’t confirm their request to serve because they either never saw the request to serve or are treating unconfirmed as the passive form of declining to serve.
It’s easy to forget to confirm, but in light of all that it helps your Worship Pastor out a lot!
ALSO: Please don’t connect your PCO to your junk email from high school that you never check.
Soundcheck is not practice! Home is for learning. Soundcheck is for performing what you learned at home.
We know worship songs are sometimes easy to learn, but please don’t use that as an excuse for showing up unprepared. Sure you might be able to learn the song in soundcheck, but your lack of preparation affects the rest of the team’s ability to gel and lock-in.
When we show up for soundcheck we want to be able to focus on the primary reason we are there: worship.
It’s difficult to focus on worshipping when you’re focused on solidifying the chord structure of a song.
Services usually have a lot of moving parts, the worship set being only one of them. Showing up unprepared adds unnecessary stress to the rest of the team, creates frustration where there should be unity, & delays other parts of the run-through that need attention.
Repeatedly Canceling Last Minute
Canceling last minute when you knew all along you couldn’t serve… *deep-breath, worship leader. deep-breath*
Not only does it put a ton of stress on your leader, but it really inconveniences those that are asked to serve in your place. I’ve even seen how repeatedly covering for flakey team members was the reason that someone quit their worship team.
I truly would rather have someone on the team that’s reliable and sub-par at their craft over someone who is amazing and a flake.
Like the serially late person, repeatedly canceling last minute communicates your lack of value for everyone else on the team. This might not be your intention whatsoever, but this is the harsh reality of perception.
Listen, we know that John Mayer’s riffs are super fun to play, but please stop playing Slow Dancing in a Burning Room every moment that the band isn’t playing through a song.
Noodling makes it difficult to give direction to the band and others out in the house, takes people out of the frame of mind for focusing on the song at hand, and makes it super difficult to think clearly in moments when direction needs to be given.
Noodling around on your instrument is making your rehearsals much longer than they need to be because they slow everything else down.
If you desperately want to play that new Mayer riff, I hear Dewy Finn is looking for a new guitar player…
Now I hope after all that you aren’t laying on the ground covered in bullet wounds! Sometimes we need a bit of cold water thrown in our face to wake us up. I know for me there are a few on this list that I’m still trying to master too!
The ultimate goal is not to master these areas for the sake of mastering them. It’s for us to grow in our areas of weakness so that we can best achieve the reason why we serve: to lead people into encounter.
The way we do that best is united & prepared!
If you read one of these and know it’s an area you have to grow in may your motivation to conquer it not be so your worship pastor isn’t annoyed with you anymore. May it be because you want to do whatever you can to best lead people into encounter.
You may also be interested in these related posts!
- Over 150 Ways to Improve as a Worship Musician, Worship Vocalist, & Worship Pastor!
- Grow Your Worship Team with these 6 Proven Recruitment Strategies (Post-Quarantine)
- Toxic Leadership Principles You Probably Didn’t Know You’ve Learned, And How To Unlearn Them
- The One Thing Guaranteed to Disrupt Any Healthy Worship Team
- How to Take the Stage and Lead Worship with Confidence