How can I get the team to understand me?

Pastoring isn’t easy.

Pastors feel the weight of the church, the ministry outreach, and people’s concerns. Their responsibilities are multi-faceted and often require them to mentally jump from one extreme of thought to another, from an architect’s drawings for a church remodel over to the youth ministry report and then to what is needed to help a family in crisis.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the communication disconnect between pastors and worship teams from the team’s perspective. You can read that post here. I suggested some areas that the team could talk about with the pastor to create understanding.

When I hold worship clinics, working with a church’s worship team(s), pastors make comments or ask me questions that seem to have a common theme: the pastor doesn’t know how to get the team to musically meet a need or initiative that the pastor sees. Here is one of those questions.

Why can't the worship leader seem to understand me when I try to tell them that I want more songs that are encouraging?

If you are a pastor who is a skilled musician, it’s easier to understand how to communicate with the worship leader. You won’t simply communicate your vision for the praise and worship time, you will know how to speak the unique language of music and you will have an understanding of what’s current in Christian worship music.

If you are not a skilled musician, then in between your bites of bagel as you rush to the hospital to see a church member, you won’t think about the nuances of music and what are the newest worship songs. You will just want the team to actually engage the congregation and create an opportunity where everyone is encouraged and can focus on God. So when you are back at the church office, you stop by the worship pastor’s office or you call the worship leader and say, “Hi, I just want to say that this coming Sunday I’m going to talk about ______, could you make the songs more encouraging?” That type of general statement is not completely clear.

Unclear communication can be the biggest hindrance to a great flow between the pastor and the team.

Instead, you may want to say, “This coming Sunday is a pivotal point in my teaching series on _____. I’m going to cover the concept of ______, and I would like you to start the service with a song that focuses on God’s goodness and faithfulness in that area. Do you and the team have anything like that? If possible, I would like a song that is fast instead of something slow and contemplative.”

That’s good communication. The direction is clearly stated, and the opportunity for a response from the worship leader will create better understanding between both of you.

Pastors, I recommend that you take the time to privately talk to the worship team as a group. Openly tell them what it’s like to be you, because they don’t know. They aren’t pastors so they don’t understand what you juggle each day. Then allow them to talk to you. Give them the opportunity to tell you how they feel and what they wish you understood.

Then pray together for wisdom from God for the church. Your worship team should have a regular prayer time together either at the beginning or end of their practice time, and if you are open with them about the church and its direction, they can be a prayer support team for you and the church.

 As I’ve said before, great communication helps relationships flourish.