10 Tips For New Worship Team Members! What I Wish I Knew!

  • Written By 
  • Shalon Palmer

tips for new worship team members

There are so many things I wish I would have known when I was a new worship team member. If there’s something that can be done wrong, you can bet that I’ve done it. From being called out and embarrassed in front of everyone, to showing up having learned a completely different set, I’ve been through it all!

Today I want to not only help you not make the same mistakes I have, but I also want to share things that I know many advanced worship team members still may not even have down. I’m hoping this post will be a guide for worship leaders on things to communicate to new team members, as well as things we need to stop allowing on our teams.

I’m excited to write this post, because as an outsider looking in, I get to directly say all of the things your worship leader wishes they could say, but can’t. Let’s get started!

1. Show up early.

At minimum, show up on time. However, there are a few reasons why showing up early is going to make, not only your, but everyone else’s life so much easier.

There’s nothing more stressful than having to rush, and there’s nothing more relaxing than taking your time. Give yourself time to take a breathe and make sure you are ready by showing up early. This will also give you extra time for the unexpected. …And trust me, the unexpected happens! Flat tires, key changes, cables go out, strings break, you name it!

Not only is this all in the name of being excellent, it also shows respect to other team members who also arrived on time. It’s very disrespectful to everyone else on the team if you arrive late. It not only says that their time doesn’t matter as much as yours, it also shows that you’re not taking being on the team serious.

2. Be professional (not annoying)

To put this another way, play when it’s time to play and don’t when it’s not. It’s that simple. Don’t use rehearsal time to practice riffs/licks or show off your skill. Also don’t play when people are trying to talk. You may have some down time during rehearsal, so fight the musician urge inside of you to fiddle around on your instrument. It’s distracting and a nuisance to others who are trying to converse or plan.

Trust me, you don’t want to be called out and asked to stop playing in front of everyone. Especially if you’re new.

3. Prepare, prepare, prepare!

Know the songs inside and out before you show up to rehearsal. Know every part perfectly by heart. Practice them over and over! And know that there is a huge difference between practice and rehearsal. There’s no better way to make sure you and your team show up knowing your parts perfectly and in perfect sync than with WorshipOnline.com. Seriously, start a free trial if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.

4. Stay humble!

This leads me to the second tip. Always humble yourself. If you really want to play the leads or some other part, set your ego aside and let the other guitar player pick the parts he wants to play first. Or if you’re not assigned to lead a song, that’s ok, you’ll get your opportunity. Staying humble is going to take you much farther than showing off how good you are. I PROMISE!

It’s easy to think you are more important than others because you are on the worship team, but that’s a huge mistake. We’re all there to serve and worship Jesus. As a new worship team member, you’re making a first impression. Nothing makes a better impression than humbleness.

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5. Practice, practice, practice.

Separate from preparing for a service, make sure you are practicing. Never stop improving no matter how good you are. You owe it to yourself and your fellow team members to continually grow in skill and raise the bar of what your best is each week. No one wants to be stuck at the same skill level forever. Take a lesson, find a mentor, find inspiration. If you feel stuck, I wrote a post here about why you may not be getting better. 

6. Play/Sing to your skill level

Don’t force a harder part. What I mean is if there is a lead or lick that you are struggling with, or something that you can’t play perfect, don’t play it! Play/sing something simpler. Trust me, it sounds way better to nail some chords or a simpler lead line than to struggle or mess up something a little more difficult.

7. Know who’s in charge.

Know that your worship and band leader are in charge. If they ask you to do or play something different, do it. Above your band/worship leader, is the pastor. Above your pastor is God.

8. Be that person who says “yes!”

It’s very easy to get stuck in our ways and not want to change or incorporate new things, especially if you’ve been playing/singing on your worship team for a while. Your attitude should always be “Yes, we can do that!” No matter what the challenge is.

If your worship leader comes in and says today we’re all going to hang from a trapeze, it’s your job to get behind the idea an move it forward. Leaders are always looking for those who can adapt and easily accept new ideas. Why? Because those are the type of people that make the best leaders themselves.

9. Lead when you’re not on stage.

When you’re in the congregation, engage in worship just like you’d expect the congregation to do if you were on stage. It’s very easy to sit back and judge what’s happening on stage (especially if you’re a musician), but it’s your job to lead worship from your seat. Others are watching you now!

10. Remember why you’re there.

Lead worship from your instrument. It’s easy to get lost in playing or singing and forget that people are watching you. You are on stage to be a leader in worship. Encourage others to worship by expressing your worship, however that is for you; singing, jumping, raising your hands, etc. …and don’t forget to SMILE! There’s nothing worse than watching a bunch of people on stage who look unhappy and bored.

Playing and leading on the worship team is a huge honor and privilege. As long as you remember that, you will do great!

What tips for new worship team members would you add? Let us know below in the comments!

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