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It’s always brought a smile when my team gets along well with each other.  It makes for great rehearsals, always-good Sundays, and friendships that extend beyond the walls of the church building.  My current team has me smiling all the time in that regard!  Here are ten ways we encourage it at Calvary Memorial.

  1. We start on time. By starting  our rehearsals on time (not when everyone finally gets there) we make best-use of the time we have available.  Singers, instrumentalists and techs arrive early to set up, tune, warm up — and visit with each other.  We start on time.  When someone is going to be late they nearly always let us know ahead of time (builds trust and confidence). When they arrive they quickly and quietly slip into place and merge into traffic.
  2. We pray.  First thing. The techs on our team leave Tech Central and join the rest of the gang up front, and we pray.  To us it’s like tuning.  We tell each other about the good things God just did, share (briefly) things we’re praying about and then we pray. Really pray. While we don’t always all of us pray aloud, we forget about the clock while we  “tune our hearts to sing His grace” (Come Thou Fount).  It knits us together.  THEN we tie into the rigors of rehearsal.  If one of us is fragile tonight or preoccupied with a major concern, we know enough to treat them with extra care even though we’re working hard.
  3. And we do.  We work hard. As the worship leader I have a good idea where we need to be by rehearsal’s end.  I budget the 75 rehearsal minutes we have, and I know anything over a 90 minutes is out of bounds for our team. (I try not to do that any more than I must).  It’s my job to be sure we’re ready for Sunday at rehearsal’s end.  Starting on time shows we value each others time and in-rehearsal energy.  Ending on time recognizes you have a life and says “I value your investment in this ministry. I’m not going to squander your valuable time.”  Working hard in the middle gets the job done.
  4. We have fun. We take our work seriously without taking ourselves too seriously. We remind ourselves that God has perfect pitch and the rhythm of His universe is flawless. Harmony illustrates how He wants us to work together.  So we enjoy the role we each play, and each other.
  5. We have declared war on Sunday Morning Distractions. Anything that yanks a worshiper’s attention back down here from thinking about God has to go. As we root out distractions we flex, having adopted a “whatever it takes” mindset .  Feedback, missed cues, harmony that’s off, awkward transitions, hard-to-read on-screen lyrics all get carried out in the same basket.  We call them all “distractions”.  It’s part of what we do to make sure Calvary people can worship un-hindered.   (By the way,  computer updates happen prior to rehearsal or wait until after Sunday. We’ve had computer gremlins ruin worship too many times to let it happen again.)
  6. Level-checks and run-throughs on Sunday morning are quick-paced and spirited. Joyful but focused.  At the end of our 30 minutes we want to be sure everything is working and ready, video clips play properly, and that our transitions are good.   This sets us up to lead with confidence when the church family has assembled for praise and worship.
  7. We pray -again- just before we begin on Sunday, reminding ourselves Who this service is really for and asking for help with delicate or touchy musical passages (there’s always at least one – does the Lord do that to keep us trusting Him? Maybe!) 😀
  8. I thank my team often for their individual contribution to this ministry venue.  Sometimes I hang back and thank the singers and the praise band as they finish the morning’s play-out (postlude).  Sometimes I catch them in the foyer before they leave, sometimes it’s later in the week when I see them around town.  But I know I NEED these friends and I’m thankful enough for their skills and friendship to say so often.
  9. As the ministry-head  I recognize that time is a huge gift from my volunteers,  my unpaid-staff.  So I’m committed to providing good tools for them.  It may not be the best product on the market, maybe not the most expensive, but whatever it is HAS able to do the task well.  Having good tools to work with makes a quality “product” possible and lessens volunteer frustration.  Team members who know their church takes their ministry seriously enough to invest in the work they do are generally happy volunteers.

  10. One more.  I listen to my team. No observation or concern is too small to mention. I listen attentively to what my team tells me and then prayerfully slip it into place priority-wise.  “Thank you.  I want to know.”  Caring for them and listening to what’s on their minds helps keep us focused and urges us onward to excellence in ministry with the group of friends we call Worship Team.

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