3 Powerful (and Easy) Summer Reading Goals

I admit it. I have not always had a love of reading. But it didn’t take long as a young Worship Leader at The Journey for me to recognize my need to read in order to survive in ministry, much less lead a thriving worship team.

I first started in ministry at age 23. I was fresh out of college. I had been a worship leader, but I had never been a Worship Pastor in the church before. I could stand onstage and lead worship, but I couldn’t write a task list, build teams, lead people . . . you get the picture.

It was at that point – aware of my personal and ministry shortcomings, and certain that I needed to make a change – that I developed a love for reading. Read more

The #1 Obstacle to Leading Your Worship Team

Today we wrap up the 3-part series on Leading a Growing Worship Team, and I think today’s topic is one of the most important leadership principles for doing just that.

Two weeks ago we talked about how Personal Growth ALWAYS Precedes Ministry Growth.

Last week I talked to you about the importance of Raising New Leaders to help you carry the load of a growing team.

And here’s #3 . . . Read more

How to Raise New Leaders on your Worship Team

Do you remember the story of Michael that I shared with you last week? He is a fellow worship leader (and a member of my coaching network) who, after leading a round of auditions, recently found himself at the helm of a fast growing worship ministry.

Like many of us would be . . . a new level of leadership is a bit overwhelming, but he’s growing through it and doing a great job.

Have you ever found yourself there . . . under the mounting stress of leading a worship team (regardless of the size) that just felt like it was more than you could handle at the time? I have!

Wherever you are in ministry — whether you lead 20 or 200 people on your worship team — there are leadership principles that can help remove the stress and maximize the gifts and opportunities that a growing worship ministry holds.

We kicked off this 3-part series by talking about how our personal growth ALWAYS precedes our ministry growth last week.

And now here’s leadership principle #2 . . . Read more

Lessons for Leading a Growing Worship Team, Part 1

Every week I receive emails from worship leaders, but I was blown away by this one. Take a look:

“We just had our 2nd round of auditions this past Sunday. Trembling with excitement and fear in response to what’s happening here… Through our most recent auditions process “Journey style”… we have added about 40 new team members. I have been feeling the extra work load of the growth we experienced. Now, I am close to feeling like a deer in the headlights… This boy needs a new set of skills!!! (not to mention, a vacation 🙂 So looking forward to seeing what God is going to do next!”

Have you ever been there before? Overwhelmed by God’s blessing on your ministry and not quite sure of what to do next? Read more

Points of Entry: This Principle Can Grow Your Team this Week!

I know that the title of this article sounds a little far-fetched, but go with me for a moment here. . .

There is one principle that I see missing in almost every church I coach or visit that could radically change the number of volunteers serving on their Worship Team and most of them could incorporate this strategy this week.

But first a little background.

There are two things that most of us either aren’t aware of or refuse to believe when it comes to the growth of our Worship Teams. With your permission I’m going to be a little direct – ha!

#1 – The average person in your church (and mine) doesn’t know that they CAN join the worship team.

I know . . . I know . . . it’s not popular to say that, but it’s true! Most of us don’t do a great job telling the people in our church (regularly) that there are opportunities to serve on the Worship Arts Team. As a result, our teams stay small, the same people serve over and again, and the average person looks at our team and thinks, “Oh – that must be the Worship Team. Guess they have it covered and don’t need me.”

Ready for #2?

#2 – Even if the average person in your church (and mine) knew they could join the Worship Arts Team, they don’t know HOW.

Is there an audition? Should I check a box, visit a table, call the church, stalk the Worship Pastor, mention it in my prayer request?

It’s not clear HOW people can tell you they want to join the team, so (believe it or not) many of them keep to themselves and don’t.

But – it doesn’t have to be that way. And that’s why this principle I want to share with you is so powerful.

It’s the Principle of “Points of Entry”.

A point of entry is the way that a person in your church let’s you know that they are interested in joining your worship team. Having surveyed hundreds of worship leaders in the last five years on this, I’ve found that the average church only has 1-2 of these important points. It’s kind of like fishing though . . . the more hooks you have in the water, the more fish you’ll catch.

Let me give you an example of one point of entry. At The Journey on the back of our Connection Card we have a box that says, “Send me more info about . . . ” and it lists a number of items. Years ago I asked if we could include “Worship Arts Team” in that section. Seems simple enough, but do you know what happens every week?

In New York City, between 5-10 people check that box on their connection card every week. Here at our new location in Boca Raton, between 3-5 check it every week.

Over the course of the year (you’re already doing the math) anywhere between 100 and 250 people will tell us they are interested in learning more about the Worship Arts Team. Simple, but powerful!

Now for full disclosure, not everyone of those will end up joining the team — some people just like checking boxes. But, I can tell you with utmost certainty if that box weren’t there, that we would have a SERIOUS gap in our new Worship Arts Team audition numbers.

We have a dozen or so Points of Entry at The Journey and this past Friday I just finished walking my Coaching Network through each one of them and how to use them to maximize the number of people on their Worship Arts Teams.

If you’re interested in joining us for the next Coaching call click this link to learn how to apply: www.worshipleaderinsights.com/coaching.

This principle can radically increase the number of people who start the process of joining your team.

So here are the questions you need to answer to get started:

#1 – How many Points of Entry do I have at my church?

#2 – What is 1 NEW Point of Entry I could integrate this week? Steal mine from above if you like.

#3 – What are 5 NEW Points of Entry I could integrate in the next 3 months.

I’d love to hear what you come up with and how this little strategy benefits your team, so be sure to email and let me know what you develop and how it goes!

Your partner in ministry,


Your Goal for Easter?

What is the goal for your Worship Arts Team this Easter Sunday?

It’s a bit of a trick question, I know, but just go with me on this.

The truth is there are a lot of goals – quality sound, excellent musicianship, passionate volunteers, not forgetting the lyrics (am I the only one with this goal?) … You get the picture.

These are all good, but I’m asking what’s the BIG GOAL?

We all know the answer. . . Life Transformation.

As much as we want to see all of these other things, and they do go hand-in-hand, the ultimate goal this Easter Sunday for your Worship Arts Team and mine is Life Transformation. People’s lives radically transformed through the power of Jesus’ resurrection.

But how? Read more

Ready for Easter? Read this before you answer!

They say “The Devil is in the Details” and nowhere is that more true than in preparing for your Easter service.

He (the devil) would like nothing better than to minimize the impact of your church this Easter, and one of the simplest ways he does it is through overlooked opportunities and missed details.

As you’ve no doubt heard me say before . . . when it comes to our worship services, the details matter!

Harvey Mackay says, “The little things don’t mean a lot. They mean everything!” And Charles Swindoll says, “The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.”

As worship leaders, part of our role in preparing for Easter (or any worship service for that matter) is to pay attention to the details and don’t allow little things to become big things.

So today, I want to share with you a very personal 7 point check-list. You’ve heard me talk about the power of a check-list in the past. I love check-lists because they help you account for all the details and not miss even the smallest things when it comes to your worship services. Read more

Lessons from “Engage” – How to Make the Pastor / Worship Pastor Relationship Succeed

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I have been teaming up with Nelson Searcy (Lead Pastor at The Journey) this week to bring you 4 BIG worship planning principles from our new book, Engage: A Guide to Creating Life-Transforming Worship Services.

Today’s topic is one that Nelson and I believe is the most important lesson for every pastor and worship pastor . . . The Pastor / Worship Pastor Relationship.This weekend, in churches across America, teaching pastors and worship pastors will each stand in front of rooms full of churchgoers and… take turns doing their own thing.

If the songs the worship pastor has chosen for the day happen to be along the same thematic lines as the message the teaching pastor is preaching, the two pastors will high five after the service and revel in how powerfully the Holy Spirit moved.

If the teaching pastor preaches on something diametrically opposed to the songs the worship pastor leads the congregation in, they will mark it up to God’s indiscernible will and hope for better the next week.

In most cases, these pastors will lock the church doors and head to Sunday lunch having no idea that their relationship with one another is key to being able to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in planning cohesive, impacting worship services.The nature of the pastor/worship pastor relationship is complex, to say the least.

On the one hand, it is the most important relationship that exists on your church staff. Your respective areas comprise the two halves of an important whole. You share the stage, the message and the creative elements of the service. You are both integral to creating a welcoming, engaging environment that will lead to Radically Transformed Lives.

While this relationship is the most critical relationship that exists in the church, it is also the relationship that carries the most potential for tension and stress. Small issues can easily go unaddressed. Misunderstandings fester. Expectations are not always met. Frustrations rise… and the relationship becomes strained.

Over the years, both Nelson and I have had many pastors and worship pastors tell us, “My relationship with my [pastor/worship pastor] may not be great, but we manage. It doesn’t affect what we do on Sundays.”

I hate to shatter your illusion, but relational problems between the pastor and the worship pastor always affect the church’s worship services. If the relationship is wounded, the people in the seats will notice some limping. Good or bad, the details of this relationship play themselves out in our worship planning.

And since effective worship planning is the key to being able to conduct life-transforming worship services, the results can be devastating – on an eternal scale. When the pastor/worship pastor relationship is ineffective, the church misses out on its full redemptive potential.

When miscommunication, confusion, frustration and unmet expectations are chipping away at the base, it is going to suffer some damage. If the base is damaged, the tip isn’t quite so glorious. So if we ever hope to have God-filled, life-transforming worship services week-to-week, we have to get this relationship straightened out, once and for all; we have to work together!


PS – One more thing . . . your relationship with your pastor / worship leader is key to the work of your church. And Pastor to Pastor I want you to know that there is no better place for worship leaders to learn how to make this relationship a success than in my Worship Leader Tele-Coaching Network.

The network begins on Friday, April 20 (just 30 days away). There are still a few spots available, so I encourage you to prayerfully consider this opportunity.

To learn more and sign-up just go to www.worshipleaderinsights.com/coaching.

Lessons from “Engage” – How to Inspire Your Congregation to Action

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What happens in your services is of no use to your people if they don’t walk away with a clear understanding of how to incorporate the teaching and worship into their lives.

That’s why it is so important to begin your worship planning with the end in mind. At The Journey, we do this by asking and prayerfully answering these three questions in the early stages of our planning for each service:

  1. What do we want people to know when they leave?
  2. What do we want people to feel when they leave?
  3. What do we want people to do when they leave?

What do you want people to have learned when you are finished? What do you want them to be feeling? And, most importantly, what action steps do you want them to take to integrate the themes of the service into their lives?

Thinking through the “Know, Feel, Do” as you craft your worship services is the best way to define where you are going and get there more effectively. If you don’t answer these questions in advance, you run the very real risk of wasting both your time and your congregation’s.

Let’s take a look at how the “Know, Feel, Do” plays out in practicality. Say, for example, I was planning a message on generosity. At the outset of my planning, we would start thinking through the “Know, Feel, Do” questions in relation to generosity.

We may decide that the big theme for the day will be: “Your life will ultimately be defined by one of two ‘G’ words – Greed (closed-handed living) or Generosity (open-handed living.)” That’s what we want my people to know.

Then, we want them to feel the power of generosity, so we’ll think through how to invoke that feeling. But, keep in mind, the feeling is only important if it motivates them to take an action. So, ultimately, we are concerned with the “Do.” We want them to be motivated to actually give.

We want them to give of their time through serving or give of their money to our giving campaign or to the needy in our city. We want them to take an action step that connects what they’re hearing with how they live when they step outside the church doors.

Never end a service without giving people specific next steps they can take in response to God’s teaching. Scripture is clear on this point: “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves” (James 1:22).

We don’t have a lack of knowledge in American churches. We don’t even have a lack of experience or feeling. What we have a lack of is action. People simply don’t do what the Bible says they should do.

By asking the “Know, Feel, Do” questions as you plan your worship, you can help your people know what God wants them to know and feel what God wants them to feel, with the ultimate goal of helping them do what God wants them to do. Otherwise, we are only helping them fool themselves.


PS – Are registered for my new Worship Leader Tele-Coaching Network that begins April 20. In the tele-coaching network you will receive monthly hands-on coaching from me, including over four hours of training on how to establish the worship planning systems we talk about in Engage in your church.

Learn more and sign-up at www.worshipleaderinsights.com/coaching.

How to Break the Sunday-to-Sunday Mentality

I’m teaming up with Nelson Searcy (Lead Pastor of The Journey) this month to bring you FOUR BIG worship planning principles from our new book, Engage: A Guide to Creating Life-Transforming Worship Services.  These principles can help you relieve the stress of weekly worship planning and maximize your worship services every Sunday.This series of posts is for BOTH Pastors and Worship Pastors (after all . . . we’re in this together) so be sure to share this with your pastor / worship pastor.  Let’s get started today with what we consider to be the #1 enemy to effective worship planning . . . The Sunday-to Sunday Mentality.

There’s a fine line between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. If you’ve been a teaching or worship pastor long, you know exactly what I mean. You spend all week planning, preparing and praying for your Sunday services and then, when they’re over, you barely have a minute to breathe before it’s time to start planning, preparing and praying for the next week’s services.

Order Engage for yourself and your team.

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Sunday comes along with amazing regularity. Each time it gets here, you are expected to have biblical yet original material prepared for your attenders – something that will resonate with them and send them back into the world better than when they walked through your doors. You can’t preach the same message you preached the week before; you can’t sing the same worship songs. The people sitting in front of you will be hungry for something fresh and new.With the tapestry of this pressure hanging over your shoulders, it’s easy to fall into the trap of a Sunday-to-Sunday mentality. That is, to feel like you are always just trying to get through the next Sunday, then the next Sunday after that, then the next Sunday after that… constantly behind the eight ball and making it up as you go every week. Can you relate?Here’s some good news: You don’t have to live and die by the weekly grind. You can break the week-to-week mentality that sabotages so many well-intentioned teaching and worship pastors. By putting a strong, biblically sound worship planning system in place, you will be able to maximize not only this Sunday, but every single “next Sunday” to come.

The key to getting out of the tailspin and cooperating with God to do church at a higher level can be summed up in one word: planning.Over the course of the new few weeks, we’re going to talk a lot about worship planning. But unless you decide to break the Sunday-to-Sunday mentality, you will never be able to plan your worship services effectively in advance.  Sure you may get excited about some of the ideas, try them and even see some immediate success.  But without a change in mindset, new excitement soon returns to old habit.

So as we start this series of posts on worship planning, here’s what I want you to do.  Pray and ask God to give you His insight into planning.  Break the cycle of Sunday-to-Sunday thinking and start asking right now, “What can we do to communicate the timeless truths of God’s word to our church next Sunday?”


PS – The best way to break the Sunday-to-Sunday mentality is to join my new Worship Leader Tele-Coaching Network starting March 16.  In the tele-coaching network you will receive monthly hands-on coaching directly from me, including over four hours of training on how to establish the worship planning systems we talk about in Engage in your church.

Learn more and sign-up at www.worshipleaderinsights.com/coaching.