Worship Media Arts

Big Ideas, How-To, and Articles on Worship, Media and the Arts

Success Is In The Details: Worship Team Meetings

Note: This is the second in a new series of articles called Worship Design Teams That Work. While designing worship in a group is no longer a new concept in many circles, figuring out how to make them work is a greater challenge. Our goal is to look at some specific principles that will help your worship design teams function at a high, sustained level.

<p>The hallmark of any successful sports franchise is its meticulous preparation. Winning coaches and players speak of the relentless drive to prepare for every game, regardless of the opponent or setting. How often have you heard of a team losing to an inferior opponent because they were looking past them to next week’s game? Success means there is no such thing as an “off” day.</p>
<p>Many pastors, musicians and media staff also live for the big event. These leaders desire to be successful in the collective goal of connecting people to God, recognize the value of meticulous preparation, and see the potential of designing worship in teams. Yet, these same groups often fail to create worship experiences that transform lives because they forget the details of preparation.</p>
<p>Success comes in the details. In worship, as in sports, the first step is to evaluate the process. A weekly worship design team meeting should be more than a calendar-sharing session. Ideally, the team is designing a worship event where lives are transformed through the creative presentation of the Gospel. Each worship element is not pre-determined, but developed together as a group.</p>
<p>Every church, regardless of congregational size and worship design team experience, can learn something from a self-evaluation process. The are a number of details to cover.</p>
<p><strong>Frequency: How Often to Meet</strong></p>
<p>The first detail is how often the team meets. While worship styles vary wildly across regions, denominations, and congregational sizes, there seem to be only a few basic models for planning. We’ve outlined 3 popular methods below with some notes. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but a starting point for figuring out your church’s own unique solution.</p>
<p><em>1.	Single team meeting weekly</em></p>
<p>This is perhaps the most common model for designing worship in a team. A weekly worship team can be staff, volunteer, or a mix of the two. There is a set weekly time, either during the workday or in the evening. It is recommended that this design team time and day remain generally the same each week. For example Tuesdays at 2:00pm might work well with an all-staff team. Evenings will probably be better if volunteers are involved.</p>
<p>In some ways, the weekly meeting is an easier model, particularly in terms of facilitating the logistics of planning. Small church planning structures, which are often highly relationship-driven, rely on ongoing communication between the preacher, music leader and other staff or volunteer team members. This communication happens face to face during the meeting, but also, and sometimes to a greater degree, takes place outside the team meeting via email and telephone.</p>
<p>Weekly meetings are also?Äîarguably?Äîeasier in terms of managing interpersonal dynamics, because the team has more interaction with each other. This presumably leads to stronger relationships. (Of course, a high level of team interaction can have the opposite effect, but in our experience the more often a team meets the better its member relationships form and maintain.) If team members have sufficiently flexible schedules to do weekly meetings, the overall nearness of the team will likely be much stronger just because of the frequency of the gatherings.</p>
<p>More likely than not, teams that meet weekly are going to be staff. Understand that for many staff members, the idea of “another meeting” isn’t something that will be relished at first. Be proactive about making the meetings uplifting, casual, creative and fun. If done right, “design team day” will become the highlight of the week.</p>
<p><em>2.	Multiple teams meeting weekly or on rotation</em></p>
<p>Although weekly worship planning has its pros, one of its cons is that it can become exhausting, especially for volunteers who have busy lives outside of the team.  Burnout can happen pretty fast. Having multiple teams sharing the worship design burden can be a great solution to this problem.</p>
<p>In this model, several different teams design worship. For example, there may be 4 teams, each meeting once a month with the paid staff (usually a pastor, a music person, and or a media specialist). The paid staff come to every meeting and help to carry out the individual services. Planning could be for the upcoming week, or it may be for several weeks ahead.</p>

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4 Comments so far »

  1. Jimmy McCorkle said,

    Wrote on November 29, 2006 @ 7:29 am

    I think you guys hit the nail on the head. In every point you made I could see our teams successes and failures. I pray that our pastor will be flexible in what he brings to the table at planning sessions, and other team members and myself will not look at the plank in the others eye without dealing with the one in our own so that we might create better services consistently. Thanks for sharing, Keep it coming


    Ottawa, IL

  2. Kevin said,

    Wrote on November 30, 2006 @ 10:00 am

    I’ve stressed the importance of having a team and seeking the others input but my pastor is very set in his way and wants to create all his own media. He has done it all for the last few weeks and that patern concerns me. I’m the children and Youth director and I’m also the web designer. Any suggestions on how to get the pastor to open up and allow more input from a team of volunteers and staff to design worship experiences for Sunday Worship?

    I read the above article and I thought how awesome it would be if our worship experiences were designed by a team and not just one individual.

  3. Don - Nashville said,

    Wrote on December 2, 2006 @ 8:00 am

    Great points in this article. My “real” job is a Project Manager so I’m constantly battling and balancing the motiviating factor in work and in church – however, in our last worship team conference we agreed to only meet with the Pastor on a once per quarter basis for an overall planning session and thematic approaches, then we meet weekly as voluteers to discuss as far in advance as possible the look & feel, experience and “take away” that we want for each service. We then email this info to the Pastoral staff the Monday before the Sunday’s events and give them an opportunity to understand our intent, make slight adjustments, etc. So far this is working but we are still neophytes in this whole process.

    Keep up the great job, guys!!

  4. Melodie said,

    Wrote on December 4, 2006 @ 7:30 am

    Really good points. We are a “small” church compared to most probably, however, we strive to use good practices, so the points are good for us, too. In reference to the guy whose pastor does his own creative stuff, I kind of know the problem, maybe. Pastors who are very creative take time to cook a sermon. By the time the cooking is done, it is too late for them to call the techs and put it on them. Also, sometimes the creative process sparks the sermon ideas as well. Not sure what the remedy is, but that may be what is happening.

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