Worship Blog

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Why Lateness Hurts Your Team (More Than You Think)

Why Lateness Hurts Your Team (More Than You Think)

By Jon Nicol   |  February 12, 2018

BAD:
It’s the beginning of rehearsal, the band and vocalists are ready to go and—“Whoa! Wait, where’s _________?”

Whichever person it is—drummer, guitarist, sound tech, alto—it doesn’t matter. The team isn't ready. That’s bad. But it could be worse.

WORSE:
You scan the platform at the start of rehearsal only to find half the team NOT there, and the other half are still setting up. But it gets worse than this.

WORST:
You, the leader, fly in late and attempt to jumpstart a rehearsal to make up for lost time. Unfortunately, you find the team is following your lead. (See the “Worse” scenario.)

Late.

Tardy.

Unpunctual.

Not prompt.

Whatever we call it, it’s hurting our worship teams more than we think. So we’re going to look at eight ways that lateness is damaging our ministries. Then, we’ll dig in to few practical steps that leaders can do to change this culture-corroding issue.

Average Musicians, Amazing Results...How?

Average Musicians, Amazing Results...How?

By Jon Nicol   |  January 30, 2018

Relying on the Rockstar

Ever had a super-talented musician come along that kicked up your worship team’s sound several notches?

  • Maybe it was a drummer who brought a newfound drive and energy to your sound.
  • Or a keyboard player who could (tastefully) fill and improvise.
  • Or a bass player who could lay a foundation like you never had before.
  • Or a guitar player that could actually play the riffs from the recording.

Admit it—secretly, you wanted to schedule him or her EVERY week. I know I did.

Is Your Worship Team The Most Immature Ministry In Your Church?

Is Your Worship Team The Most Immature Ministry In Your Church?

By Jon Nicol   |  October 10, 2017

In too many churches, the worship team is the most spiritually immature ministry.

That sounds harsh, I know.

But think about the two-fold purpose of the worship ministry: To worship God and to help others worship God.

Now think about some of the issues that can plague the typical worship team:

028: Authority Issues Might Be Killing Your Ministry

028: Authority Issues Might Be Killing Your Ministry

By Jon Nicol   |  August 8, 2017

Developing Your Worship Team, Part 3

Submission to authority is NOT a fun topic. But if you want a healthy worship ministry—you’ve got to deal with this issue head on. Because if you have team members who won’t submit to your authority or the church’s authority, your ministry will suffer.  

In this training today, we are diving into the first 2 lessons from the Worship Workshop class, Healthy 201: Understanding Authority, Submission, Conflict And Confrontation.

027: Developing Your Worship Team, Part 2

027: Developing Your Worship Team, Part 2

By Jon Nicol   |  July 28, 2017

How To Be An Effective Lead Worshiper

Do your team members REALLY know how to fulfill their role as lead worshiper on the platform? And do they know how to prepare for that? And do you techs know that they ALSO play a role as lead worshipers.

This episode is going to give you some practical training to help develop your team members as lead worshipers.

025: The Vocalist Episode with Gateway Worship Leaders Anna Byrd and Jill Brewer

025: The Vocalist Episode with Gateway Worship Leaders Anna Byrd and Jill Brewer

By Jon Nicol   |  June 2, 2017

 

Download the Episode

Click here to download.

 

Episode Notes:

In this episode we interview Gateway vocalists/worship leaders Jill Brewer and Anna Byrd. We get into topics like:

- pop vocal technique
- lead vocal teams
- vocal health
- fears and insecurities vocalists face
- Star Wars (yes, Star Wars)

 

About Jill Brewer:
Jill and her husband, Robb, both serve on staff at Gateway church. Robb is an Executive Pastor at the Southlake Campus, and Jill is the Associate Director in Worship Development over vocal development.

They have 4 kids ranging from 21-14 years old, and all 4 kids are involved in worship teams across the different Gateway campuses.

While studying Music Education at Texas Christian University, Jill started teaching voice and piano privately, and has now been doing so for 25 years. The last 8 years or so have been devoted to learning and teaching the Pop-Style vocal technique that she learned while studying with Brian Schexnayder. This technique is what all of Gateways vocalists are using, and what is also being taught in Gateway’s Worship Team Academy, a training ground for developing the next generation of worshippers.

Connect with Jill at jill.a.brewer [at] gmail [dot] com

About Anna
Anna Byrd is a singer/songwriter and Worship Leader at Gateway Church. You can learn more about her at annabyrdmusic.com

Twitter: @annabyrd
Instagram: @annabyrdmusic

 

Gateway Vocal Charts

Download the Gateway Vocal Chart samples that Jill talked about. 

 

[Video] How To Serve Your Team With Great Charts

[Video] How To Serve Your Team With Great Charts

By Brendan Prout   |  May 25, 2017

Want to make killer charts? Here's how...

Why Discontentment Will Ruin Your Ministry and Your Family

Why Discontentment Will Ruin Your Ministry and Your Family

By Jon Nicol   |  March 10, 2017

Today’s interview is with Mike Harland of LifeWay Worship. We discuss the crucial topic of discontentment. It’s a slippery slope that will lead to the ruin of both your ministry and your family.

What Does a Healthy Worship Team Member (Really) Look Like? Part 3

What Does a Healthy Worship Team Member (Really) Look Like? Part 3

By Jon Nicol   |  February 28, 2017

PART 1  |   PART 2  |  PART 3

So if you haven’t read parts 1 and 2 of this series, you’ll want to do that to have context for this post. We’re talking about what it takes to be a healthy team member. And we’re looking at it from the perspective of the different ways they should be engaging.

Up to this point, we’ve looked at ways team members engage with others: God, leaders, other team members, the congregation they’re leading, and their overall connection with your church.

The final two of the seven ways to engage are NOT about engaging with people. But they’re crucial areas team members need to connect, commit and engage.

023: Diminish The Drama: How To Breath Life Into Difficult Situations On Your Team

023: Diminish The Drama: How To Breath Life Into Difficult Situations On Your Team

By Jon Nicol   |  February 22, 2017

Today’s main training comes from our Director of Coaching, Jerimae Yoder. Besides being a full-time worship leader, Jerimae is an accomplished coach. He gives us some amazing insight on how to deal with tough situations that, frankly, would be easy for us blow up and make worse.

What Does A Healthy Worship Team Member (Really) Look Like? Part 2

What Does A Healthy Worship Team Member (Really) Look Like? Part 2

By Jon Nicol   |  February 20, 2017

PART 1  |  PART 2  | PART 3

So if you haven’t read part 1, you’ll definitely want to jump over there and read that first.

So first, your team members need to be engaged with God. They don’t need to be spiritual giants, and they definitely don’t need to be perfect, but they do need to be in process. That is, they’re actively pursuing a relationship with Jesus.

And then your team members need to be engaging with you, the leader. There’s a respect and a healthy submission that needs to take place. Also, we talked about how you as a leader need to invite and embrace healthy, ideological conflict.

We’re going to have differences and issues with each other. So let’s talk about them openly and in a healthy way.

And not only do your team members need to engage with you in a healthy way, but they also need to engage with each other. And that’s the third way team members needs to engage:

What Does A Healthy Worship Team Member (Really) Look Like?

What Does A Healthy Worship Team Member (Really) Look Like?

By Jon Nicol   |  February 17, 2017

PART 1  |  PART 2  | PART 3

Do you have some worship team members who are…

Uncommitted to your worship ministry?

Unprepared with their music?

Unspiritual—that is, they just don’t seem to deep?

Unconcerned for other team members?

Unconnected with your church?

Unreceptive to your leadership?

Unavailable when you need them?

Unresponsive to your scheduling requests?

Un-on-time…all the time?

Now, you might have one or two team members who fall in every category. (They’re called “complete-slackers-that-my-predecessor-invited-on-the-team-and-now-I-can’t-get-rid-of-them.”)

But likely, you have a lot of team members who display a just few these unhealthy traits. But even the presence of a couple of those unhealthy traits makes them a less-than-productive team member. And putting a few of them together makes for an unhealthy team.

FREE Course: 10 Ways To Absolutely Destroy Your Worship Team

FREE Course: 10 Ways To Absolutely Destroy Your Worship Team

By Jon Nicol   |  February 6, 2017

Dear Awesome Worship Leader,

Thanks for your interest in our new online course, 10 Steps To Dismantle Your Worship Team Before You Move on To A Larger Church That Pays More.

Below is a description of each of the ten training modules. We believe this coaching course will benefit you as you work to demoralize your team at ___________ Church (insert whatever trendy metaphor your church has chosen to be known by).

 

Module 1: How To Guilt People Into Practicing More
In this session, you’ll learn to say spiritual-sounding things like, "You know, Jesus died on the cross for you. Don’t you think you can practice a little for him?”

It’s a powerful motivation, and it helps people embrace that wonderful theology of salvation-by-works.

How To Tell Someone

How To Tell Someone "NO" In The Audition Process (And Why You NEED To)

By Jon Nicol   |  January 19, 2017

No
There aren't too many words in the English language that rival this word for brevity, and few rival it in power.

No can be heart-crushing, but also life-liberating. It can save you from immense pain, or start you down a path of destruction.

It all depends on what you’re saying no to.

As a leader of a worship ministry, it’s a word you have to get comfortable with.

How to Love Your Worship Songs (Even If You Hate Them)

How to Love Your Worship Songs (Even If You Hate Them)

By Jon Nicol   |  January 5, 2017

Every few months, I hear this from a worship team member:

“Omigosh—we’re doing this song again!?” Yes. Yes, we are.

I have to regularly remind my team (and myself) of this truth: When we start getting sick of a song, that’s just about the time the congregation is catching on. Between personal practice, rehearsals, soundchecks and multiple services, we sing and play these songs 10 - 20x more often than the average Joe or Jane in our congregations.

So that puts us in a predicament: We can continually introduce new songs to keep things fresh for us on the worship team. Or, we can stick with the same rotation of songs week after week and month after month (year after year), so the congregation knows them well.

10 Mistakes Leaders Make Trying To Get Their Team To Practice

10 Mistakes Leaders Make Trying To Get Their Team To Practice

By Jon Nicol   |  October 11, 2016

Does this sound familiar?

Several of your team members show up to rehearsal unprepared.

So what happens to that rehearsal? Most of the time is spent figuring the basics of the song—the form, the individual parts, starts and stops, who’s playing, and so on.

So then, during your Sunday morning warm-up and soundcheck, you’re still working out certain parts of the song. AND you have yet to have a full run-through of all of the songs, let alone practice any of the transitions between the tunes.

So you muddle through the first service. And then, finally, in your second service, things start clicking and feeling a little bit better.

And as you walk off the platform after the second service music set, one of your players inevitably says, "Gosh, it’d be nice to play that set one more time; it was really starting to come together."

Besides your sudden urge to punch that player in the forehead, what’s the problem with that picture?

What’s The Difference Between Practice And Rehearsal? 6 Things Your Team Should Know

What’s The Difference Between Practice And Rehearsal? 6 Things Your Team Should Know

By Jon Nicol   |  September 8, 2016

Several ago I had an epiphany of sorts. I thought, "What would happen if my team (including me) showed up to rehearsal with their songs actually learned?" (I know, profound, right?)

Not long before that, I had inherited a worship team that had gone a year without a main leader. It had deteriorated to pitifully low expectations: "Please just show up sometime Sunday morning."

After a while, I succeeded in raising expectations about rehearsal (like, let’s actually have one). We even got to the point where people were showing up. But it was still a hot mess.

Enter the epiphany (of sorts).

So I set out on a crusade to get my team to prepare BEFORE rehearsal. I’ve chronicled that in more detail in other places, so I won’t go into it deeply here. But I will tell you one of my tactics:

I differentiated between practice and rehearsal.

In fact, I even came up with a mantra to help us with this:

Being Present In The Moment

Being Present In The Moment

By Jon Nicol   |  September 2, 2016

Leslie Jordan Talks About The Journey of Poets & Saints

Leslie Jordan talks about the new All Sons & Daughters album, Poets & Saints. It was birthed by trek across Europe exploring historical figures whose lives and work still influence us today.

And by the way, it's an incredible album. You can read a review of it here.

[Album Review] Poets and Saints by All Sons & Daughters

[Album Review] Poets and Saints by All Sons & Daughters

By Andrea Hamilton Binley   |  September 1, 2016

On September 2, All Sons and Daughters will release their fourth album, Poets and Saints. This special record is a journey into the lives and stories of Christ-followers that God used to wake up the world: like C. S. Lewis, John Newton, Saint Therese, Saint Francis, George MacDonald, and others.

They joined up with their pastor, author and speaker Jamie George, and traveled to Europe with a film crew to create an interactive worship experience inspired by ten famous Christian’s lives.

Loving God, Loving Your Church And How Songwriting Fits Into That

Loving God, Loving Your Church And How Songwriting Fits Into That

By Jon Nicol   |  August 12, 2016

An Interview With Andrew Marcus

In this interview with Andrew Marcus, we talk about his new album, Constant, the journey to get there, and a whole bunch of other stuff. (Like, how to blame Paul Baloche when a song flops.)

Housefires III Album Review

Housefires III Album Review

By Dusty Wallace   |  August 8, 2016

HOUSEFIRES III releases later this week on August 12. Here's Dusty Wallace's take on it:

First Impressions

Just like their bio states, the overall feel is “underproduced,” but that by no means infers a lack of musicality or tightness amongst the band.

The beauty of this album for use in the church is the fact that musically, it is both accessible to the congregation and attainable to the worship team.

The sonic structure is warm and welcoming. There are no crazy diva-vocal-fills or dudes singing in a mezzo-soprano range. HOUSEFIRES demonstrates that their mission is to engage in moments with God, not to create some over-produced experience with lasers or fog machines.

3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Leading

3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Leading

By Andrea Hamilton Binley   |  July 20, 2016

This year is the first year that I have been a worship leader for over half of my life. Each life experience has taught me a lot, on and off stage, and as I think about all of the leaders God is raising up in the next generation, I have three words of advice I would give to the former me if I could.

1. Don’t forget the “quiet wheels.”

Maybe you’re familiar with the tension of the squeaky wheels versus the quiet wheels. (The squeaky ones get the grease—that is, most of the attention)

I define the tension like this: the quiet wheels are your key, reliable volunteers. They show up on time and don’t get offended very often. They help your weekend services happen, and they don’t need a ton of acknowledgment of their awesomeness.

The squeaky wheels, however, often have last minute interruptions to their serving schedule, don’t get along with some of the other teammates, and often want to have conversations about negative things they see in the ranks.

[Video Blog] What It Takes to Change Your Team

[Video Blog] What It Takes to Change Your Team

By Jon Nicol   |  July 12, 2016

What would you like to change about your worship team?

  • Maybe they don't practice enough.
  • Or they stare at the music stands the whole time.
  • Are there attitude issues you're dealing with?
  • Maybe you need more musicians.
  • Or you need the ones you have to step up their game a little.
  • Or maybe it's not your team that needs the most work, but your congregation—if you could only get them to sing and engage more.

Here's the thing, leading your church and worship team through change would be super easy...

How Do We Become More Honest In Worship?

How Do We Become More Honest In Worship?

By Jon Nicol   |  June 27, 2016

Giving voice to where your congregation is really at...

Expectation & The Hardened Heart of The Worshipper

Expectation & The Hardened Heart of The Worshipper

By Dusty Wallace   |  June 16, 2016

Perspective
Being an Ohio native, many summers in my childhood included at least one trip to Cedar Point, the theme park in Sandusky on Lake Erie.

I remember when I wasn't quite tall enough to ride the "big kid" rides. Of course, when you're just shy of that threshold height, there's going to be a few tears when you see your older sibling hopping in line for a ride that you just missed the cut for.

In those moments, everything is HUGE. Walking up to the college kid in the bright polo holding the measuring stick, the measuring stick seems huge. Everyone in line towers over you. Dwarfing them all in the distance, the first monstrous drop of the roller coaster hill.

Six Sound-Related Terms That You Might Be Messing Up

Six Sound-Related Terms That You Might Be Messing Up

By Dusty Wallace   |  May 27, 2016

I Don't Think That Means What You Think It Means

You ever feel like your audio engineer has no idea what you’re talking about? Chances are, your audio engineer feels the same about you from time to time. That happens a lot when we mix-up definitions of often-used audio terms. It’s pretty inconceivable. (Yes…I had to make the Princess Bride joke. You’re welcome.)

Here are six terms (grouped in sets) that we get crisscrossed:

Practice By Numbers: Setting Clear Expectations For Your Worship Team

Practice By Numbers: Setting Clear Expectations For Your Worship Team

By Jon Nicol   |  May 13, 2016

How does this song go again?

Do you hate that question during rehearsal as much as I do?

You planned the setlist three weeks ago. You uploaded the charts and mp3s to the worship planning app. You wrote out the band and vocal notes outlining who plays what where. And you’ve said time and again, “Show up prepared for rehearsal.”

And then at rehearsal someone asks: “How does this song go again?” 

He might not ask it audibly, but he doesn’t need to. The look in his eyes as he fright-reads the chart tells it all: he didn’t practice.

One of the most important leadership lessons I learned a while back is this: culture trumps everything. The culture of your worship team determines their behavior. I realized I had a culture that didn’t value preparation. So, I set out to change it.

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