Part 5 of the series: Building Strong Worship Leaders
For the worship ministry of Valley View Church, our end goal is not to produce great worship services, but rather, to produce great worshipers, who will in turn help produce great worship services. Therefore, we have a process for discovering and developing worship leaders. Our process is intentional, prayerful, and deliberate. It’s intentional because we believe training and discipleship don’t happen by accident. It’s prayerful because we recognize that in ourselves we are powerless to help people grow. Only the Holy Spirit can bring about lasting change in someone. This process is deliberate because we firmly believe we have a God-given responsibility to train up those He entrusts to our ministry.
Our ministry’s purpose above all is to make disciples. We understand the verb translated as “make disciples”—mathēteuō—is beautifully complex, carrying more meaning than simply accumulating converts. It communicates the idea of a learning believer—someone who is growing in his faith and his love for the Lord.1
Our vision at Valley View Church is to be a sculpturing “factory” which helps build mature worshipers and worship leaders. This vision is necessarily supported and exemplified by our senior pastor, Dr. Joel Carwile.
We’ve developed a process that’s simple to understand and easy for us to communicate to our people. Our process encourages worshipers in our ministry to become apprentices, who may develop into leaders, some of whom may eventually become overseers.
For Worshipers: We want everyone in our church to be a true worshiper of God. Thus, we offer several non-auditioned opportunities for people to be involved in our worship ministry, including our children’s choirs, the intermediate and advanced bands for our older students, and our adult choir. Non-musicians may be able to help with production or serve in other ways within our ministry.
For Apprentices: Those who desire to grow in their character and competencies may be given the opportunity to be apprentices who are mentored by a leader or overseer. To help them develop, these apprentices may be asked to serve in some way within our children’s or youth worship services, or perhaps within mission outreach ministries of our church. We observe and coach them through these opportunities.
For Leaders: The natural progression for apprentices who stay faithful and committed to growth is influence. Many of our apprentices will never have an official title or position within our worship ministry. To us leadership isn’t dependent or defined by some title. In fact, we generally discourage apprentices from making position their goal. However, as they sharpen their skills and mature, they will become more and more recognized as leaders among our team. Places where these trusted leaders may serve include being core team members in our main service worship bands and vocal teams. Leaders may also serve as managers in the production booth or as primary worship leaders in our student bands or mid-week services.
For Overseers: Some who are leaders may be asked to become overseers of groups of people within our worship ministry. By the word “overseer,” we don’t mean someone who lords over others or who merely manages other people’s schedules. Instead, overseers seek to serve those they lead and help mentor them. Overseers in production might serve as technical directors or as team leaders. Other overseers include choir captains and band directors. Some overseer positions are voluntary, while others may be paid staff positions.
Our Goals and Expectations
For Worshipers: Our worship ministry has two primary goals for those who attend any of the worship services at our church. First, we want to help inspire people to fall in love with Jesus. And second, our goal is to help instruct them that worship is much more than just singing and attending church. Our worship ministry is not responsible for discipling our congregation in deeper truths about God and worship. Rather, our goal is to be a catalyst which helps spark people’s desire to grow. For example, we pray that people catch a glimpse of God’s glory during our worship services and then hunger to learn more about Him through other ministries within our church–such as small groups or missions.
For Apprentices: To become an apprentice, one must demonstrate that he or she loves and worships God. Faithfulness to attend services and rehearsals is an important indicator. He or she needs to already be serving in some way and involved in the life of our church. Our goals for potential leaders involved in our ministry are a) to train them in the basic skills for artistry, production, and worship leadership and b) to disciple them in some of the deeper truths of biblical worship.
For Leaders: To be considered a trusted leader within our ministry, one must first demonstrate certain skills and knowledge in his or her area of leadership. He or she must continue to grow as a worshiper and leader. An audition and application may also be necessary for certain leadership positions and opportunities. Our goals for leaders are to teach them how to better lead on stage and how to serve and invest in others off-stage.
For Overseers: To be invited to serve as an overseer, one must demonstrate a sincere love for people. He or she must already be pouring into someone, patiently helping that person grow and develop. Furthermore, overseers are expected to “be on the same page” with the other worship ministry leaders. Therefore, to become an overseer, one must first go through the book, Pure Praise: A Heart-focused Bible Study on Worship. Our goals for overseers are a) to continue to mentor them in their character and competencies, and b) to help them identify potential apprentices within their groups that they can help mentor—thus involving more people in our process to build leaders!
Our Timeline for this Process
Our timeline for individuals is as long as it takes! We’re not trying to grow dandelions here; we’re growing oak trees–men and women who will be worshipers and worship leaders for life. Some people will move through the process much faster than others. Some may take months or even years to develop. That’s fine. We’re committed to this process and to our people for the long haul—just like God is committed and patient with us!
1“What Does It Mean to Make Disciples?” by John MacArthur, http://www.gty.org/blog/B130207
About This Series:
The articles in this Building Strong Worshippers series are written by church leaders committed to intentionally training people about worship. Their churches are reaping the benefits—and they gladly pass on ideas and suggestions of how your church can too! This series is presented by Pastors.com, in partnership with Next Level Worship, a ministry providing quality worship discipleship resources to churches. Go to http://www.NextLevelWorship.com to register for free coaching webinars for the Pastors.com community.