It’s been almost 5 months. Nothing could have prepared us for how quickly our weekend services and the method of ministry would change. Overnight, we went from experts to students. Each week has become a learning experience for worship leaders. We are learning how to do things we might have been afraid to learn before. Congregational worship has traditionally been an in-person activity yet it’s a clean slate with where we’re standing today. The music is an integral part of the worship experience. A lot of ministry leaders never would have heard the call to ministry if it hadn’t been through a worship experience. Church members and guests still want music, even if they’re at home. The pandemic has provided challenges and opportunities. For the most part, churches and worship leaders have risen above and are going the extra mile. Many church leaders though are doubting if the worship leader position is really needed for the future of worship. If there is ever a time that a church needs a worship leader it’s now. Here are my thoughts on why we need this position more than ever before.
For our first weekend of going fully online, we had three days to prepare! Initially, everyone scrambled. Admit it if you were one of those worship leaders. The technical side of moving the worship part of the church service online is something many churches struggled with. Most worship leaders had to transition from being a worship leader to a video producer over night. Countless churches around the country have moved to online-only events or explored alternative ways to meet. Digital tools and channels that were once considered optional are rapidly becoming essential. This transformation has led to an unprecedented push to modernize the way we do church. Some churches have essentially been forced into being online-only. Others are choosing to do it out of an abundance of caution. Some are simply making live streaming an option. Over the last few years, a lot of churches have used live streaming as a way to serve members who were out of town or sick. Now, it’s a necessity for everyone. What you invest right now and the experience you collect along the way will pay dividends long after the panic wanes. Our main jobs have been helping pastors and church leaders reframe our challenges and utilizing the technology that God has blessed us with to do an even better job and be more effective. As we begin to accept the digital interface as our new medium of weekend ministry, we’ve got to continue to learn how to improve what is presented.
Worship leaders all say the pandemic has bumped up the pastoral part of their job. Your ministry thrives on personal relationships. You have an opportunity though to increase your digital touch points. And while these may feel like temporary solutions, this moment has the potential to permanently enhance your ministry. COVID-19 has actually caused us to do a better job of picking up the phone and checking on our teams. It’s an opportunity for greater connection. There are some connections that are probably stronger now than they were before. Right now, you want to give your team as many opportunities to hear from you as possible. They need your wisdom, leadership, and presence. A lot of your work right now should be all about people. If you want to worship together in person down the road, you better have done your homework in keeping the community together while we can’t gather. Worship leaders are also taking this time to improve their musical skills or learn more about making music in a new way with their teams.
Your congregation is more primed now than ever before to choose digital experiences. So offer them. Worship leaders are often the most creative thinkers in the building and they’ve had to think far outside the box during this time. While online services have been positive for churches overall, replicating the music portion falls short of being there in person. When we have to do everything online, it forces us to innovate musically. Your congregation appreciates anything that you can do during this time. A lot of people are used to worshipping on Sundays but a lot of worship leaders are seeing that Sundays aren’t the only day that works for people. Worship leaders are creating worship experiences throughout the week to show that worship just doesn’t have to happen on Sundays. Others even have gathered in church parking lots so they could see each other and sing together. Worship leaders are also coming up with creative ways of creating virtual choir videos — videos of members singing from home. These are true labors of love. Bottom line, perspective is everything! I believe this entire COVID-19 pandemic, though hard, has also presented an incredible opportunity for innovation and creativity as we navigate next steps in ministry.
The model of how we do church has changed drastically! As hard as this has been, I believe it has shown us what we’re capable of offering and that we can’t do it without the creative minds of worship leaders. Through all of this, we’ve learned adaptation and perseverance. There is a oneness with our fellow worship leaders. Those of us who compose, conduct, accompany, or provide music for our churches in any way. I encourage you to not only think of this as a season, but as the new normal of our present and future! When you look at what God has given us and instructed us to do when we gather, singing is fundamental. It is a non-negotiable. It’s critical to the gathering and to individual faith.
Written by Meggan Jacobus, Staffing Manager at Froot Group Staffing.
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