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Encouraging the Team

“Encouraging the Team” by Rick Kamrath. From the Worship Leader series.

No matter what kind of team, and for whatever purposes the team exists, (ministry, sports, business, etc.), individual players are likely to perform better if they receive encouragement from their leadership. In a worship band, this is often vital to success.

Ideally, a worship band functions creatively as a close-knit group with a respected leader. But, some of the elements which comprise a functional band can contribute to a discouraged team member becoming even more devastated.

Copyright Stan Myers. Used with permission.

Since creativity most often involves the expression of the heart, rejection or even ambivalence toward a band member’s contribution can lead to discouragement, especially if it comes from a leader who the band member respects. Also, if rejection comes from a close-knit group, the member not only risks feeling alienated from her ministry, but from her group as well.

Many times temporary worship bands are pulled together to minister at specific events, and the opportunity for personal interaction between players is minimal. But most praise and worship bands are comprised of regular team members, ministering at a home church. Members need to know their function, reciprocal commitment, and value. After all, while their primary motivation may be to serve the Lord first, and the congregation second, they are also serving the worship leader to help implement how the leader sense worship ought to be performed and led. By their very function, members exist to help the worship leader. Worship pastors sometimes receive a paycheck. Worship team members rarely get a paycheck. They definitely deserve appreciation.

The apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to correct, rebuke and encourage with patience and careful instruction (2 Tim. 4:2). When attempting to build someone up, remember: Encouragement should be honest.

Worship pastors and leaders have found themselves in trouble integrating a much-needed but temporary player into the team only until someone comes along who is better. If the person’s talents aren’t particularly strong, he shouldn’t be “setup” for later disappointment. Be up front about that person’ place on the team, so you don’t have to use the Lord as a scapegoat later. Some people shouldn’t be encouraged to continue in certain functions of a ministry for the long run, but can be an incredible lifesaver until someone else takes the position. If team members have been properly built up and encouraged so that they are secure in what they can do, they will be much more able to accept what they cannot do.

Don’t miss the right opportunities. The time to recognize a team member’s contribution should not only proceed a criticism. Show a valued band member appreciation when they see other more talented musicians around whom could “threaten their job.” Don’t’ wait until the “goodbye party” for a person who feels led to resign from the bad, even if it’s much easier to express appreciation to them. One vineyard worship leader/songwriter created a “7 to 1″ ratio: give at least seven encouragement’s for every one (loving) criticism.

If a leader routinely says “thanks for playing in the band” the same way each week, it won’t mean much after a while. But, if the leader gives the piano player a subscription to “keyboard” magazine, or the church sponsors a worship team dinner occasionally, the team knows that the leadership took the time to think about how to express their appreciation.

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Category: Fall 2003, Ministry

About the Author: Rick Kamrath is a worship leader that has been involved in numerous Vineyard Worship projects.

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