How To (Really) Convince Your Team Members To Practice

No one joins the worship ministry with this attitude: “I’d like to serve Jesus by burying my head in a music stand.” 

More than likely, your team members love Jesus, love people, and love music. And it’s also likely that they truly want to worship God and serve people with their musical gifts. But they can’t do that if they’re “spooning” a music stand.

I’ve written plenty of past articles and posts about getting your team to practice. Much of it was about practical aspects of HOW to change them. But as a leader, you know you need more than tips and tricks to get your team to change.

One of the ways you can motivate your team to make personal practice a higher priority is to tell them WHY. People want to know WHY IT MATTERS before they make an effort to change.

So let’s dig into why practice matters. But before we do, I need to make this clear: preparation isn’t the end goal—it’s the means to an end.

Our ultimate goal is this: We want to worship God freely and authentically, and encourage the congregation to worship God. 

So, to help your team change their behavior that will lead to this end goal, we need to start with WHY. And here are three big reasons why practice matters.  

1. Scripture Sets A Precedent For Preparation

Our basis for everything we do needs to have its foundation in scripture. Here are three biblical precedents for preparation that you can point your team to:

Biblical Precedent #1: A Call For Skillful Musicianship

Psalm 33:3 calls us to “play skillfully.”

1 Chronicles 15:22 tells us that the head Levite put in charge of singing got his job because “he was skillful at it.” 

And later in 1 Chronicles, we see a clearly that the temple musicians were “trained and skilled. There was a culture of musicians investing in their craft so they could become skilled.

The Bible calls for musicians to be skilled. Why? Because we can’t lead well what we don’t know well.

If your team members are called to the worship ministry, they’re called to be skilled. And skill requires preparation.

Biblical Precedent #2: Preparation Is An Act of Worship

With the right heart attitude, our personal practice time can be a sacrifice of time, talent, and energy that we give in worship to God. Think about it: if you sing or play an instrument, that’s actually offering your physical body to him.

Practicing can be an aspect of the living sacrifice talked about in Romans 12:1. 

Biblical Precedent #3: Preparation Helps Us To Provide Excellence and Beauty

In Philippians 4, Paul encourages us to dwell on things that are beautiful, lovely, excellent, and so on. I believe one of the reasons Paul writes this is because experiencing beauty and excellence draws people to the ultimate Creator of those things.

If we create beautiful and excellent music, it stirs hearts and helps draw people to God. But we have to prepare to create that kind of beauty and excellence.

So that’s the some of the Biblical precedents for preparing. The next reason why practice matters is a practical issue.

2. Confidence & Freedom In Worship

Consider this:

  • Preparation gives us confidence. 
  • Confidence brings us more freedom in worship.
  • More freedom in worship means that we can better lead and engage the congregation.

And all of that equals a better experience for everyone. Our preparation helps create an environment that encourages all of us to worship.

And the next reason we should practice is one we forget too often.

3. It’s Just More Fun

When you know the music, it’s more fun. Singing and playing (and even mixing) are way more enjoyable when you don’t have to think about all the mechanics of chords and lyrics and form and dynamics of a song.

You just know it.

So as you’re working with your team, talk about these reasons WHY practice matters. And to help you even more here’s an easy-to-share version of this article written to and for your team members. Share it with them, or better yet, read and discuss it as a team devotional. 

Download the “team member version” of this article. (No opt-in required.)

 A version of this article was originally published in Worship Musician Magazine.

Jon Nicol