A few days ago, I got a text from a musician friend of mine. He used to play at our church and we still get together from time-to-time for some very fun, very bluesy cover-tune jams. He's a great player, a smart guy and just one of those dudes who's fun to be around.
He texted me after leaving a rehearsal and the conversation was enlightening (and convicting.) In just a few short messages, we got on the issue of frustration - as it specifically relates to worship leading. As we talked, I remembered how many conversations I've had over the years with worship leaders who have consistently bad rehearsals.
It's natural - and expected - for worship leaders to leave rehearsals a little frustrated occasionally. Especially if you use volunteer players, since every week is potentially difficult. Maybe your team didn't learn their stuff very closely; maybe a musician was late; maybe the sound system would cooperate. As I was thinking about all the frustrations in leading worship, I realized that frustration doesn't have to be a two-way street.
I'm the worship leader. I'm supposed to struggle and toil and get frustrated now and then. Pastorally, I've got to face down the stress of a set that's shaping up to be difficult or a hard week of ministry. It's okay for me to be the one leaving practice still working, planning and thinking.
It's not okay for my team to deal with this. I firmly believe that your musicians and technicians should never leave a rehearsal feeling worried or stressed about the service. I know a lot of worship leaders run really tight rehearsals and consider themselves to be the coach of their musicians, but personally, I've never seen that work in the long run. Yes, you ensure some quality right off the bat, but you do significant relational damage in that pursuit.
Worship leaders, let's work to make sure our people feel encouraged and blessed to serve the church. (Because it IS a blessing!) Let's build teams that want to show up and practice - people who actually enjoy hanging out with their worship leaders!
When difficulties come, you BE THE ONE to face it down and sacrifice a little bit of your sanity so that community can grow among your team!