Rebuilding Your Worship Team After Covid

Many of us lost team members after the pandemic. In fact, some of us feel like our teams were decimated. We don’t have enough musicians, and the musicians we DO still have are stressed and less reliable. How do we go about rebuilding healthy worship teams after Covid? That’s exactly what I discuss with Brian Wahl (Worship Tutorials), Jenni McGrew (Worship Leader’s Collective), and Jason Squires (Creative Launch). Enjoy and be encouraged!
 
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Transcript

Alex |

Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Worship Ministry Training Podcast. A monthly podcast for worship leaders and worship team members who are serious like you are about about improving their ministry and improving their own leadership, improving their own musicality, improving their own hearts and spiritual lives. So good for you for tuning in, investing in yourself. What you do matters and I’m privileged to be able to invest in you. I’m privileged to say that we’ve been doing this for eight years. A lot of podcasts start and leave. We’ve been faithful by God’s grace and all for his glory. I’m not taking credit or boasting, but by God’s grace, we’ve been here for eight years now doing this every single month and now we’re ramping up. We’re going to be doing more than one episode per month just because God is blessing what we’re doing. Like I said, we’ve passed over 6000 downloads now and just launched the Academy, which is a basically one stop shop to give you all the training and all the tools that you need to build a thriving worship ministry. By the way, did you know you can try it for one dollars by going to Worshipistry Training.com?

 

Alex |

That will give you 15 days full access to everything inside of the Academy. Even if you just come and like binge watch all the courses and bounce out after 15 days are over, that’s fine with me. I just want to be a blessing to you and your ministry. I do think however, you’ll find so much value that you’ll want to stay around the community alone is so cool. Just people posting and answering each other’s questions and of course I get to be there and kind of just hop into the conversations as well. So anyway, check out the worship ministry training academy we launched in June. Now have over 100 members there and it’s growing every week. So we would love for you to join. Just super thrilled for what God is doing with Worship Ministry Training and I’ve got a lot more fun things coming. So jump on with us. I have a new goal to serve 1000 churches in the next ten years. Why? Because the health and the vibrancy of the Worship ministry directly impacts the health and the vibrancy of that church which directly impacts the community around the church. So what we do matters.

 

Alex |

You are a world changer and excited to just grow with you. This episode is a panel discussion that I got to lead at the Worship Innovators Conference in Chicago held by Loop Community. I want to encourage all of you to go next year. It was one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to. In fact, I’ll just say it was the best conference I’ve ever been to. So much fun and just such heart. All of the innovators there had so much heart. And so this panel was super fun because I got to kind of facilitate discussion between Brian Wall from Worship Tutorials, jenny McGrew from the Worship Leaders Collective, and Jason Squires from Creative Launch. And we were talking about team building because after COVID COVID decimated most of our teams, I’m just going to let you listen to this conversation. Super encouraging, super helpful. Definitely want to encourage you to check out the Worship Innovators conference. You can go to worshipinnovators.com and get, like, super early bird pricing. They invited me back next year. I had a great time meeting some of you who listened to the podcast. That was super fun, and I would love to meet more of you at the next one.

 

Alex |

All right, that’s enough. Let’s go right into this panel discussion about team building from the Worship Integrators conference.

 

Alex |

I was talking to Jenny last time, calling to all these people pretty much yesterday, but Jenny is like the queen of team. So if you want really great team building stuff, check out Worshipweeder Collective on all the social platforms. So she’s always putting out, like, something super helpful and insightful. All right, so just quick questions, quick survey of our panel and of everyone in the room. How many of you lost team members during Covan? Hopefully not like, lost loss, like they’re in the ground, but like, you know, how many of you just want to clarify. I mean, maybe that sorry, I made an offer really fast, but raise your hand. Yes, one more time. Okay. Pretty much everyone. Yeah, me too.

 

Alex |

A lot.

 

Alex |

So what we want to do is want to figure out how do we build that better, how do we rebuild our sorry, it just came to me. Okay, but honestly, so we’re talking about how do we rebuild our teams? And I think before we talk to the practicals, I want us to take a high level view of what kind of mindset should we come within this season thinking about rebuilding our ministries and rebuilding our teams in the season. Just some high level thoughts of the heart, like, what should we be looking for? What should we be aiming towards? What kind of mindsets?

 

Alex |

I think one of the things that we forget or we need to take a step back and realize is this is not a darthead. Anybody in this room, but is our team a place people want to be? Yeah, if nobody wants to be on our team, then we’re not going to find people to be on our team. And so are we loving people? Well, are we building community? Are we doing those things before we go out and say, come join this thing that I don’t even know what it is.

 

Alex |

Jenny, would you add to that?

 

Alex |

Yeah, totally. I don’t know who’s in our workshop or the breakdown session that we just did, but I was talking about got ties to that stream team. But I really feel like the teams that God’s calling us to create this season look more like family. And that’s what people are really looking for, is to be part of a family. And it’s creating that place of belonging, creating that place of trust, creating that place of connection, because family is the heart of God. So of course people are just going to be part of that.

 

Alex |

That is huge. Thank you, Frank.

 

Alex |

Yeah, I would say the same things people don’t. I think especially post covet, people are stressed, lots of things going on in people’s lives, but yet people, especially young people, which I know many of us are really like, that is a huge thing that people want to build, is bring young people into. If you want to be part of something special and part of something great, they don’t want to be part of something stressful, something that’s nobody wants to be on a team where the music isn’t good or every weekend is every weekend, something doesn’t work, people don’t want it. But they do want to be a part of community. Whether they say so or not, they do because that’s how we’re wired as people. So if we can build that into our teams, you’re going to track people because people want to be a part of it.

 

Alex |

So we really want to lay a groundwork of building a healthy culture and environment where people are attracted to and just kind of like going off with Jason shared in one workshop, I basically said it’s kind of brutal, but you’ve kind of heard my heart. I’m kind of brutal sometimes. But maybe God is not sending people to your team because he knows you’re not ready to handle them well. Right? And so let’s lay those cultural foundations.

 

Alex |

All right, class dismissed after this.

 

Alex |

I’m sorry. Okay, so let’s say we built that culture. It’s running well, it’s operating how it should. Where did you guys not stop success in recruiting and finding people?

 

Alex |

It was exactly what you said. So if you create a team, a culture in your team that people want to be part of, you’re not going to have a problem. Probably insert the advert, probably onboarding people on your team because joy is attractive. Peace is attractive. A team that is not filled with chaos is attractive. A team that’s a family is attractive. A team that’s intentional is attractive. A team that has purpose is attractive. A team that’s creative. For all the creatives you have a creative team, you’re going to attract creatives. So for me, even for this rebuilding phase, postcobit, everything is working on the relationship. And if you’re in my workshop, you would have heard that this morning. Everything is driving towards what culture are we trying to create? So we attract it. Like will always attract, like always good.

 

Alex |

Jason or Brian.

 

Alex |

Yeah. So if a worst leader asks me, how do I deal with my team, I’ll often ask, first of all, how many times in the last month or six months have you from the platform said, if you’d like to join our worship team, we’d love to talk to you. I’m shocked at how much we never say that because people will come to church and they’ll say, oh, there’s people up there. I’m a guitar player, but they’ve got a guitar player. They don’t need me. I think people think that often, or they don’t feel there’s an invitation. So I think it’s important. And worship leaders, we got to talk to our pastors about that and how do we craft it in a meaningful way in our services. Right. So that’s one thing. On the flip side of that, in my personal experience in church, your highest capacity volunteers, team members usually don’t. That’s not how you usually get them. Usually it’s very much you seeking them out and how do you find them? I think our current worship team volunteers are probably one of our best tools. So I like to say empower your volunteers that are on your team because musicians know musicians, typically.

 

Alex |

It’s crazy how many times I talk to somebody, I’m like, oh, yeah, I know this drummer is just like a pro. Why haven’t you invited them? So empower your volunteers to invite people, but again, they’re not going to invite their pro drummer friend to come to a rehearsal. That’s hot mix that has to get stored up, right? If you’re in the rehearsal, talk. You do? Yes, talk.

 

Alex |

Talk.

 

Alex |

I know some of you are sitting there thinking, you haven’t been to my church. There’s only 20 of us on a Sunday, but I can tell you what is, and you got to go. Those answers work if there’s people. But like she said, people drop. Excellence draws people. Joy draws people. But the other thing that exists are churches in your community and reaching out to other worship leaders saying, hey, I have a need. Is there somebody that’s sitting that might be able to come over and help us out? Because what are we together? We are better together. Right. But that involves making relationships with people in your community, which is shocking to me when I always find out that we don’t do that. But when we do that is when we find there’s actually people sitting around that might be able to help us out, even if it’s for a short season, but it’s to help fill those gaps. And if you’re like, Jason, there’s not people around. There are there? Are they’re just waiting for that? So I recommend networking with other churches around here.

 

Alex |

Can I add on to that?

 

Alex |

Absolutely.

 

Alex |

Okay. So I’ve been involved in churches from like 20, 1530 people to give me a megachurch. And most of my life, I’ve been more about half of my life in very small churches. And my pastor and I talked about this, and I reached out to some friends that were in large churches in the area, and I was shocked like they were overjoyed to help and I found a worse leader who they had a team of musicians, like guitar players and stuff. These guys were awesome. That like there’s so many guitar players in their church that they didn’t have roommates and stuff, and like they would twice a month just send guys over to play guitar. And I got to know these I mean, it was amazing. I couldn’t believe it. I think you might be surprised if you’re in a small, like, if you lack resources in people, because I know it’s reality for most of us, probably. I was shocked, but people want to help.

 

Alex |

Yeah.

 

Alex |

I was going to say when we.

 

Alex |

Can, the obvious thing and the quick thing is you can have a sandwich board with a QR code that says, join our team. But I also want just practically like be the lobby guy, be the lobby girl. Let’s not be the green room people. Let’s get out to the lobby and let’s listen. Let’s get to know people and encourage your team. Get out into the lobby. Let’s not just be selfish. I’m not saying selfish to be in the green room, but open your heart on Sunday morning, get to know those who are laboring among you in the church and you might be hearing some gifts, you might be hearing someone who’s a vocalist, you might be hearing heart’s desires. And then I want to say the obvious, we need to be praying. We need to be praying. One of the prayers I pray every day, it’s over every person in my family, it’s over everything that I oversee in my life, it’s like, Lord, I thank you for the people that you have for my life, that the right people would come and that the wrong people would go. Lord, I thank you for the people that you have for our worship team, that the right people would remain and join and that the people that aren’t supposed to be there would go.

 

Alex |

And people are like, I don’t like that prayer. Well, do we want God’s will or do we not want God’s will? And before we do everything, we need to be men and women of prayer so that we are always inviting the will of God into everything that we do. Obvious. But I think sometimes we miss obvious.

 

Alex |

Preach. Preach. Jenny okay, just before I ask the next question, what time is this over? I should probably know this, but oh, great, ten minutes. Awesome. So oftentimes we do pray that God is in the right people, but sometimes God wants us to build the people up.

 

Alex |

That’s right.

 

Alex |

So here’s a question. How should we approach standards of excellence, like bringing people onto the team? Maybe they can sing melody, but they can’t sing harmony. How do you guys approach that and how do you build people up? Or how should we think about that?

 

Alex |

Well, I’m a big fan of providing resources.

 

Alex |

Yes. You are.

 

Alex |

So I went into a website where they can learn how to play.

 

Alex |

It’s called horses, Artistry.

 

Alex |

No, for real.

 

Alex |

I do.

 

Alex |

I try to send people to Jason as much as I can. I really do, like, I mean, clipping people is my heart. That’s why Worship Tutorials exists. So yeah, I’ve many times had when there’s a woman on our team now, I’m not the worst leader in my church. I volunteered, so I lead worst volunteers sometimes. But anyway, there’s a guitar player and.

 

Alex |

She just started playing.

 

Alex |

She plays other instruments, but they need acoustic players. And she’ll send me, she’ll text me, she’ll be like, Ryan, I’m really struggling with this song. And so I’ll just sit down and like, I’ll just on my phone, just like, okay, here’s how you play this song. It’s hard. Like if you do it like the album, it’s hard. So here’s the easy way to play this song and I send it to her and that weekend she played it, she did great. You might think this would take forever. It took me like five minutes out of my day to resource her in that regard. There are so many resources that are available and all the people involved in this conference provide them. And so it’s not hard to resource people and then just to encourage them to keep up with them because it’s a lot of work to go from playing one chord on guitar to playing or learning how to sing harmony, which is something I’m trying to go through now because I do a lot more of it and I’m bad at it.

 

Alex |

The other half of my life is I don’t write a music teaching studio. And we actually have a lot of churches that pay for lessons for like their drummer, they’ll call them, hey, I want to scholarships a student and pay half, pay all of it, split it with the family. This is a physical investment in the future of that musician and then they’re going to be with you for a long time. And so you start young, get them in, take the lessons, and then you’re coming to prompt later on and however far they are in the process, but just getting them over there. And the other thing I will tell you is that a lot of us that are here actually. If you can’t come to the conference. Can actually speak come to you and reach out to somebody that goes. Hey. Can you come speak to my team and give them encouragement and where we’re at. They might not be able to make it to the event. But we could come to them and Mask over there sweating that. I just told people not to come here, but hey, no, it’s cool. But at least some of you guys and train you guys and help you guys where you’re at as well.

 

Alex |

I like to pair up people on our team so we have a baseline for people getting on board. And we do audition videos and everything. It’s always a baseline. You don’t have to be perfect, but there’s got to be something that I see and I’ll send it to other people on our team, like, hey, do you see this? You think we can build on it? So there’s that baseline. But I truly believe in equipping people and not just expecting the baby to run out of the womb. We got churches full of people where they’re expected to be at this level, but what about these people down here? And we have churches full of gifts and they’re like, Well, God hasn’t given me anymore. Yeah, he’s giving you a whole church full of gifts. You just don’t want to take the time to do what it takes to equip them. So I’m a firm believer of putting the weak with the strong. It’s very scriptural, you know. So, like, classic example. We just had a girl in her church and she just started coming in the last year and went, god said in her life, it’s phenomenal, and she wants to audition for Violent.

 

Alex |

And I really wasn’t sure. And we have one of the top violence in Canada. He actually goes to our church and I sent him the video. I said, what do you think? I don’t know. He said, but he’s like, I believe in this girl. So what he did was he’s like, I’m going to go be there on Sunday. So he met her on the Sunday, took her under a wing. She just sent in another audition video. She’s made the cut. So it’s just putting the weak with this strong, and it also adds greater value to the team because the team no longer just filters around me, because I’m beginning to begin to empower the team. And you can build momentum in that way.

 

Alex |

I want to encourage you, don’t look at your audition processes. Like, can you jump over the fence? But it’s like, I’m going to establish a coaching relationship with you. I’m here to help you grow. And we’re just going to go on a journey together and see where it goes. That’s really good. We have five minutes left. I want to talk about the spiritual side. What have you guys found? Let’s make this answer short because there’s another answer, which is dealing with toxic team members than anybody. Okay, so let’s do this question pretty quickly here. You don’t have to wait.

 

Alex |

Okay, that’s my answer.

 

Alex |

So let’s talk about the spiritual side.

 

Alex |

What are some of the things that.

 

Alex |

You have found to be most impactful in investing in your team on a regular basis? On the spiritual side of things.

 

Alex |

Practicals, we just talked about that this morning. There’s tons of things we could talk about, but when we have our worship rehearsal, it’s not just rehearsal. We’ll have a time of worship and then every eight weeks we’ll just have worship night. And that concludes everybody that’s been part of the creative so that worship isn’t just something we do on Sunday morning, but it’s part of who we are, it’s our DNA. So we’ll also begin with prayer and I’ll have each of the team members, even if they’re 14 because there’s no Junior Holy Spirit amen. That everyone fills with the Spirit of God and begins to empower them to share a scripture, to empower them to share a thought and again if they’re young and say hey, we Psalm 23. So that I’m setting them up to win, not to fail to hold their hand to that process. But the Bible says their faith becomes effectual by acknowledging every good work that God’s done in us. So I found that it begins to again, the team’s equipping the team and it’s inspiring one another in their spiritual walk.

 

Alex |

I would say also making sure that their volunteer schedule does not take over their schedule. You got to remember that they are volunteers and also places the tech team, I’m going to say the tech teams tend to come in, they’re constantly running about what’s the problem with the thing in church is happening but their minds are in so many other places. And so remember when you’re scheduling happens to give them breaks, even if they say I don’t need a break. No, give them breaks, make sure and then when there are breaks, making sure they’re actually coming to church can I not using that as a Sunday to be off. Might not be there. They’re not volunteering so they don’t need to come. Actually follow up with them and say hey, I missed your last one. And checking in to make sure they’re not just here to do their tasks but also be involved in the process.

 

Alex |

Yes.

 

Alex |

Can I say one line to follow up with that? I wish we could do a whole thing on this, what you just said. Let’s care about our teams more, how they’re doing them, what they can do and we care more about them.

 

Alex |

In the third breakout, I’m teaching a class called Love for Tech Team. So I just want to point right.

 

Alex |

Because we asked so much volunteers. I often like to think of the worship team as like a small group because often people on the team I never was involved in a small group even though I led many events to try to sign people up. So think of it as a small group and schedule a devotional sharing time in the middle of your rehearsal that you can’t cut it at the end because you’re out of time, but in the middle and if it goes long, you start praying with people and sharing like forget the last half of rehearsal, let that be your spot. That’s so important in every week time. But then once a quarter cancel rehearsal, have the whole team come and take a cue from Michael Scott and have a Dundee award show and make up crazy like awards, but celebrate people that give up their like celebrate what God is doing to people and make it fun. And you can get Dwight Schrute to MC. There you go.

 

Alex |

It’s good. Small things guys have done consistently lead to big results. Just do the spiritual work over and over every single week. Show up and be a pastor and a shepherd, and you will see a spiritually strong team if you do the right thing consistently. Last topic. We have two minutes, so we’ll go quick. Dealing with difficult team members. All right, let’s go.

 

Alex |

Jason hands are shaking. No, better remember, that your job as the worst leaders, to remove distractions. I’m going to leave it.

 

Alex |

That’s good.

 

Alex |

Here, here. Here is part of shepherding people. If you love your team, you’re going to do the right thing. We want to be leaders that we’re not leading out of fear. We’re leading out of love. We’re leading out of the fear of the Lord and not out.

 

Alex |

We do these lives. My mentor is a guy named Brian Fuller. Fuller is a part of Worship tutorials he’s been in love with. We do these live streams every month. And we did one worst leader Wednesday, first Wednesday of the month. We did one just this past Wednesday and we were asked that question. And Fuller’s like, he relishes these moments. I like to perch everyone’s gone.

 

Alex |

It’s like he got hired as a.

 

Alex |

Pet coach and like all the staff. And we got some comments like, really? But I think leadership kind of boils down to a lot of times just never ending. Very difficult conversations.

 

Alex |

Yes. All they’re small. Deal with them.

 

Alex |

Yeah. It’s scary. You have to have the courage to enter into a very difficult conversation with grace and love. But yeah. Don’t ever let anybody hold your team hostage.

 

Alex |

On it.

 

Alex |

Can you go ahead?

 

Alex |

No, it just goes through what you’re saying. The Bible says we have shepherd.

 

Alex |

Well, yeah. 8 seconds left. Just one line to think about. Your culture is created by what you celebrate and what you tolerate. So cut the bad, celebrate the good, and you’ll have a good team. All right, that’s it. We’re done. Let’s give it up.

 

Alex |

A big challenge.

 

Alex |

All right, that is it. For this podcast episode, I may be releasing one more bonus episode on set building from the workshop that I taught at the Worship Innovative conference. But either way, dive into the academy if you are interested in really taking your growth seriously. Again, you can try all the courses, get all the resources, join our live monthly trainings, join our live weekly coaching calls just for $1 for the first 15 days. After that, it’s just $29 a month. And I’m going to encourage you to jump on that pricing now because I’m probably going to be raising the prices soon. The academy started out with a lot less in it now. It’s, like, overflowing with resources. So jump into the academy now to lock in that $29 rate. Otherwise you know what? Honestly, I want to just be an encouragement to you if you can’t afford that. We do have a free tier which will allow you to be part of the community conversations and the discussions in the chat. And also we’ll give you some access to some free courses or free sample lessons of the courses. So you can get some free stuff, too, by going to worshipmentistrytraining.

 

Alex |

ComFree that will get you into the free tier of the academy. So either way, if you want to just chat or hang out or discuss this episode or any of the others we’ve had, jump into the free portion of the academy or the full portion of the academy if your church can afford that. All right, that’s it for this month’s episode. Go to Worship Mysterytraining.com for more resources, and I’ll see you next month for another helpful episode. Guys.