I get a lot of emails from worship leaders asking for advice and counsel, and I am always happy to help! Some churches require even more help than a simple email response, so I recently started offering coaching services for an affordable rate. If your church needs some guidance or coaching, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can try to get something on the calendar. Here are 16 questions I answered recently while coaching a church, and decided to make available as a podcast episode. The questions are listed below, so feel free to jump to the ones that interest you. Resources mentioned are also listed as well.
- How large is an ideal volunteer force (let’s say a church of 1500 weekly) and what does the makeup look like? I.e. How many singers (of each type), band elements, and choir?
- Why don’t modern worship bands and singers use sheet music? It seems sheet music provides specific guidelines and clarity for what to play when, when to rest, what notes to sing, rhythms, cuttoffs, etc. Do you ever find sheet music useful at times? If so, when?
- How do you recommend on-boarding new members (vocal or band). Do you audition? Once someone is selected, is there a rehearsal process beyond a mid-week rehearsal before their first Sunday?
- How do you evaluate the sound while also participating in it? Traditionally a music director or choir director is listening to the sound so that they can critique and make changes. This is difficult to do while focusing also on your own sound, in ear mix, blend with other vocalists (to the extent there are any) etc.
- What are the tell tale signs of a thriving church music ministry? When you visit other churches, what are you looking for that will indicate a healthy program?
- What is your position on the music ministry raising up children/teens in music? Do you believe in a children’s music program? Children’s choir? If so, with what frequency do you incorporate them in the main auditorium service?
- Do you do anything like special music in your services? If so, how do you lead the congregation to know not to sing along, but to listen, enjoy, and connect to God silently?
- What is your ideal worship song selection template? We sometimes follow the upbeat > slow build > ballad > misc/hymn pattern. Would you recommend something different?
- If you don’t use sheet music, how do you instruct background vocal singers on what to sing and when to sing? Do you plan chords and teach parts to them at each rehearsal? Do you record preview tracks and put in planning center for them to listen to?
- How do you give specific direction and feedback with the intention of making the sound better, while still shepherding and loving the team well?
- When someone is failing (i.e. can’t perform up to standards musically) how do you address that if they really aren’t good enough to be on the team?
- What are the top 2-3 spiritual leadership practices you would recommend implementing in the worship ministry?
- What do you think is the biggest frustration for worship ministry volunteers? What drives away participation in the music ministry?
- Do you have any tips for how to transition between songs, especially of different styles like modern songs to traditional songs or the other way around?
- What are your favorite ways to train and equip vocalists?
- What does your worship ministry leadership structure look like? For instance, worship leaders, music/band director, service producer, etc.
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