We've all found ourselves short on team members. How do you bring in new musicians and singers who are either very skilled, or build up leaders who are novice musicians? How do you identify musicians and singers, and then, develop them and prepare them to lead?
I believe that it is not only acceptable but even necessary to audition everyone who is interested in joining the worship team, no matter the size. For some people, the thought of an audition may immediately deter them from even trying due to fear of failure, or maybe they feel like auditioning is inappropriate for a church context. Many equate an audition with an American-Idol-esque firing squad. (Simon Cowell is sitting behind a desk with a smug look and you are terrified that he's going to say you are the worst thing he's ever heard in his life!) That's not us; that's not the way we audition in church. It should be a pleasant, edifying experience designed to connect people’s skills and heart to where they can best serve God. Whether they do well or not in the audition, they should come away feeling encouraged and connected. Whether they make the team or whether they are encouraged to get plugged into another ministry, we need to recognize their gifts and help them match their passions and skill set to their best ministry fit.
What they do or how well they perform is not who they are.
So how do you effectively audition people and simultaneously maintain a culture of encouragement? Make them feel comfortable. Help them feel that the pressure is off; that this isn't determining their worth as an individual. What they do or how well they perform is not who they are. The key word here is "leading,” whether it’s through singing, instruments, sound engineering, or other areas of participation. Everyone is encouraged to worship but not everyone is equipped to lead worship. Anyone who corporately encourages a group to worship and praise God is a leader in this context. Auditioning simply helps us discover those leaders and their potential. At the end of the day, whether they are welcomed onto the team or not, help them know they are a valued part of your fellowship.
In Part 2 I'll be discussing how to conduct the auditions, but order of operations is important. Before we hande the "how," we need to understand the "why." In the meantime, focus on the "why."