Here’s the Crazy Truth About You as a Volunteer
Most people in ministry are not on staff, but rather serve on a volunteer basis. As a volunteer it can be very easy to make light our responsibility on our team. However I would make the case that the responsibility is not light but rather different than that of the leader.
Your leader is as dependent on you as you are on them, maybe even more so.
Keeping this in mind, there are a few very practical things that can be done from a spiritual posture to be a great worship team volunteer.
Seek to Serve
Serving in ministry is just as it is called; serving. You intentionally look to help with the needs of the ministry you are in. Taking the approach of “How can I best help the team?”or “How can I best help the leader?” is the core mindset needed. We all need each other, no matter what level of talent someone may have. They can’t really do it all alone.
Keep in mind, how you can best help is not always going to look the same each rehearsal, meeting, or service. But being conscious of those particular changing needs is a great skill to learn that really just comes with time and intentionality.
One of the greatest gifts to me as a Worship Pastor throughout the years is having people consistently around I knew I could rely on.
Leading a ministry is a lot of work and often extremely stressful. Having people on my team encouraging me, asking how they can help me, & being a consistent presence has been one of the greatest strengthening agents to me as a leader. It doesn’t have to be just big things either. Even little things like helping with set up and tear down, arriving a little early, or staying a little later. They could also be much bigger things.
There is a beautiful example of this in Exodus 17…
The Israelites were attacked by the Amalekites. Moses commanded Joshua to go out and fight the Amalekites, defending his people. After sending Joshua to gather the fighting force, Moses said “Tomorrow I will stand on the hilltop with the staff of God in my hand”. Moses’s fight looked a whole lot different than Joshua’s, but no less important.
Exodus 17:11 As long as Moses held up his hands, Israel prevailed; but when he lowered them, Amalek prevailed.
The fight was going well, but Moses being a man that gets tired just like the rest of us. His arms began to fall, but Israel’s victory needed Moses to fulfill his role. So in wonderful simplicity, Moses gets his help from Aaron and Hur leading to Israel’s victory.
Exodus 17:12 When Moses’ hands grew heavy, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Then Aaron and Hur held his hands up, one on each side, so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down.
Joshua and Moses had dramatically different roles in this victory for Israel. I don’t think it’s a far stretch to think that Moses’s role is the more difficult to understand for most people. But the battle wouldn’t have been won without Aaron and Hur. In the same way, your leaders can not fulfill the call of God without you!
Preparation is More Than Just Learning Your Parts
The easiest thing to say you can do as a worship team volunteer, would be to prepare for the music you are going to play. And you should 100% do that! It’s literally a part of the reason we exist as a company. While we will go over some practical musical preparation tips, the most important preparation comes without the instrument.
As believers we have to consciously be attentive to the condition of our heart.
Is Jesus truly at the center of our lives? Are we engaging in spiritual formation practices like meditating on the word, dialoguing with the Lord? Our relationship with Jesus directly affects the relationships we have with others. The more submitted we are to him, the more he returns for us to overflow love, grace, and patience to those around us. Let our teammates receive the love of Christ through our interactions with them.
From the musical side of things, your preparation should always be looking to grow or refine.
When you reach the point where it consistently takes less time than previously for you to prepare for the week’s set, seek to add challenges for yourself. Very simple things you can do to “level-up” are memorize all your parts, learn to match the tones, learn the parts of other instruments on your instrument, or even memorize the lyrics of the song. Once you move past learning the songs and parts themselves at depth, then you can move into learning different versions, arrangements, and on to writing your own parts and arrangements.
The more musical preparation you do, the more stress is alleviated come time for service. Why that’s so important is because it frees you up to personally engage deeper in the worship service. One way to be able to do that is utilizing our lessons and tutorials. If you haven’t checked those out, you can do it here.
You’re Still on the Team Even When You Aren’t Scheduled that Week
As a member of the worship team, be extra diligent to be a good and contributing member of your church body. This goes especially on the days you are not scheduled to be on stage. Show the same grace and love you would show to your worship team members to the rest of the people in the congregation.
Something that I haven’t heard talked about much, is the idea of leading worship from the congregation.
While you are not leading worship in the same way as the one with the microphone, how you worship directly affects how those around you worship. If you are not engaged in the worship service, as part of the worship team, why would anyone not on the worship team feel comfortable to engage in worship when they see you? I am not talking about putting on a show or an exaggerated physical worship, I am talking though about boldness and honesty in your worship.
Worship compels worship.
Your worship can compel those around you to start to worship or go deeper into worship. When I have my son sitting next to me during service, I am aware that he is watching me and learning what I do. I want him to learn from my example, to always engage in worship because we worship the God that is far beyond worthy.
People in Your Community See You as a Leader
Here’s a sobering truth, because you are on stage, you have an elevated voice in people’s lives and the eyes of the community are on you. It doesn’t matter that you aren’t the Worship Pastor! The fact you are on stage is partially an endorsement from your leadership that says, “Hey, we think this person is someone worth looking up to and following.” Does your life reflect that belief?
Now please hear my heart in this…
It’s so easy to look at the previous statement and become hyper legalistic and beat ourselves up for every struggle and shortcoming; forgetting the whole message of the cross: we’ve been set free by the amazing grace of Jesus that loves today in our struggle just as much as He does tomorrow in our victory! But it’s important to keep in mind that our words and actions carry weight. That’s the angle I want to stress.
Build Relationships when You’re Off-Stage
In the same breath of what we were talking about in the topic above, people in your congregation look up to you. So you taking time to say hello to people, and check in on them causes people to feel tremendously valued and makes them feel like they belong.
I know for some that might be so intimidating, but think about how powerful that is for someone to experience!
1) A leader in this community wants me in this community.
2) I matter to someone!
This is what you’re doing when you take time with people in your congregation. Find a few people that you can do this with each week and keep an eye out for them. Don’t just walk up to them and give the quick “hi/bye”. Take 3-5 minutes each week, even on the week’s you’re not serving to form a friendship with someone in your congregation.
As with every post I write, these are all things that I need to grow deeper in myself. I suspect most of us could do better to serve our teams and leaders. Despite the enumerable number of practical applications we could put in place, it all starts with how we let Christ work in us and change us to overflow out to others. Ministry is meant to be a lifelong journey, so all we can do is grow little by little. Much like a growing tree, you may notice nothing day-to-day but you absolutely will year-to-year.
You may also be interested in these related posts!
- The Secret to Attracting High Quality Volunteers to Your Worship Team
- 5 Things Worship Pastors Do that Annoy Volunteers
- 5 Things Volunteers Do that Annoy their Worship Pastors More than Anything
- Grow Your Worship Team with these 6 Proven Recruitment Strategies (Post-Quarantine)
- The One Thing Guaranteed to Disrupt Any Healthy Worship Team
- Over 150 Ways to Improve as a Worship Musician, Worship Vocalist, & Worship Pastor!