This week on the podcast, we talked about what churches are looking for when hiring a worship leaders. I think there's some helpful advice in the episode, but based on the long-running Facebook thread on the topic yesterday, I thought it might helpful to dig a little deeper into the subject!
Interviewing with a church can be difficult, but there are some things you can do on your own to better prepare yourself for the process and find the place where God wants you.
Look back is an important part of moving forward. While it's a lot more fun to focus all on energy on the new job, it's helpful to look back at the good and bad of our last position. If you happened to leave your last church on bad terms, this is especially helpful. Learning from your last job is vital to succeeding at your new one. Take stock of what you could have done better and use that wisdom in the new job!
I'm often surprised by how many worship leaders don't have a philosophy of worship. But knowing what you believe about worship is key to finding a new place to serve. It's not even that hard - just spend some time thinking, "why do we sing?" and "what's corporate worship for?" Being able to easily communicate your philosophy will be a huge help to prospective churches as they get to know you.
Many of us burn a lot of energy on the wrong things when we're interviewing. We're quick to discuss salary, budgets, benefits, job requirements and facilities but often forget to ask about the people. If you're in the interview process, make sure you're getting a sense of the personalities on your worship team. Find out out what sort of challenges are facing the congregation. Job details are important, but so are the people. Make sure you're focusing on the right thing.
It's tempting to paint your previous church in a negative light. As we help people get to know our history and experience, we need to be guarded so that our storytelling doesn't turn into church-bashing. Most pastors and search committees will pick up on negativity and make the jump in their heads - "if he/she is saying this about the last place, what will they say about us someday?" I'm all for honesty, but would recommend spending more time on what was good at the last church. Be honest about that!
Being a help and support to the pastor is a HUGE part of a worship leader's job. Do all you can to find out what the pastor needs. What's he looking for in a fellow staff member. Someone to push him creatively? Somebody who can back him up in staff meetings? Spending time with the pastor one-on-one will go a long way toward helping you serve with excellence!
Finding a new job is tough. Stay humble, ask good questions and show up to serve and you'll find the process gets a lot easier. If you've got questions or comments about this stuff, hit me up firstname.lastname@example.org.