Try (Tri) Leadership, Part 3
Try (Tri) Leadership
Developing a Workable Model
for Co-Leadership In Worship, Part 3
for Co-Leadership In Worship, Part 3
Another beam in the co-leadership framework is likely to be the worship planner or service programmer. The planner/programmer role could be as involved as planning the entire service: songs, scripture, prayers, segues, etc.; or it could be as simple as selecting the songs used.
When I started in my current ministry, Heartland Church, I had just come out of another full-time worship leader role. That previous church financially could no longer keep me on staff. We returned to Heartland for a couple of reasons: it was where my wife and I had met before going into ministry and her family is here and 2) there was strong possibility of a becoming the full-time worship pastor. So we took a risk and I began volunteering.
My stint as a volunteer lasted three or four months. During that time, the music was â€ścommittee-planned.â€ť Six to eight people, ranging from the senior pastor, another staff pastor or two, one or two administrative assistants and a couple volunteers sat around throwing out song ideas with not much regard for keys, consistency or the overall music and thematic flow. To make it worse, we were choosing from a mammoth list of songs that had been accumulating for five or six years. Was I frustrated? You betchaâ€¦
But I learned a few things from that season:
1. Song selection for worship can be learned to a degree, but thereâ€™s enough of an art to it to that it requires an artist. They might not be a theologian, musician or pastor, but they have the gift mix and instincts to create meaningful experiences.
2. Music for the worship service CAN be planned by a team, if...
...the team knows who the â€śworship planning artistâ€ť is and takes his/her talents seriously.
...the â€śworship planning artistâ€ť checks his/her ego at the door and becomes open to otherâ€™s input.
3. Churches need a plan for introducing new songs and retiring old songs, as well as a limit to the number of songs that are in rotation. (See "What's In Your Play List" resource)
If a ministry has multiple volunteer worship leaders, they likely will choose their own music. One reason: it gets the job done. Another reason: for many itâ€™s more comfortable to pick the songs, keys and arrangements that they know work. Thatâ€™s how I rollâ€”I found it really difficult to lead those committee planned services. The surprise came when I discovered that none of the three volunteer worship leaders at my church had any real issues when I came on staff and began planning the services. (And a side note: the members of the â€śplanning committeeâ€ť were elated to be done with an extra meeting in the week.) By the time I took over the reins, I had gotten to know the other leaders, their voices, their range, their likes, etc., so I could create set lists that fit them. And I asked (and still do) for feedback and input on whatâ€™s working and whatâ€™s not.
Your lead musician or worship leader may indeed be a worship planning artist. Or it could be one of your singers that hardly says a word at rehearsals. You just donâ€™t know. If youâ€™re in a multiple volunteer leader situation, develop a planning team of leaders and musicians to
1) determine a limited repertoire for the current rotation songs (see "What's In Your Play List"),
2) to plan out music for coming weeks. Youâ€™ll likely see the â€śplanning artistsâ€ť emerge. Empower them to make the most of their art:
- Recognize and affirm the gifts/talents that you see in them, both privately and publically.
- Give them more responsibility in worship planning.
- Allow them use their gift freely within defined boundaries that keep them steering towards the vision of the churchâ€™s leadership.
- Work with them to consider the worship leader, singers and band that will be leading/singing/playing the songs they are selecting. Always plan your roster out before you plan your songs. Itâ€™s a must to know voices, ranges, abilities, limitations, etc.
- Look for areas they might be weak â€“ doctrine/theology, understanding of keys, creating segues, etc.â€”and find ways to help them, or help them find the help they need.
I remember the first time I saw a bike with tri-spokes. A cook at the restaurant where I waited tables parked his uber-expensive mountain bike near the walk-in freezer to avoid theft. (He raced downhill â€“ which I thought, geez, thatâ€™s easy. Turns out itâ€™s just a way to die on a ski slope during the off-season. But I digressâ€¦) The worship leadership wheel has three spokes all working towards one central movement. These roles may be played out by different people, or one person may function as two different spokes. Occasionally, you find someone who is talented enough to do all three. But chances are, he or she excels at one role, does well at another, and is merely competent at the third. And in all likelihood, thatâ€™s the role he/she is least passionate about. You can help your worship team leaders and volunteers live out their best by helping them let go of the average.
And when it comes to these three leaders working together, don't forget to look to the ultimate tri-relationship: The three members of the Trinity who serve and exalt each Other.
Like I said in the beginning â€“ like ANY model, this model WONâ€™T work for ANY ministry. Use this tri-leader model as a starting place to discover what worship leadership should look like in your church.
July 18, 2010Tweet
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