Restructuring the team

Any time you add services or meeting times that require worship ministry and more involvement from musicians, the opportunity to revamp the team presents itself. If you’ve lived through this, you know that it can be an exciting time or a time of stress as you scramble to find the people needed to minister in an additional service. Maybe you’ve heard stories of churches that started more services and then stopped them within a few months because their volunteers quit.

Some churches seem to make the transition to more services seamlessly. How do they do that?

Here are three key components that will help you to successfully transition to more services.

Communication

When your pastor begins to talk in staff meetings about additional services, you will need to communicate the musical depth (or lack of depth) of the worship team or teams. This will affect the timeline of the launch of new services if you need to develop team members’ musical skills or look for additional singers or instrumentalists. I also recommend that you not wait until your pastor states that more services will be occurring before you begin providing musical development for your current team members who need it.

Then you will need to communicate with your team or teams. Basically, you need to not just show them that you are moving from point A to point B and how awesome point B will be, but you also need to show them that point A is no longer a good place to be. Change is a constant in the Christian life.

Development

Create a developmental environment. If you have only one team and you need to split it to develop a second team to accommodate another service, you will need to evaluate the musicianship of each singer and instrumentalist. If some of the singers or instrumentalists are not strong enough musicians to sing or play without stronger musicians near them, you will need to develop their skills.

You are now in a position to vision-cast to the existing musicians. You could say, “Just as you’ve committed to the ministry of helps through music, we’re committed to your continued development both spiritually and musically. We’re going to be scheduling some times of spiritual and musical development so we’re fulfilling our job as leaders in the church. We’re also going to be going through some restructuring of our schedules for the worship ministry, and we’ll be evaluating how to best use your skills within the new service format.”

Scheduling

If you have multiple teams already, you can restructure the schedule to accommodate the additional services. However, people’s schedules may not allow you to arbitrarily choose when they will serve when new services are added. You’ll want to get their input on their availability when you communicate the coming changes.

When creating the new schedule:

  • I suggest that you schedule a rehearsal time once a week where all teams are present to learn new songs, create one blended sound, and maintain a unified vision for the church and the music ministry.

  • You also will want to schedule development time for those who need it, possibly twice a month, where musical skills are taught such as how to harmonize, how to learn a new part, how to blend, how to improvise, and so on.

  • Then you will need to schedule the teams for the services. Use your strongest team members until you have been able to develop additional musicians. If you’ve fully communicated the coming changes, then your people will understand that you’re working in this changing time for their benefit and growth. If they are uncomfortable with this, then perhaps there is another department where they may better fit.

When you are planning the changing schedule, please keep in mind your team members’ work and family lives, and the fact that as musicians, they also need to practice and learn new music. You don’t want to burn out your volunteers by asking them to do more than they can.

Your pastor should be kept informed of any scheduling challenges you face. You also may want to ask your pastor to pray with you and the team as you add the new services and prepare for greater outreach as a church. This is an exciting time and together you’re going to do great things.

I’ve written more on the topics of scheduling and respecting the team members’ gifts, which you can find here and here.