Why Your Worship Team Members Lack Commitment

If I were to ask 100 worship leaders what lack of commitment looked like, I’d likely get a big overlap:

  • Failing to practice.
  • Showing up late for rehearsals & soundcheck.
  • Coming in unprepared to rehearsal – charts not printed or pulled, songs not learned.
  • Refusal of certain issues – i.e. vocalist refusing to give up her music stand. Not memorizing music or even use the stage display/confidence monitor.
  • Failing to show up at rehearsals.
  • Calling off at the last minute. Even no-showing for services.
  • Not participating in special team meetings and events.

Some of you in larger churches would automatically terminate someone for a few of these offenses. In smaller churches, where the pool of eligible musicians & techs is a mere puddle, you often tolerate this behavior week after week. You feel there’s no other option.

This post isn’t going to talk about dealing with this behavior. Although, it needs to be dealt with. But these behaviors are a symptoms of other problems. So I want to look why. Why are certain team members showing a lack of commitment.

There are two external reasons I’ll touch on before getting to what I believe is the main reason.

Life Events

If a team members who was once committed starts showing some of these behaviors, it’s likely the result of something happening in their life. Financial issues, dealing with an aging parent, troubled marriage, trouble on the job, a sick kid, their own health (physical or emotional), etc.

Sometimes it could even be just season of life. As a parent of 4 children ages seven and under (and two under 17 months), I know that this could cause a few of the above “lack of commitment” issues to occur.

Unclear Expectations

If a leader isn’t crystal clear on expectations, team members will often think their behavior is in the acceptable bounds of the ministry. If a leader allows the behavior continue, he or she is essentially saying it IS acceptable behavior.

The Big One

If there’s not an underlying life event, or the leadership is crystal clear on expectations, then there’s only one reason left.

The team member hasn’t bought in.

Let me give you an example. This past Sunday, we just had our first service in our new building. The sound was incredible. There were a few reasons why.

One, we spent money on a great company to install great system. (And by the way, they worked within our budget and made every penny count. If you’re looking for an upgrade or new build, drop me note and I’ll tell you about Kent Morris and Cornerstone Media.)

Another reason the sound was so good – it was almost all pure house sound. I worked really hard to create a quiet stage. No wedges, no onstage amps, and a fully enclosed drum shield (with the drums mic’d).

I began prepping my team for a quiet stage months before we were in – and not just telling them what, but why. Why a full drum shield. Why no amps. Why in-ears. And I even told them the negatives about in-ears, et al.

My team is onboard. Some of them still don’t love the in-ears, or the fact that they can’t have their amp onstage, but they’ve bought in and are willing to go along with it.

But what if over the next weeks and months, one of my singers continually complains about the in-ears.

Sometimes it’s subtle: “I sure miss the floor monitors.”

Sometimes overt, “I hate wearing these things.”

And sometimes even subversive as she talks to other team members: “Don’t you wish we could go back to ‘real’ monitors. Seriously, it can’t be that big a deal if us singers use wedges.”

The reason – she didn’t buy in to the decision. The result: lack of commitment and ambiguous behavior.

You can also see the two previous dysfunctions at work here. She didn’t trust enough to engage in productive conflict over the in-ears. Instead of pushing back directly, she complained and undermined.

And in time, her lack of commitment will spill out to the two other dysfunctions, which we’ll talk about later.

But for now, let me ask you this:
In what ways have you seen lack of commitment on your team? Can you trace that back to the uncommitted team member not buying in to the overall mission of the team or a even a single decision?

Jon Nicol