10 Tips to Getting Hired as a Worship Leader
1. Know Yourself
Be in touch with your complete story. Your family upbringing, life experiences, significant relationships, and education all shape who you are. The redemptive work of God in you is never finished. Being vulnerable about your strengths and weaknesses only brings out more authenticity (high on the list of “key qualities”). If you’ve never dealt with your baggage, then get on with it so as not to drag those issues into your next ministry.
2. Abide in the Spirit
Finding rest in God’s perfect provision will help you get a job. Churches want to hire worship leaders who model the fruit of the Spirit. Fear is your greatest enemy in this process. Let your love relationship with God rid you of fear and free you to be the attractive “aroma of Christ”… the “it factor” in a church context.
3. Determine Your Biggest “YES”!
Knowing what your gifts and skills are (and aren’t) helps you define yourself and represent well. As you determine your bigger “yes” you are able to confidently say “no” much easier. Be humble yet confident about what you can bring to a church that will make them a better community.
4. Make Biblical Conclusions
Worship leaders who know their Bible have an edge in getting hired. When it comes to theology and doctrine these days the tendency is to “embrace the gray” and land nowhere. Making some well-founded conclusions based on your interpretation of scripture shows that you’ve taken the time to study and show yourself approved. Don’t be afraid of putting a stake in the ground in what you believe. As you evolve, you can always move it later.
5. Seek a Unified Calling
If you are married, dig in hard with your spouse to determine the things that matter most to you as a family. Avoid over-spiritualizing the journey. Realize there are some factors about a move to a new church and community that must be discussed and agreed upon. Avoiding the hard discussions can lead to a bad decision resulting in a short-term stint that is not good for you or the church.
6. Bone Up on Your Skills
Ministry demands can undermine discipline. As a musician be sure to tend to those very skills that afford you the opportunity to be hirable. Work hard to lean in to current sounds and styles so as not to get left “on the shelf.”
7. Take a Good Look at Yourself:
When seeking employment of any kind you want to present your personal best. Potential employers won’t talk about it BUT, your physical appearance matters! As “platform people” what you look like makes a statement. Make it positive! So, get in shape, buy some current clothes, and get a good haircut!
8. Put Together a Great Portfolio
The only way to stand out in the crowd is to make your portfolio sizzle. In it there should be a well-written and visually attractive resume that gives a snapshot of your life and a video reel that captures you actually leading worship, not simply singing a song. Production quality matters but is not the end all. Be sure to include a few studio quality mp3’s in your portfolio to supplement poor production quality in a video. Provide references that are relevant to your abilities to lead a worship ministry. Keep it electronic. Hard copies are a pain.
9. When Interviewing, Ask Great Questions
The candidate who asks savvy questions always make great impressions. Your maturity and experience is easily determined by the questions you ask. By the way…talking too much about past experiences (especially negative ones) can blow up an interview in no time.
10. Remember Who They Are Hiring!
This is for all you married people who include your spouse in the interviews (which is often the case). The spouse who answers for the candidate is not helping the situation at all. I have seen many interviews go south because the spouse (who may be the dominant personality) would speak for the candidate, or try to redeem an awkward moment. Coach your spouse prior to the interview that “less is more”.
Monty Kelso is a partner in Slingshot Group, a coaching and consulting organization devoted to helping churches discover worship, arts, and communication breakthroughs through strategy, structure and staffing. He has served as a clinician and consultant to numerous Worship and Arts conferences and organizations, and is on the board of directors for The Grove Center for the Arts & Media and Worship Mentor Network.