3 Worship Ministry Fundamentals You Can’t Afford to Ignore

It’s the first night of practice for my daughter’s basketball team.

Among the nonstop bouncing of basketballs and the laughs of 3rd and 4th grade girls I’m reminded of one of the most important principles for any worship leader, Pastor or musician heading into the start of the New Year.

Do you remember when you first learned your instrument?

My guitar teacher spent time those first weeks teaching me how to hold a pick, how to count, how to take care of my instrument and more.

Like me, you probably learned scales. You practiced and practiced and practiced. It was exciting because it was new.

But the longer we play, sing, Pastor, and lead worship the more we tend to think, “I got this.” And the more we think that we don’t need to keep returning to the fundamentals of ministry that we learned so long ago.

The key to becoming a better worship leader tomorrow is working on the fundamentals today.

As we approach Christmas and the start of a New Year, here are three fundamentals worth reviewing in your ministry:

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Why your church doesn’t sing… and what you can do to fix it (Part 4)

I admit it… I may be the most un-hip worship leader on the planet.

This became immediately clear when I stopped by a local high school recently and I saw up-close what pop-culture looks like. If that’s hip, then I’m not!

Hip is a hot topic in worship circles these days and must of the new music coming out for churches reflects it. Worship Leaders are wrestling with the question of whether certain styles of music for congregational worship are just keeping with the times, or creating a culture of congregational onlookers and worship team performers?

Recently I kicked off this new series about what has become one of the major issues facing worship leaders and churches today: the decline of congregational singing.

Let’s face it… more and more congregations are singing “less and less”.

This new series is about identifying what’s keep YOUR congregation from singing and helping you remove the roadblocks to genuine worship engagement in your services. We’ve already talked about music being to high and too hard. And today we’re going to look at the third reason your congregation isn’t singing…


Recently in the Worship Leader Gold Network Monthly Leadership and Strategy Call I talked about this topic of congregational singing and taught 7 important lessons from John Wesley for how to encourage your congregation to sing.

Gain access to that Leadership Session and instantly receive $813.20 in FREE Bonus resources when you join Worship Leader Gold TODAY! Plus, receive additional coaching sessions, dozens of Ministry and Leadership Book summaries, and much, much more in your personalized Worship Leader Gold Hub. I’ve put the complete details in the PS below, so keep reading to learn more!

REASON #3: THE MUSIC IS TOO HIP I grew up in the 80’s, so that puts me on the back side of thirty-something. I’m married with two kids who roll their eyes at my jokes. I have a full-time job, a yard to mow and a shaven head by necessity rather than stylistic choice.

And while I am a musician, and desperately trying to hold on to some of the “cool” I think I once had, I find more and more that I’ve become… normal. And guess what… so are most of the people in my congregation. I would venture to say that’s the case for most worship leaders. There’s nothing wrong with being hip… I wish I was more hip.
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What You Can (and Can’t) Do to Help Your Team Members Grow

Summer can be a dangerous time for spiritual growth! 

Summer brings with it a tendency to glide, to take it easy and not work too hard at anything. Unfortunately – that can be true for the spiritual growth of our worship team members as well. 

As worship leaders the spiritual care of our worship teams is central to our calling, and to the health of our worship team members.

Let’s face it . . . We all want to see the members of our team walking closely with God, making wise decisions at all times, never falling into sin, and overall just being 100% holy in all they do this summer. 

Want? Yes.  Possible? Of course not!

I can’t do that, you can’t do that, and neither can our team members. 

Sometimes as Worship Pastors, however, we live with a burden of guilt because we feel those expectations should be met and it’s up to us to make our team members meet them. 

Let me share with you one of the most powerful secrets of Spiritual Growth. 

Ready? You can’t force anyone to grow spiritually.  It’s true.  By God’s design it’s up to each person to decide to grow. 

So take that weight off your shoulders and let’s talk about what we can do to help your team grow spiritually this summer.

Here’s my Top 3: 

#1 – Demonstrate your own pursuit of God.  Just as Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ”, your team needs an example of what it means to grow spiritually.  They need you to lead in this area. So – let your team in on what God is doing in your life this summer.  Share with them your Bible study plan and what books you’re reading.  Remember, we don’t reproduce what we want; we reproduce what we are. 

#2 – Teach spiritual disciplines.  At The Journey I take time to teach on expectations for spiritual formation to our team as a whole twice a year in our New Season Kickoff.  But that’s hardly enough.  Look for opportunities (especially this summer) to invest in their spiritual growth. Send an article for your team to read.  Raise the value backstage on Sunday. During one-on-one’s ask how things are going in their spiritual life.  Look for ongoing ways to challenge them. 

#3 – Ensure they sign up for a Small Group Bible Study.  This is one of the expectations of serving on our Worship Arts Team at The Journey.  I know I can’t personally mentor the spiritual lives of everyone on our team, so by making sure they are in a Small Group Bible study I know that they are making their spiritual lives a priority.

BONUS – Ensure they are attending services, even on the Sunday’s they aren’t serving.  And make sure that they don’t just hang out backstage, but that they hear the message on Sundays when they are serving. Remind them — “God doesn’t just want to work through you.  He wants to work in you!”

There are a lot of things you can’t do to make your worship team grow spiritually.  But by working on these areas, you can create an environment for growth, and inspire your team to deepen their commitment to Christ this summer.

Your partner in ministry,


PS – What is your plan for growth this summer? Register for the new Worship Leader Gold membership network, let me serve as your coach this Summer, and receive your FIRST MONTH FREE as a reader of the WLI Blog. Just go here to learn more and register today (LIMITED TIME ONLY):  https://nelsonsearcy.infusionsoft.com/app/storeFront/showProductDetail?productId=2129

How to Beat the Summer Slump

A worship leader told me once that the summer was the worst time of year for him and his team to grow. He explained that because of this, he took it easy during the summer, didn’t challenge his team (or himself) to grow and just coasted through until fall arrived.

He called it the “Summer Slump”.

What I told him next was hard for him to swallow, but absolutely true.

Because he “took the summer off” from focusing on the growth and health of his team, he stumbled into the fall with the same team, the same challenges, and unfortunately, a full 25% of the year wasted!

A “Summer Slump” indeed. Read more

A Dangerous Trend for Worship Leaders

Have you ever met a “squatter”?

If you’ve ever lived in New York City (where I spent nearly a decade of ministry), or any other urban area you’re familiar with the term.
A squatter is a person who occupies an abandoned building (that they don’t own or rent), lives there and refuses to leave. They hunker down, and even though the promise of something better could improve their life situation, they choose to stay right where they are.  Content that they no longer live on the street, they don’t look for anything more in life.
(Believe it or not this has A LOT to do with you… so stay with me for a moment!). Read more

Startling Statistics

Have you heard this startling statistic?

33% of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.

And what’s worse . . . 42% of college graduates never read another book!

Incredible isn’t it!  (By the way, the fact that you’re reading this means that you’re far above average – way to go!).

Whether it’s our “entertainment over enlightenment” culture, or just that people think they have it all figured out, somehow as we grow older, we grow less and less teachable. Not a good trait in life, and certainly not a good trait for Worship Leaders.

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The “One Hour Early” Principle – Time Management for Pastors and Worship Leaders

What would you do with an extra hour today?  

That’s the question I posed last week as we began this 3-part series on how to best manage your time as a pastor and worship leader.

If you think about it, an extra hour today is the difference between…
…Going home at rest or going home stressed.

…Making it to your daughter’s basketball game, or making another excuse for why you couldn’t get away.

…Enjoying the work of ministry, or succumbing to the pressure of ministry.
An extra hour can make a BIG difference… wouldn’t you agree? Read more

What would you do with an extra hour this week?

What would you do with an extra hour today?  

That’s a question that should captivate every pastor and worship leader.  

If you could wave a magic wand and get all of the items on your list done giving you an extra hour to invest however you like… what would you do with it?

OK – back to reality and let’s be honest… most pastors and worship leaders find their lives and their ministries stretched with more than can possibly be accomplished in a week (much less a day).  With the demands of work during the day, and then rehearsals, meetings and your kid’s basketball practice at night, we face our everyday lives with very little margin.  (And if something new gets added or goes wrong… well, we know where that lands us.)

But “what if…?”  What if you could get everything done in less time and discover you have an extra hour in your day? Read more

Who’s in YOUR Circle? (3 Actions of Growing Worship Leaders, Part 2)

Welcome to this special “Thursday edition” of our weekly training newsletter!  Today we continue the 3-part series we began last week with a question:

Who’s in your circle?

I’m not talking about your Google+ account. This question cuts a little deeper than that 🙂

I’m talking about the 5 or so people that are the most influential people in your life. They are the people that are currently speaking into your life (good or bad) and are, in many ways, helping to shape who you are today.

Why does this matter?

Well let me rewind quickly to lay the foundation. . . Read more

Your 2014 personal growth plan?

When is the last time you read the story of Samuel anointing David as the future King of Israel (see 1 Samuel 16)?

It’s one of the great stories of the Old Testament, and even now as 2014 begins it has powerful meaning for you and I as worship leaders… 3,000 years later!

Let me explain . . . Read more