Whether you’re a church of 5000 or 50, you may have trouble raising up instrumentalists and vocalists from within your body. If your sole drummer is constantly saying, “I need a break – I can’t keep practicing each week and playing every Sunday,” then the answer is clear – you need more drummers. But how do you find them? Here are four steps for shepherding musicians onto your team.
- Create A Clear Pathway
Many churches hold mass audition nights, annually, quarterly or even monthly. It’s a great way for large churches to give everyone a chance to demonstrate their musical proficiency, and to see how they play together in ensemble units (for instance, have each auditioning guitarist take turns playing with your band).
Smaller churches may opt to let people audition individually, anytime of the year. It still helps to let people know that this is how it’s done. Plan to remind your church members, several times per year, of this process. Which brings us to the second step …
- Promote Your Pathway
It’s not enough to create a pathway. You must let people know the pathway exists, using all the communication channels at your disposal.
- A post on your church blog.
- A listing in the church website event calendar.
- Regularly scheduled tweets and Facebook updates (one to two per week for the three to four weeks leading up to the week of auditions. About three tweets the final week, then another the day of the audition).
- A listing in your Sunday Bulletins, beginning three weeks in advance.
- Verbal announcement from the stage on the Sunday before the audition night.
- A notice in your e-Newsletter or printed newsletter.
- Ask Your Team Members To Promote The Pathway
Encourage musicians already on your team to use social media and face-to-face interactions to let people know about the pathway. Each person on your team has his or her own friends and connections. This is particularly important if you are a multi-campus church. Your team members from each respective campus will be a great help in reaching church members on the campus-specific level.
- Don’t Just Promote/Never Stop Promoting The Pathway
You may not succeed in recruiting people if they never hear from you until you’re asking them to audition. In short, one of the best ways to promote things is to not just promote things.
More people will want to join your worship team if the team seems valuable to your church. For instance:
- Write a blog post about your Sunday set list/liturgy, then link to it on Facebook.
- Teach your church members the importance of worship, and specifically the importance of singing together (through whatever means are at your disposal – classes, a newsletter, YouTube videos, etc.)
- If some of your team members are in other bands, or have singer-songwriter careers/hobbies (whether nationally or in your city), then promote their solo records via social media from time to time. Encourage their gifting, and affirm it publicly.
In Defense Of The Last Bullet Point
You might think, “Why should I puff people up and play on their vanity? They shouldn’t serve to get a pat on the back — they should serve for the glory of God.”
Of course they should serve for the glory of God, but if you’ll observe the salutations and closings in Paul’s epistles, you’ll see that Paul knew how to compliment people “in Christ.” Being a Christian shouldn’t make us less appreciative of others, but more so.
Paul encouraged, celebrated and affirmed people. Likely, those who worked alongside Paul felt loved and appreciated by him. Likely, when they did something Paul found helpful in ministry or even something pleasing to him personally, he gave them a pat on the back, a hug, a kind word.
Be that kind of leader, and you’ll attract others. Will some of them have an unhealthy desire to hear “man’s applause”? Probably. You will have to do some corrective ministry from time to time (and often, you’ll quickly discern who needs to be dealt with this way). But human beings instinctively know that it is good and right to celebrate whatever is positive. It’s built into our psyche by our Creator, who looked on his creation and said, “It is good.” Affirm what is good — it’s an attractive pull that will cause your ministry to grow.
Bobby Gilles is a deacon at Louisville’s Sojourn Community Church, and songwriting coordinator for Sojourn Music. Bobby blogs about worship with his wife, Sojourn’s Kristen Gilles, at mysonginthenight.com. Their new CD Parker’s Mercy Brigade is a story of faith, lament, comfort, healing and worship following the stillbirth of their son.
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Bobby and Kristen Gilles live together as husband and wife in New Albany, Indiana, part of the Louisville, Kentucky metropolitan region. They serve at Sojourn Community Church of New Albany, where Bobby is Pastor of Operations & Community Life, and Kristen is Director of Children’s Ministry and a worship leader on the Sojourn Music team. They write songs together and collaborate with leaders throughout the multi-congregation Sojourn Church.