7 Key Attributes of a Music Team Member
Some thoughtful checks to help you decide if a musician is right for your church’s Music Team.
In many larger churches, God can graciously provide many members keen to be involved with the music team. However, a music team with an obvious variety of ability can be a distraction during a Sunday service.
Here are some helpful checks which could form part of an auditioning process to ensure your team is as effective as can be in its aim of leading God’s people in worship.
I want to know that those helping to lead others in worship are saved. So, I start by asking people about their testimony.
I personally find it encouraging to hear, and it can help you learn a lot about a person when you understand something of their journey to faith in Christ.
If I have doubts about their conversion, then I offer to meet up with them later before considering them for the music team.
2. Godly Living
Any form of public ministry means that those who are put on a platform can be seen by everyone, including both visitors and regular attenders. It is therefore important that those on the platform desire to live in a way that honours God to the best of their ability.
I won’t accept people onto the music team who have obvious inconstancies in their walk with God. To do so would be dishonouring to the Lord, distracting to God’s people, and a poor witness to outsiders.
Musicians who are committed to growing in their discipleship as well as their musicianship are a delight to work with.
3. Right Motivation
It’s important that those who want to join the music team are doing so with the right motive. Musicians are there to serve God and his people with their musical abilities and not because they want to become pop stars!
I have always aimed to live by the principle of Psalm 115:1 which says “Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”
If musicians and singers are humble and have the right servant-hearted attitude, then that quality will bless God – even before they play or sing a note!
4. Confidence and Skill
The best way to identify ability isn’t necessarily to test someone’s music reading skills (after all I can’t read music!) but to get them to play along with other musicians.
I tend to choose three different songs, which they know, for an audition. I choose an up-tempo song; a slow song and a hymn. I want to hear how confidently and skilfully they adjust to each genre: these three types of song are a good way to measure that.
Being sensitive in the way you play is a great skill. Sensitivity is being aware of the rise and the fall of expressiveness required within a song, evoked by the words. Being aware of when to build and why. Or indeed, when to drop out.
Songs, and their melodies, are emotional vehicles for words to travel upon. A lack of sensitivity means that we give people a bumpy ride. But musical sensitivity enables the congregation to have a smooth journey through the song.
This in turn enables them to enjoy the view from the window of those words, which then evokes a heart-felt response of adoration and praise toward God.
6. Team Chemistry
It is important to work out if a person is a team player, or if they only like to do their own thing, irrespective of whether they blend in.
I have seen people in bands who were bossy, stubborn, or always moaning with a critical spirit, and it robbed me of my worship towards God.
When the chemistry between the band is good – both spiritually and musically – then you get the best possible blend. (Psalm 133:1). What’s more, the band works well and is a joy to play with.
It’s important that all those on the music team understand that they need to come to the rehearsals on time, as far as it is possible. This shows respect for the role and courtesy towards the rest of the music team.
Having someone who consistently arrives 10 minutes later than everyone else in the team will frustrate the musicians who are on time and means you can’t adequately rehearse the songs.
Commitment to attending rehearsals on time shows respect for God, the congregation, other band members, as well as the person who has planned the service.
A Gentle Let Down
It’s important to weigh up if a musician is ready now or is not quite good enough at the moment. Or indeed, if they simply don’t possess the necessary gifts you need for your music team.
If you think they are ready now, it is wise to arrange a trial period with a review at the end. This provides a safety net for them, and for you!
If you think they are not ready yet, you should suggest they come back in 6 or 12 months’ time once they’ve had more time to practice, or invested in some music lessons.
If someone is never really going to be right for the music team, then a gentle let down is needed. Be as pastorally sensitive and encouraging as possible, because they are your brother or sister in the Lord. God may have given them other gifts to use within the church, even if it’s not on the music team. Explore with them other areas of ministry where they might be a better fit.