AsWorship Leader, I’ve come to realize that part of my job description should read, “Defender of Culture”. Because in all reality, creating and keeping a positive culture on our teams only happens with intention. It’s when we get a bit lazy that culture killers can sneak in and start to poke holes in the fabric of our God-centered, positive, encouraging, and honest culture.
Let’s talk about a culture killer that runs rampant through the church world: Poor Communication.
It’s really tough as a leader to hear a volunteer say, “No one told me” or, “It seems like you don’t really need me right now so I’m taking next month off”. And sometimes, we even find ourselves disappointed in the performance of a volunteer, wondering how it went so wrong.
How does this happen?
1. We don’t meet people where they are at.
Our teams of volunteers are made up of people from all age groups with different habits and styles of communicating. It’s not their job to change their ways to suit ours. I believe the opposite should happen. As leaders, it’s a mistake to assume that sending a text to everyone is the best way to communicate to ALL of our team members. It might be for some, but for someone else, a phone call is preferred.
At my church, every ministry as a Facebook group. All ministry leaders use this as a way to easily share announcements. I love to post upcoming new songs on my group page. BUT, I have some team members that don’t use Facebook. Therefore, it’s up to me to reach out to them in a different way so they don’t miss out on information.
When we don’t communicate in several different ways, people slip through the cracks.
2. We lack in set-up and/or follow-up.
One of the best tips I can give a new Worship Leader, is to set expectations clearly and from the start. If you want that new bass player to come to rehearsal having already practiced his music, don’t assume that he will just know that. Be sure to lay out all of your expectations upfront. This saves so much frustration for both you and your team members.
What are your team values? Or maybe your church has some volunteer expectations? Talk about these on a regular basis. Have something in writing that you can give to your new members.
Don’t forget to follow-up! Let’s say you gave your back-up vocalist some feedback and corrections at the end of rehearsal. On Sunday morning, ask her how’s she’s doing with them. Talk to her again after the service is over to see how it went. Even if everything went great and she did exactly what you asked…TELL HER!
When we don’t lay out our expectations up front, we will be disappointed and our team members will become frustrated. And when we fail to follow-up with our band members, they will be left wondering.
Communication throughout our teams must go both ways. When we close our mouths and take a few minutes to listen to someone, we show them value. Team members who feel valued, stay on the team. Team members who feel heard, stay on the team. Think of some ways you can foster an environment for open and honest communication that flows from team to leader and leader to team fluidly. Maybe you can start by scheduling some time for suggestions during your next team meeting. Or, you can block out two afternoons a month in your schedule and take team members to coffee. Try inviting your team over for a BBQ once in the summer. Look for different ways you can be a leader who listens.
When we aren’t intentional and open listeners, our team members will feel they have no voice and are undervalued.
Take a minute and assess your ministry’s culture. Be honest with yourself or maybe even ask a mentor to tell you what they see in your team’s environment. Whatever the case is, make a plan to improve your team’s communication. Schedule it in to your calendar or write out some personal goals.
Combat leader laziness and establish a culture full of good communication habits.