Having teenagers on the worship team has its ups and downs.
The best part is their raw passion - they are excited about everything. However, this burning passion doesn’t always translate into a discipline to prepare.
I remember bringing on a young electric guitar player. He proved his skill during the audition but became unreliable fairly quickly after implementing him on to the team.
The third time he was scheduled, he didn’t respond to the request and didn’t show up to rehearsal. After service, he let me know that he received the request but just had too much going on that week.
I really don’t have a problem with people declining a scheduling request, but I do have a problem with no response. So, I explained that he needs to either accept or decline, but not ignore.
As the weeks went on, he did start responding to the requests in a timely manner, but he did not come to rehearsal prepared.
At this point in the story, I was tempted to babysit. I could text him daily to make sure he remembered to practice, or meet with him an extra day per week to go over the songs.
But, deep down, I knew this wouldn’t help in the long run. It would only enable him to be lazy with his time while he used my time to aide his own preparation.
So I had to come up with something else.
I didn’t want to just leave him out to dry, but I also couldn’t allow him to remain on the worship team in this state. Having someone on the team who doesn’t take responsibility for personal preparation is destructive to the entire team.
It was time for something to change.
Keep in mind, he knew my expectations up front - they are all outlined on the worship team application. So, we met for coffee and agreed that he needed some time to get his priorities in order. But, I also wanted him to do something in the meantime that would help develop discipline and prove commitment.
So, if he wants a chance to return to the worship team, he first has to serve on the hospitality team faithfully for six months.
Although this does not require practice throughout the week, it does require responding to scheduling requests, showing up early and learning new skills. I knew it was an attainable way for him to develop skills he needs to be a part of the worship team.
At this point, I did not sign him up for the hospitality team. I simply told him who to contact and left it up to him.
Honestly, I didn’t know if he would put forth the effort or not, but he did! He is now part of the hospitality team, and I will check in with the hospitality team leader in six months to see how he did.
There really is no set-in-stone way to mentor young folks. It is our job as leaders to listen closely as the Holy Spirit leads us to what is best for each situation. You must be willing to have the hard conversations and make the hard decisions.
Mentoring can get emotional, but what our mentees need most is for us to remain stable and consistent, whether they like it at the time or not.
What are some ways you have successfully mentored young worship team members? (share in the comments below)