Whether it’s getting the songs out earlier, allowing music stands or not making last minute changes, we all have something we think our worship pastor can do to make our lives easier. Rarely do we actually see those changes happen. Here’s how to have a productive conversation with your worship pastor.
Seek First To Understand
I’ve been on both sides of the stage so to speak. I’ve been the frustrated guitar player on the worship team and I am now the often scatterbrained worship pastor. One thing I can tell you is that being in charge of a church worship gathering is very different than playing at one. Yes, we are all leaders and all giving our time, but there is a weight that the leader carries. It shocked me the first time I experienced it. As a worship team musician, you are mainly focused on you. As the leader, you are trying to focus on everyone and that includes giving the pastor, the team, the tech guys and the congregation what they need. That’s just a lot to deal with. So, while what you are proposing may seem a simple ask, it’s probably not and it’s important to understand that going in.
Sunday is never the right time.
Timing Is Important
As mentioned above, Sunday is NOT the time to ask for a change. That’s like bottom of the 9th, bases loaded and you suggesting uniform changes to the coach. It’s just not that important right now. I know it’s hard because Sunday is usually when we feel our pain points, but just...wait. Reach out on a Monday and set a time to meet with your worship pastor to discuss what you want to discuss. They will be in a much better mental space to hear it.
Know What You Are Asking
Change is always hard, no matter how small. Take something like receiving the songs early in the week so you have more time to practice. I know this is a pain point for a lot of you. Seems simple, right? Just move your weekly prep time to Monday instead of Thursday and send out the email. Why is that SO HARD???? Well, I’ll tell you. As a worship pastor, I can say putting together a worship set isn’t just picking a few songs. If you actually care about it, you pray. You consider your congregation. You respond to what’s happening in the world and in your church. You bring your best creative ideas. I don’t have those on Monday. I’ve just put out a lot on Sunday and need time to build that bank up again. It’s not a small change to me and it's important you go in knowing that.
Being in charge of a church worship gathering is very different than playing at one.
This is the most important and most often neglected piece of this conversation. We’re all human and we don’t really make lasting changes unless we see the benefit for us. You want your worship pastor to want what you want? Show them how it will benefit them! Yes, it’s hard for me to get things going earlier in the week, but if you show up and rock Sunday it’s probably worth it. The problem is there are plenty of times I have gotten everything out early and communicated well and my team didn’t look at it until Sunday morning anyway. It’s so disheartening. If you want your worship pastor to change, you need to commit to using that change to benefit the team. It also goes a long way if you offer help make it happen.
Asking for change can sound a lot like complaining so make extra effort to use kind words. Be complementary, not patronizing. Being likable goes a long way.
Ask what you can do to make it happen.
Put It In Action
So let's say you want your worship pastor to get you the songs earlier in the week. Reach out to your worship pastor on Monday or Tuesday and ask when is a good time to meet. Arrive with a smile and say something like this. "First of all I just want to tell you how much I love being on the worship team. It’s a gift to be able to minister with you and I appreciate how much you give to this ministry. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can be a better team member and one thing that has stuck out to me is my preparation. There is nothing I would love more than to show up confident in the parts I need to play. I’m doing my best now but like you, I have a lot of responsibilities and I just need more time. Is there any way you can get me the set list and materials a little sooner in the week? I realize it might play havoc with your schedule and be a big ask so I’m willing to make it worth it. If you can commit to getting me the songs on Tuesday, I will commit to being ready every week. You will see and hear a difference from me. Besides that, is there anything I can do to help you make this happen?"
Even if you do all of this, you might not get exactly what you want. You might need to compromise or you might even get a simple “I can’t”. At least you’ll both understand each other a little more and it might create opportunities for other changes in the team. At worst, you’ll have spent some relationship building time with your worship pastor and that’s always a win. Oh, and as always, if you are looking for song tutorials to help you be more prepared and show up with confidence, sign up for free Worship Artistry trial and find out why our members are all so happy.