Picture this. It’s Sunday morning. Church worship begins and you are immediately transported to a place of tranquility. All God’s people sing as one in perfect unison. You look up towards the stage to see who is responsible for such impeccable worship leadership. Surely it’s you, the worship leader, with your vast wealth of expertise and charisma. But no, it couldn’t be, you’re amongst the congregation. Then you see it: a worship volunteer, leading with complete certitude and zeal. You wonder how this could be; who amongst your team has such capability? You squint against the light to see who it is, then your alarm goes off. You were dreaming all along. You chuckle at the thought… a volunteer leading a smooth worship service….
Can it only ever be a dream? We are here to tell you NO. Worship team volunteers CAN be trusted to take the reigns when you need a Sunday off. It just takes some time, and here is how you do it:
1. Look for Potential and Passion
Don’t view all your volunteers as the same. Some are just there to have fun or fill some time. Some may feel obligated to serve their church and just happen to play an instrument. But some are truly there because they are passionate about music and want to use that passion for the Lord. Look for these people in your church and encourage them to lean in.
2. Slowly Build Their Confidence
Shepherd the passionate individual towards leading worship. Ask them which songs they particularly love to play on Sunday and tell them you think they’d be great at leading one of them. Let them take over on that song in rehearsal and observe their leadership skills, then gently course correct any issues you see.
3. Add Responsibility
If all goes well, slowly keep adding in learning lessons. Let them welcome the congregation and lead in prayer. Give them more songs to lead. The volunteer will become more and more comfortable with the entire experience and the congregation will begin to feel more familiar with this alternate leader.
4. Let Them Blossom
Over time you can gradually give additional responsibility and see how they perform. Perhaps they can choose the setlist one week and even run all the rehearsals. Keep an eye on how they handle this and always be willing to lend some wisdom and advice while also being understanding of a few mistakes here and there. Let them learn, and let them lead.
Don’t forget, this isn’t a short process. It will take at least a few months or even a year. That’s okay, the end result is well worth it. You will be able to take a Sunday off without having nightmares all week, and you will have helped a bright new talent realize some of their potential.