I just started as volunteer worship leader, every other Sunday morning and evening. I have a great team of people. However, I have a few minor issues that I need a bit of advice regarding.....

1) Two guitars - I play guitar, and I have an additional guitarist. I pull the music in two keys, and layer it with capos. The other guitarist has trouble following my rhythm. I've tried to suggest just picking, or filler-strums, but when we actually go live during the worship set, he forgets. The same thing with his vocals...he says he knows harmonies, but then starts singing the lead vocal during the service. Super nice person....love having an extra guitar especially without drums, but I want to use the extra guitar effectively.... any ideas...solutions, tips, etc etc etc

2) No Drums! - Going to try using a click track this week....what is the best way to incorporate this? We have a limited sound system and limit capabilities. 

3) Distractions - We have a VERY short amount of time to practice on Sunday mornings. I love feedback, and ideas and people pointing out my mistakes, but what are some creative ways to keep people on track? Formats for practice...any ideas? tips?

4) Criticism - I realized the other day that I have problems with accepting criticism from some of my team, especially when I KNOW that I know more haha..... I've been playing guitar for a long time, and been singing longer than that..... I usually just brush it off and keep an open mind... but sometimes I want to be like, well, if you don't like it, then why don't YOU lead. I spend a lot of time during the week pulling music, checking keys, practicing, and I'm just a volunteer.

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Hi Emily,

I do think it's the tail wagging the dog if the reason for the very limited choice of songs that the congregation will be singing (only 15-25 for a quarter?) is for the convenience of the music team.

Our church had a repertoire of only 50 songs a year when we arrived, 8 years ago. That was a serious constriction for them. When we added songs, that broadened out all kinds of new worship possibilities for them! Remember we are there to serve the needs of the congregation! We now have a repertoire of about 200-250. One song out of 8 each week will now be 'new' to them. They've got very good at picking up new songs whereas, years ago, the Pastor and WL's treated them as though they had special needs!

I do believe that practices (not held just prior to a service, they are just run-throughs!) are the key to solving most of your problems.


Sorry for butting in again. I just felt sorry for the church limited to that few songs.

I would agree that weekly practices could solve many problems as well, don't get me wrong.  But if schedules don't allow that, then I was simply trying to think outside the box.  When I suggest 15-25 for the quarter, what I'm suggesting is that it builds up over the course of the year(s). You have 15-25 songs that you nail by the end of the first quarter, then add some more each quarter. By paring down the amount of songs, I felt that her worship team may be able to make their current practice schedule more productive, and hopefully by the end of the year you've built up a great base.  The intent behind the comment was a suggestion to help maximize current worship practice time.  Of course, I'm not there, I don't know what would work for your congregation.  Also, I don't know how many songs are done each week.  Above, Dorothy and her worship team do 8 songs.  We do 6.  Over the course of the quarter, those two songs a week make a big difference I suppose.  

This could lead us to another discussion, maybe, on how many songs are in your repertoire...that could be interesting.  Also, one new song a week seems like a lot to me, too (but then again, you have 8 songs).  I just feel like the average church worshipper needs to hear a song 3 or 4 times before they're really connecting with it, and if we're constantly throwing new material at them, it could become counterproductive. And there's another interesting discussion...how do we introduce new songs?  How often do they get rotated through?  With a repertoire of 250 songs, how long does it take for a new song to "catch on?"  Maybe it's right away.  I know it isn't for us.  :-)

We could rabbit trail in all directions from the original post (which is what I'm doing now), but the bottom line is that you know your congregation and what could potentially work for them and your worship team.  I wish you the best!

The format and time available will have quite an effect on selection.  If you don't have altar services or evening services, your will have to add new songs very gradually, or else you'll end up going six months before repeating an "old" one. 

I would agree -- it seems that Pastors tend to think their people aren't very smart about learning songs.  But they've got the words right up in huge letters, and if the drummer and lead guitar aren't too loud, they've got a worship leader singing the melody!  That's a huge stride from the hymnal days when there was no vocal leader at all, just an choir with no microphones and an organ!  When people want to learn a song, they will, and quickly.  I witnessed an entire classroom of girls singing, by heart, an Adele song, without aid of word sheets or anything.  The whole song, about subjects that they at their age presumably don't have any notion of what they are about; yet they sing every word.

1) sugest lessions

2) Get a djembe - easy to play

3) Change practice time

4) Have a team meeting and be honest

1) Get some bongos or a djembe or a cajon and put the other guitarist on that. Most any rhythm guitar player can also do a simple percussion.  You need it.

2) see above

3) that is always the rub. We are limited as well, time wise. I do not have  a good answer for that one.

4) The problem with criticism is that it starts rubbing our egos the wrong way.  I have found that even novices can notice something off that I don't or can come up with some awesome suggestions. But you need to establish a protocol for making that kind of input as to the proper time and place (and enforce it) so it does not cut into your already short practice time.


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