If You Have Band Members, You Have Disciples
Being a member of a church's worship team is a great privilege and responsibility that requires
both time and talent. Between rehearsals, services, and transition time, worship teams may spend
more time at church on the weekend than many staff members. Even still, in my experience, our
worship teams are some of the most under-discipled groups in the body. So much of our time as
worship pastors is spent scheduling, training, and directing rehearsals that often discipleship falls
to the wayside. It's easy to see these musicians as a resource, and they are—they're some of the
most talented people in the building! But too often, we forget that they're members of our
congregation that need to be poured into just like everyone else.
Why is it so essential to disciple your team?
Our worship teams are part of the "flock among us" (1 Peter 5:2) who need our care and
attention. Though worship leaders aren't always acting as elders (though some of you are!), we
can still apply Peter's instructions here by shepherding our teams. Like the rest of us, they are
redeemed sinners being sanctified into the image of Jesus, and we have both the opportunity and
to come alongside them. As men and women entrusted by our churches to lead, we must
step up to the task at hand.
How can you disciple/care for your team practically? Really get to know them.
The musicians on your team are real people with real lives. Some have families, some are in
school, others work, but ALL have this in common: their lives are busy and constantly changing.
It's impossible to care for our teams if we don't make an effort to know the world in which they
live. Even in limited and busy times on Sunday mornings, asking simple questions about life
"outside" the worship ministry will allow you to know about, pray for, and pour into your teams'
lives. Some of the most critical moments in my team's life have been born out of simple
questions that led to deep discipleship conversations. Share your life.
As important as knowing their
lives is sharing your own. Paul gives us an example of this in his
ministry. In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul recounts sharing not only the Gospel with
the Thessalonian church but his very life
because of the love he had for them (1 Thessalonians
2:8). Paul had so much to share with churches as he traveled: theological wisdom, spiritual
encouragement, guidelines for their meetings, etc. But here, he includes and celebrates the
sharing of his life, and we have the opportunity to do the same. Invite your team to know your
family, to share a meal in your home, and to spend time with you outside of your regular
ministry encounters. Giving your team this access will help build trust, deepen relationships, and
show them they are not just members of a band—they're people in your life. Teach through example.
Inherent in sharing your life is being a living example for your people to follow. One of the most
potent teaching agents we carry as leaders is our example. The old saying "Do as I say, not as I
do" may be familiar to many of us, but it's not the way we need to lead! Paul gives us a better
way when he exhorts Timothy: "Imitate me as I imitate Christ." We have the opportunity to
disciple our teams as they watch us follow after Christ. This means leading the way in confessing
sin, counseling biblically, meeting one another's needs, sharing when God feels distant, etc. It's
one thing for people to hear about these things and another to see them played out in real-time.
As you live out your devotion to Christ, you will disciple your team to do the same. Love Jesus.
We can only teach through an example worthy of following, which means we must continually
grow deeper and deeper in our love of Christ. Before you can be ready to lead anyone else, you
must be leading yourself. It can be too easy to play the part of being "spiritually engaged" from
the stage—saying the right things and going through the motions—without being genuinely
connected to the vine. This won't cut it if we want our teams to be deep, devoted disciples of
Jesus. We cannot overlook our constant abiding with Christ for any reason (including leading our
team). If we are known by our fruit, then our teams must know us by the fruit that flows from a
heart tethered to the Lord.
These are just a few in a long list of discipleship opportunities we have as worship pastors. The
way they play out in our contexts will be different because our teams are unique to us––but more
important than how discipleship looks is simply that we start immediately
. It can seem like a
daunting task, and it's normal to feel unprepared, but my encouragement is don't wait
. If we wait
until we feel ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives! We will never be "ready" if we
believe we need to have it all together to lead in this way. The good news is that God's Spirit is
with us. He has gifted you and called you to make disciples, and He doesn't call us where He
won't lead. Jesus desires to see his Church built up, and we have a unique ability to serve our
churches by discipling our worship teams. A great-sounding worship team can greatly serve a
church, but the blessing of deep worshipers leading them to deeper worship is unrivaled. For the
sake of our teams, churches, and for the glory of Christ, let's start discipling our teams today.