Strangers in worship: Three conversations to engage in when having a visiting team minister

This week I was pleased to have a guest blogger- the associate pastor of Nairobi Chapel South, Barak Mondia, tell us from his perspective, three things a church should do when inviting a new worship team to minister

strangers-in-worship

Six months ago, we were commissioned to plant a church in the South C area of Nairobi. I quickly learned that church planting offers its own unique set of challenges. For starters, we don’t have the luxury of having a couple of worship teams at hand. This, in turn, translates to having the same people leading worship every Sunday. This is a recipe for burnout. So we made a decision to invite a worship team or a worship leader from a different church every month or so just to give our team a break to enjoy worship.

Recently, we had a visiting worship team lead us in song. I really loved how the team ministered both prophetically and powerfully to our congregation. But as I watched the team on stage and our congregants, I realized that I had actually dropped a major ball.

I noted that the way this team led and the way our congregation was used to being led in worship were two completely different styles. Not that the team did a bad job, or that our congregants were not receptive, on the contrary, the worship was powerful that Sunday- the energy levels were extremely high, the worship, spirit-filled and the music creative.

As I observed the whole service, I thought that there should have been a way for me to prepare our congregation, our staff team and the visiting team.

1. Prepare your team

I kept thinking how lucky we were that we knew the visiting team. However, it would have been an absolute blunder if the worship team did not believe in the same things we did. Can you imagine the amount of damage control we would have had to do if any of the worship leaders gave a heretic word in between their set?

We always have to remember that the team that is visiting will go back to their home church and you will be left with a confused congregation or a group of visitors who might never return to your church because they assume that that’s what you believe in.

Preparing your team to be on standby will help you keep things in check just in case the team says or does something that is not in tandem with your beliefs. It may also help to have your team attend the practice sessions of the visiting team.

This will help you cover a few things:

  1. You will get to know whether the visiting team holds the same standards when it comes to music excellence. This allows your team to be ready just in case the visiting team is not well trained, prepared or musically gifted.

For a very long time we have insisted that people should listen to the lyrics and not the voices. The problem with that thought is that we have completely disregarded excellence and found a way to celebrate mediocrity. In fact, this is how the writer of Colossians puts it: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

strangers-in-worshipq1

  1. Have a member from your team introduce the visiting team and also lead prayer during worship. Worship is very relational, if the congregation doesn’t know the team leading, they will struggle to connect. Having a team member introduce the visitors lends authority to them. Having a team member lead prayer reduces the chances of someone saying something that is slightly off.

strangers-in-worshipq2

2. Prepare your congregation

As stated earlier, worship is very relational. {If I were to be honest, every part of the service is extremely relational}. It would therefore be wise to make an announcement the Sunday before that you intend on having a visiting team lead worship.

If you attended their practice session and you already know that they lead worship very differently from your team then prepare your congregation, tell them it is going to be a different kind of worship. Imagine inviting a rock worship band to a church that is used to singing hymns? Change is hard to accept. Communicating allows the congregation to come prepared for change. This will make the service easier for them, you and the visiting team.

Ministry is all about care and when we communicate with our congregations concerning changes in the program, it also communicates that you care about them.

strangers-in-worshipq3

3. Prepare the visiting team

The last and most important conversation to have is with the visiting team. This conversation should be divided into a pre-visit conversation and post-visit conversation.

Pre-visit Conversation

Give the visiting team as much information about your service as possible. Over explain. The more information the visiting team has, the better they will minister in your church. Two cannot walk together unless they agree; therefore, find ways to iron out any differences you may have in approach. Find out what equipment they may need and make the relevant adjustments.

Take this time to also pray together. Always remember it is not a performance you are calling them to, rather you are calling them to minister.

Post-visit conversation

Arrange a meeting with the team or their team leader following their ministration. This is where you ask them what they observed, struggled with or what you as a church could improve on. The truth of the matter is, there is always something you can learn from others, and sometimes it takes fresh eyes to notice a problem that has been brewing right under your nose.

Ask questions like:

  • What could we have done to make your visit more impactful?
  • What changes can we make for our service to be better?
  • What did you notice about our congregation?

This is also a good time for you to give the visiting team feedback on how they led and areas they can improve on. It would be wise if you considered giving this feedback a day or even a week after the day they led. This is because most ministers already know what they did wrong and are beating themselves. Offering recommendations immediately after service could actually discourage the team. Take a day or two, or even a week to craft your recommendations in a way that would build and encourage the team.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s