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Is your worship team afraid to take time off?

Kade Young
Kade Young
Chief Audio Guru
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Inner Circle Community + Support by Collaborate Worship

If you lead worship at a small church, there is a good chance you only have one musician for each instrument (if that).

Then, when someone is sick or on vacation, you experience a bit of anxiety on how to make up for the missing musician. The anxiety then causes you to act out, giving the musician a hard time for not being there.

Eventually, a culture is created where everyone on the worship team is afraid to take time off. They don't want to suffer your wrath or cause you disappointment.

Although you may feel like this works out to your benefit (because they are not gone as much), it is actually counterintuitive. A team that feels strapped down and controlled is unhealthy.

But, shouldn't they be committed?

At this point, you may be asking yourself, "But, shouldn't they be committed?" Why yes, yes they should. But, do not confuse commitment with perfect attendance.

When a worship team member is committed, they show up to rehearsal on time and prepared. Although they are there a majority of the time, they communicate with you (in advance) if they are not going to be there.

It is important that your team feels comfortable letting you know when they are unavailable. Otherwise, there is a good chance they promise to be there but then don't show up. And, as I am sure you would agree, this is much worse than knowing ahead of time.

3 Ways to Let Your Team Know It's Okay to Take Time Off

  1. Take time off yourself every now and then. The best way to lead is by example. If you never take time off, your team will feel uncomfortable taking time off. Plus, it is important you take time to refresh. Creativity seems to present itself most when you break away from the routine and clear your head.
  2. Let them know it is okay to use the 'decline' button. If you use Planning Center Online, every scheduling email contains a 'decline' button. My team was once afraid to use it, but I would much rather them communicate their unavailability with me a soon as possible.
  3. Communicate your expectations. Your team needs to know what kind of notice you expect for time off and what you consider excessive time off. If they need to be there a certain amount of Sundays out of the year, let them know. If you need a week advance notice, let them know. They should not be surprised if you have to confront an issue about too much time off or inadequate notice.

The Holy Spirit does not need a full band to make His move. Tweet Quote

Bottom line, going on vacation or taking a week off is not a lack of commitment. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed.

Put your team at ease so they can enjoy being a part of the worship team. And, put yourself at ease by being flexible and not getting worked up if you do not have a full band. The Holy Spirit does not need a full band to make His move.

You might also enjoy: How to Ignite Passion in Worship Team Members

7 Comments

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7 comments on “Is your worship team afraid to take time off?”

  1. I always try to be intentional to communicate with my team members, when they tell me they're going to be gone, to enjoy their time off and to rest. It's easy to joke around and say things like, "I don't know what we'll do without you" or something along those lines. Even though it's just joking a lot of times, I try to avoid any negative thoughts or feelings associated with people taking time off. I let them know we'll have things covered and that they don't have to worry about anything. I have found it makes those conversations really easy when people need time off because it's not a negative or scary topic. I really appreciate it when I get break, and I want my volunteers to have the same experience.

    Breaks are not a bad thing and like you said "The Holy Spirit does not need a full band to make His move". I like to mix acoustic sets in for salty sweet kind of thing every once in awhile. It also gives some of my regulars a week off.

    1. That is a great idea! Having an acoustic set. It gives time for others to be off. But it is also good the for the congregation to have something new. It might perk them up a bit!

  2. I have had skeleton bands and bands extra musicians …. As a worship leader I think you should be comfortable being solo if your team needs time off. They volunteered and are not the leader. We have to trust God to do his own work and bring him what we can. I tell my team
    That bringing God excellence is not judged by perfection but by doing the best we can with what He has given us, and sometimes it’s a full band while other times it’s a guitar. my dream is to have 2 full bands so Good never have to have a spot empty but I’m not there yet, so this week we had no bass…. But we did worship!!!!

  3. Thank you for this article. I totally agree with the content. I recently had a young high schooler at my church join the music team. I wanted to be very clear with him that if he ever felt overwhelmed and needed a break to let me know. Actually, there was a time he had another school related event going on and that he would be unavailable for one Sunday. He was able to let me know (which was great!). The music team will actually want to serve if they feel they have reasonable flexibility when needing to take time off. Otherwise, as the article noted, it will be more miserable.

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