[dropcap]A[/dropcap]ll leaders, whether corporate or nonprofit, have to learn to overcome the hurdle of ineffective communication with their teams. And although we worship leaders desire to connect with people, serve needs, and exchange ideas and emotions with people and with the Lord, too often we struggle with communicating successfully within our team.
What are some practical ways we can improve our communication in our worship ministry?
You Gotta Have a Plan
First, we need to create a communications plan. What are our goals for communications within the ministry? We need to figure out what we want to achieve, how we can accomplish those objectives, and how often we will communicate them. Instead of firing off random emails, updating websites whenever we think of it, or texting people when we’re in a jam, we need to sit down and look at the 5 W’s of communication—who, what, when, where, why (and how). We’re communicating with multiple people on different levels representing many agendas, and on top of that it’s often within a volunteer environment. But if we take time to build a plan, then we can connect with everyone and meet their needs and set them up for success. Of course, don’t make your plan in a vacuum disregarding input from your team; bring them in and understand their needs. But once a team-sensitive plan is in place, we will build a healthier team, experience less volunteer burnout, see more unity within the ministry, and all that will translate in the way we live out our calling as worshipers.
The Web Is Your Friend
Once we create a plan, we need to make sure we’re handling the basics. I’ve worked in ministry long enough to remember the days when the only communication tools we had were letters and phone calls. We thought we were stepping it up when we graduated to spreadsheets and email lists. But it’s a new era. If you aren’t already using one, take advantage of a worship planning website. These handle everything from setlist planning to volunteer scheduling to file storage and links to volunteer emailing and more. Once you move your ministry planning to a central website, you’ll cut down on many nagging communications issues that pop up. Search the Web for “worship planning” to explore the options. Many sites offer free trials or affordable, entry-level subscriptions.
Keep It Fresh & Meaningful
Another thing we should ask is whether our communication leads and inspires our team. If all they get from us is a request for availability, a setlist, or a reminder to prepare for Sunday, we aren’t communicating like we could. A communications consultant shared with our staff that for regular volunteer meetings, plan to alternate between communicating vision, community, and skill. So for example, one meeting would include a Bible study about God’s heart for worship ministry, the next would include a time of celebrating what God is doing in our ministry and within our relationships, and the next meeting would highlight a musical skill. When we plan our meetings that way, we make a dynamic impact on our team every time we gather.
The last thing to keep in mind is communicating the love of Christ. Too often our communication is less of a service to people, and more of a way to make sure our task list is checked off. I’ve had to learn the hard way that the bottom line is if I don’t communicate the love of Christ in everything I say and do, I don’t make a kingdom impact. I “Get ‘er done!” but I don’t inspire anyone the way Jesus encourages me. Spend the time it takes to double-check emails and texts before they’re sent, or call if a personal touch is the right thing to do. If we communicate the love of Jesus, the beauty of that unity will spill out into everything our ministry does.
Jason joined the staff of Bellevue Alliance Church in 1991 and later became part of the pastoral staff at Crossroads Community Church in the summer of 1992. Jason leads the music and worship ministry, and oversees the creative team including live sound, lighting, video, radio, recording studio, and communications. He serves on the board of Crossroads Community Church, and provides insight and direction to their church ministries as part of the managing team of pastors.