September may not be the start of the calendar year but for most churches and most worship leaders it is the start of the new ministry year. Summer break is over, people are back from travelling, kids have returned to school and ministry activity is picking up again.
As a worship leader, what are the new opportunities before you this year that you need to prioritize now?
If you think forward to a year from now what are some of the things you’d like to improve on in your leadership?
September is sort of a worship leader’s January so you have the opportunity now to focus on the year ahead and get some of these priorities on the calendar.
Let me give you three suggestions of how a new ministry year can create new opportunities:
1. Get important dates on your calendar today
I’ve written before about the importance of a blocked calendar and how it’s helped me in my leadership. There are some similar principles when it comes to prioritizing dates on the calendar at the start of the year.
Before you realize it’s November here are some events you should have on your calendar now:
- Auditions – if you don’t have regular auditions for your worship team, this is a great year to start. Even if you get auditions scheduled once in the fall, once in the spring you will be off to a great start. I’ve put together an auditions ebook to teach you more about the system I’ve developed for auditions to grow your worship team.
- Christmas and Easter prep – one of the most beneficial conversations you can have with your pastor is around these two major events. Invite your pastor (and whoever else might need to be there) to a half day meeting to talk about Christmas and Easter. The potential impact of these two dates on your calendar to reach your community for Christ can’t be understated and you can be prioritizing those days now as you look to the year ahead. Christmas planning can easily happen in September, Easter planning in January.
- Personal time away – whether it’s vacation or your church has opportunities for days away or even sabbatical, get those on your calendar now and make them a priority. Yes the work you do is important. Yes the role you play in your church is important. But if you aren’t rested and energized to do that work to the best of your ability you are hurting yourself and hurting your church. Get vacation and personal time on your calendar at the start of the year so you have the opportunity to work from rest instead of resting from work.
2. Decide what you can improve by 2%
Have you ever had the idea that you’d love something to be 100% better? Have you ever worked with a pastor who really encouraged you to make significant improvements?
Nobody can make 100% improvements overnight and if that’s what you’re feeling from your boss you need to have a conversation about exepectations.
But.. what about 2% improvement? Do you think you could make a 2% improvement in part of your worship service? Think of all the elements of your worship service and how they could be improved: rehearsal, call to worship, transitions, song selections, band communication, on and on and on. The list is endless.
What if you chose one element of your worship service where you could make a 2% improvement this week and focus on that? And then next week, something different with a 2% improvement. And then another 2% improvement. And then another.
Before you know it you’ll have invested 52 weeks in improving your worship service by 2% each week and you may be on your way to see an overall improvement of 100% in what you do. Not possible overnight, but focus on small changes over a long trajectory and see what is possible!
3. Focus on multiplication instead of addition
So often I’ll talk with worship leaders who tell me they need to add X number of musicians, add X amount to their budget, add X worship leaders to their rotation. Almost every conversation in those situations is a leadership issue, not a resource issue.
Not having what you think you need to succeed in your job is usually a leadership issue and not a resource issue.
And I’m not talking about the leader above you, I’m talking about you.
The difference in looking to add rather than multiply is often the death of worship leaders. The decision to invest leadership resources into people who can multiply themselves into other people is one that will change the trajectory of your ministry and of your church.
Who are the key musicians who can invest in the other musicians on the same instrument? Focus on those people and empower them to multiply themselves into the rest of the team.
Who is the one worship leader who can carry part of your role and is able to apprentice one other leader? Commit to spending time with that person this year and pray together for one other leader to be raised up and apprenticed by the time the year is over.
Who are the people who would love to serve you and your church through the work that you hate to do? Invest in the relationship to make sure that clarity and trust are high and then delegate the work to the person who will do it better than you ever will!
Don’t miss the opportunity at the start of a ministry year to look for ways to maximize your effectiveness as a worship leader. Your trajectory this year will impact – either positively or negatively! – your worship ministry and your church.