The Worship Leader’s Guide to Building Teams, Making Disciples, and Enjoying Your Job

article400_man-feet-up-desk-420x0I hate to break it to you, but the greatest value you offer your church is not that you have a great voice.

It’s not that you can play guitar with the best of them. No, your greatest value is shown in who you’re reproducing – the teams you are building.

This isn’t going to change. You can’t just do ministry. You must become skilled at equipping people for ministry.

How to Enjoy Your Job

As a worship pastor, I find my greatest joy not when I’m leading worship, but when someone I’ve discipled is leading worship. I feel I’ve done my job, not just when I’ve expended energy on the platform, but when I’ve done the work of teaching and discipling and mentoring behind the scenes.

I’ll be honest.

It’s easier for me to just lead worship.

By myself.

When I have complete control, I can guarantee a certain quality. Things get messy when I involve those who are learning. They make mistakes. They don’t have experience. They’re not studio quality.

But that’s a risk I’m willing to take in order to be a reproducing leader.

Over time, this will help you enjoy your job to the fullest. Because you may be in a place right now where you are doing everything. You have your hand in too many responsibilities. You’re stressed out, feeling like the entire ministry rests on your shoulders.


Imagine with me. Oh, just imagine…

  • You weren’t the only worship leader – you raised someone up who is just as capable (if not more capable) than yourself
  • You had more than enough musicians
  • You had volunteers waiting to get involved
  • Your volunteers were passionate about their role
  • Your disciples move on to do great things for the Kingdom

I believe with all my heart that ministry leaders are too busy. We have too many responsibilities and our ministries (and families, for that matter) suffer for it. The goal isn’t to scale back and do less, necessarily, but to enable those who are waiting for their chance on the sidelines. Until Jesus returns, there will always be much to do – people to reach.

There are gifted people on the sidelines of your ministry, waiting for permission to get in the game (tweetable). It’s time to open your eyes and create space.

The Power of Influence

In order to be this type of leader, you need one thing – influence. What is influence?

I define influence as opening people’s eyes to their role in a greater story.

You can cast vision and not influence anyone. Influence happens when people see they have a responsibility to act – to participate – to put skin in the game.

When people see a compelling, to-be-desired future they will sacrifice for it.

As the leader, do you have to have everything figured out? No. Do you have to be the best? No.

But you do need a track record of being a man of your word. Of following through. Of making ideas happen. If you want to build teams – to grow your worship team, you need to become a person of influence.

Where to start? I’m glad you asked.

Here’s the downlow. If you remember one idea from this post, remember this:

Don’t lead worship alone.

Your Homework

Here’s the challenge I want to offer you. Create a spreadsheet or an outline, listing all the times you’re leading worship for the next 3 months. Under each of those events, list the name of ONE PERSON you are going to mentor through that experience. Here are some examples:

  • A bass player who overplays and needs to learn how to serve the song
  • A sound tech who knows what the knobs do, but doesn’t treat the mixer like an instrument
  • A vocalist who needs to learn the meaning of BGV
  • A young worship leader without much experience
  • A non-musician who wants to get involved, training them to be a stage manager
  • A drummer who is learning how to play with a click

The goal is for every time you lead worship or do ministry, you’re bringing someone else along.

Don’t lead worship alone.

Stop just doing ministry. Start equipping others. Reproduce yourself (tweetable).

What about you? Are you stressed out with too much to do and not enough volunteers?

What’s the next step you need to take in order to create space, build teams, and make disciples?

Share your ideas in the comments!

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  1. says

    David, thanks for the reminder on the important things. We can get so wrapped up in the music that we forget to serve the mission and vision of the church we are suppose to be ministering to and with.

  2. Alice Marchesani says

    Equipping God’s people for the work of the ministry is the big picture. As servant-leaders, we can say we have faith, or demonstrate our faith by the fruit it produces. Moving aside and creating space for others ain’t easy, but worth it. Seems a bit easier with the younger generation, though, as they seem to be more teachable and humble.

  3. Amanda Valantine says

    Question for you… Do you have specific worship leaders assigned to always play with specific teams or do you mix the teams up? I am raising up some worship leaders and know there is one school of thought where each leader works with a specific team, and then there’s another where the musicians still rotate as normal but the worship leader may just change. So have you formed specific teams, and the teams rotate, or do you just rotate everyone on an individual basis. I have thoughts either way… Just wanting to hear your perspective.

  4. says

    From the other end of this spectrum, I can testify to how important it is for worship leaders to build up. When playing on a team, I know when the leader is rushing through rehearsal to get on to another project he has to do or if he/she is really trying to build up and mentor someone. The worship environment increases so much when someone (not even necessarily myself) is being mentored/encouraged. It’s like true community and fellowship is happening and it glorifies the Lord.

    Great post. I especially enjoyed “When people see a compelling, to-be-desired future they will sacrifice for it.” If my leader is building me up and pushing me musically, I’m definitely compelled to push myself more and sacrifice .

  5. Ana Nunez says

    This blog not only makes me want to change and become a better leader, but it also encourages me and shows me that with Gods guidance, I am doing some thing’s right with my ministry!

  6. says

    Sometimes it is just quicker and easier to do it yourself. but this is a temporary solution.
    Delegation is a vital skill for leaders. We call it discover-develop-deploy

  7. says

    David. Great post! This has been on my heart for a long time…now its time to get more intentional about it.
    One question I come up against: how do you train new musicians without sacrificing quality on the platform?

    • says

      Oftentimes I’ll invite new musicians to our rehearsals where they’ll shadow another musician and get trained on how we do things. Sometimes this can be for a few months. I would also say to keep your team small and simple if you don’t have much skill. Train people and work towards a fuller team.

  8. Nathan Caudle says

    Hey David,
    Thanks for the post, it’s an encouragement to be confirmed in some of my thinking about this, though I have little idea of how to execute on it.

    Do you ever do one on one talks about unique situations?

    I lead worship on a military base at two of the chapel services and have many many things that I’ve come across that I haven’t heard of other worship leaders having to deal with.



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