Posted by Lex Buckley on 10 June 2014

So how in practice do you recruit new musicians?
Now that a potential new recruit has shown that they are committed to your church and has displayed the qualities we looked at previously, you will need to hear them play their instrument, sing, or mix sound.

Here are two options that I have seen work well. One option is to use the traditional auditioning process, where a potential new recruit will play or sing on their own in front of their worship pastor, and their musical ability will be assessed in that environment. For many, this has proven to be really effective.

Another option is to hear the musicians play in a group setting. This is what we have chosen at our church, and we call it the Worship Jam. It is an evening at the church where any musicians interested in being part of the worship team, or who simply love to play music and want an opportunity to ‘jam’, can come and play in a non-threatening band setting. We usually get a few of our regular team members to attend and go through a couple of songs in a specific arrangement, and then we interchange the musicians and singers and give them an opportunity to play with the others. This enables us to hear them play or sing and see how they work in a band setting.

Because it is a live setting, this is a great opportunity to hear someone mix sound as well. We have chosen to do the Worship Jam because it’s a fun environment, and because it’s a church-wide event that is not just for auditioning new worship team recruits. And so it minimizes the whole ’rejection’ aspect that auditioning can bring.

In the end, of course, each church is unique, so the way you choose to hear people play their instrument or sing is going to depend on how you feel it would best work at your church. There is no right or wrong way – both work great!

New recruits
When you have decided to ask someone onto the team, one thing we have found really helpful is to create a Worship Team Values Form that each team member must read and sign before they commit to the team. This is in no way a binding contract or anything! It’s just a way for us to know that they understand and are on board with the values of the team. It means that all of us are on the same page, and that they know what the expectations are, avoiding any confusion down the road. The form also outlines our commitment to them: to serve, train, develop and encourage them as best we can.

In addition, we give each new worship team member a three-month trial. We put this in place so that both we and the new member can see whether the worship team is the right ministry for them to be involved in. Almost every time we all agree that it’s the right place for them to serve. However, the three-month trial period has been really helpful in those rare circumstances when we have needed to re-assess their involvement. Having this trial period just gives the new team member a ‘heads-up’ that we are going to meet with them after three months, and we’ll all have space to voice any questions or concerns, as well as encouragement of course!

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