5 Tips for a Successful Worship Team Audition

This is what your worship leader is really looking for.

So you’ve been practicing for awhile and you think you’re ready to join the worship team at church.

Here are 5 tips to help you make the team on audition day:

1. Come prepared

There’s no harm in asking for the songs you’ll be auditioning with in advance. Even if you don’t know what you’ll be playing, be familiar with the songs you do most often at church. Your familiarity with the song catalogue is an asset to the team.

2. Be still

Amateurs noodle around and bust out their favorite show-off riffs in between songs. Pro’s just sit quietly and wait for the song to start. Being still shows self-discipline and the confidence that your playing in the song will be more than enough to prove your skill.

3. Ask questions

Your leader may want you to play the part exactly as is or they may want you to show some creativity. Ask which they prefer then do that. Just asking the question shows your willingness to learn and that’s a quality any worship leader will love.

4. Be a servant

Help set up and tear down. Be willing to help the sound engineer. Offer to play in less upfront roles. Your motives are suspect if you only show up when the lights are on.

5. Have An Open Heart

If you make the team, great! If not, it’s okay.  Your value doesn’t lie in a worship team position. Ask your worship leader what you can do better and get back to work.

Remember that being a worship leader is a servant role. If you keep your heart in the right place and are willing to work hard, you’ve already got what it takes.

Jason Houtsma is the co-founder and guitar teacher at Worship Artistry, where he is helping musicians of every level answer the call to worship with passion and confidence. Jason has been leading worship and writing music since he was 15 years old and currently serves as Worship Pastor for Mosaic Church in Bellingham, WA. He is husband to Alli and father to Bjorn and Asher.

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Number 4 rings so true!

Thought I'd list some things NOT to do as well:

1 - Show up late to practice, or worse to an audition. It just shows a lack of commitment and sends the message that your time is more important than everyone else's.
2 - Text in between songs or while someone else is trying to nail a part they are having trouble with.
3 - Leave immediately after practice and don't help tear down.
4 - Show up without your chord charts, and in the right key. Don't expect the leader to bring you charts.
5 - Play secular songs in between worship songs or before/after practice. There's just something annoying about hearing "Hotel California" from the altar.

Great thoughts.

My friend and I were one minute late to our first practice with music ministries and the team was already praying. When they finished, the leader looked up and just called us both on the carpet. I learned pretty quickly that you make the effort for anything you want to be a part of. And number two...ugh.

good post...

I've been playing many years, and I'm still guilty of a few of these myself..

I noodle a lot...at times there can be dead times or points when the singers are yacking and I get bored... I play... (no one has complained yet).. just this last weekend we broke out into some Led Zeppelin... when you have guitars.. it happens..

But back to the point of this article.. it's an audition... I've been doing it so long I'm now paint on the wall.. lol

Being a known quantity is different

I'm not saying you shouldn't have fun :) When you understand the culture and everyone knows you it's like any other social situation and you can gauge your behavior appropriately. Still, it may not hurt to permission your leader to tell you to stop if it ever becomes distracting...


Does anybody have any advice or know of any good books to help with building confidence? I struggle often with this and it has become an issue while worshiping.

Thank you,

Confidence comes from mastery

and mastery comes with practice. If you know you can do it because you've done it 100 times before you will feel more confident. A few other things that can help are making sure you have a good monitor mix. If you feel like you are too loud or too quiet it will be hard to play confidently. Also, staying within the bounds of your current abilities is important. When you practice at home you should be pushing yourself but when you are leading you should only play what you are confident playing in. Does that help?

Really good advice here.

As a player with a lot of experience your comments on the monitor mix is dead on. In fact we found in the studio I play my best when I'm struggling to hear myself a bit and if I'm to loud in the mix I'm holding back. Bottom line no matter how good a player you are if the mix you are hearing is "off" you wont ever play comfortably with confidence.

Great Post

On our worship team, I want those interested to come to a few practices and simply watch and observe. If after a few weeks of observing they are still interested and God is calling them to take part in our team, we allow them to practice each week with us. We have and want a "low" standard for musical ability. This may sound crazy, but as long as an acoustic guitar player can play straight, standard chords and does not cause a distraction (same with bass, etc.) we will consider them for our worship team. We feel that we are raising up the next generation of worship musicians and it is important to allow them on our team. Ultimately, those that are more skilled begin to teach those that are less skilled. We have always had success with this model.

We have had to tell a few people "no". I hate to do this, but it's part of the job. The hardest ones are the singers. Atleast with a musician you can tell them they need to practice more and guide them to how to get better. I had to tell a guy with a good choir voice that he wasn't a fit and that was hard. He had a wonderful operatic voice, but certainly did not fit a voice for our worship team. It was a distraction.

Anyway, great article.

Also, as the worship leader, I do not mind at all between songs if a few of my folks want to jam as long as it is not a distraction. However, as soon as the worship leader as had enough of it, the musicians are expected to stop.

I love our worship team. I've been on a couple of different teams and my current team amazing. All of them are people with willing hearts that want to serve God.

Sounds like you have an awesome team

I try and keep things open for multiple skill levels as well. One of the reasons we started Worship Artistry is that I always hated turning folks away with a simple "You need to take lessons". It was especially awkward for me since I gave lessons and I didn't want to come across pushing my own services. Now I can just say "I'd love for you to take on a few of the songs on this site and then come back and go over them with me."