Posted by Jesse Phillips on 12 January 2018

Being a worship leader in 2018 is tricky. There are more public opinions about worship ministry than ever before, more new songs released each week than you could possibly sift through, and production value has gone through the roof. 

How can one person possibly keep up? I’ve compiled a list of 10 tools you can use with your worship team that will not only help you keep up, but help you thrive where God has planted you.

10. Pinterest

You heard me right. Pinterest! It’s not just a place for recipes and inspirational quotes about working out. Pinterest is a rich resource to find creative ideas for set and stage design. While the design of your stage might not be first in line with whatever budget your church has, it’s a great way to make an experience more inviting for your congregation. Plus, creating a stage design volunteer team might be a perfect way to involve someone in the worship ministry that is truly terrible on piano. Just saying.

Here is a board with some great design ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/jakewandel/stage-design-ideas/ 

9. GroupMe

Community and communication are both key within worship ministry. The ironic thing about communicating is that while there are more tools than ever to communicate, it’s harder to find a platform that everyone uses.

Your super trendy electric guitarist might respond to your Snapchat story right away, but he probably hasn’t checked his Facebook messages in weeks. And your matronly organist might check her home phone every hour, but thinks Instagram is some sort of cracker.

It’s important to get everyone on the same page to establish community apart from seeing each other Sunday morning or on Thursday rehearsals. One way to do that would be downloading GroupMe or a similar app that people can use exclusively for worship ministry communication. If you find that everyone is already on Facebook and uses it daily, that might be a great place to start a group message. The point is to find a place everyone can mutually communicate about events, prayer requests, and even song suggestions.

8. Blogs

There are so many rich resources out there in blog format. There are topics out there ranging from super practical things about worship technology to the importance of theology in worship lyrics. One neat thing you can do for your worship team is curate some of the content in these blogs to share with specific members of your band.

Does your drummer need a little help? Send him this great link: https://weareworship.com/us/blog/10-things-every-church-drummer-must-know.

Does your lead guitar player want to know more about effects pedals? Here’s a great place to find out about new pedals each month: https://www.worshipgtr.com/category/the-latest-worship-guitar-gear/guitar-effects-pedals-for-worship

With just a little bit of time and some googling skills, these blogs can be indispensable for your team. A couple of good starts would be to check out thechurchcollective.com and davidsantistevan.com, and of course the WeAreWorship blog you’re reading right now!

7. Sites for Learning Parts

Even as a full-time worship leader, it would be difficult to sit down and get together every single part your musicians and vocalists should learn for a Sunday. Thankfully there are some websites dedicated to doing just that!

WorshipTutorials.com is a great free resource for learning guitar parts, WorshipOnline.com is a paid site but they have incredible videos for each instrument and vocal part, and WorshipArtistry.com also has videos for multiple parts and a really cool blog.

6. Podcasts

One of my favorite resources is podcasts. It can almost feel like you’re getting a chance to have a conversation with an expert without actually being there. They’re not only great for consuming on an individual basis, but also starting conversations within your team. See what it would look like to all subscribe to a podcast and use that as a community builder in your GroupMe chat. Two good ones to start with are the Beyond Sunday podcast (http://www.davidsantistevan.com/beyond-sunday-podcast) and the WeAreWorship Podcast (https://www.weareworship.com/us/podcast).

5. Workshops

Although most of my tools for 2018 are digital, there’s still something special about getting personal interaction from someone you’re learning from. There are multiple organizations that revolve around coming to your church and conducting workshops for the musicians and singers on your team. These workshops usually include bigger corporate worship times and then smaller breakout sessions that dive into specific topics such as: creating electric guitar tones, writing songs for your church, and even developing leadership skills. If you’re interested in bringing something like that to your church you should check out WorshipTeamBuilder.com and ToolsForWorship.com/events.

4. Multitracks

Something that’s been getting more and more buzz is the use of multitracks in worship music. This is usually something that bigger churches gravitate towards because it can help with production value, but it’s also pretty expensive to get into. But with technology becoming more and more accessible there’s room for all churches to use it now.

For those that don’t know, multitracks are recorded parts that are played alongside live musicians in order to enhance and fill out the live sound. They’re useful for when you have a bass player get sick Sunday before service and you can’t find a replacement.

The world of multitracks is pretty enormous, but to keep it simple they can be utilized by any size church for the purpose of filling out the sound of the band. I would use this tastefully depending on the size of your church and worship team. It might seem odd to have full drums, synths, and backup singers playing through the sound system with just one guy leading worship with an acoustic guitar.

It’s easier than you might think to run these kinds of tracks at your church. If you’re looking at just getting started, check out this video from multitracks.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRX4eZHkZkg. If you’ve already been utilizing multitracks with your church, check out some cool ways to integrate lighting and video with programs like Ableton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpT4XCkM_c0.

3. YouTube

This is one of the most amazing resources to me. I grew up as a missionary’s kid in the Philippines and I would always crave communication with other musicians. Whenever I got to meet another guitar player I would ask them all about their rig, what amps they liked, what strings they used, and anything else I could think up. My family would also go to the city once a month where I could download tabs and tutorials onto floppy disks to bring back to our home computer.

When I moved back to the States in high school, YouTube had just started and I was in awe that I could get online, type in a song name plus “guitar tutorial” and there would usually be some guy teaching that song.

Here are some essential YouTube channels for your worship team:

Keys

Our Worship Sound: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9a-HaDSmEP0g3EeT59nrhQ 

Guitar

Worship Tutorials (for more than just learning parts on guitar!):

https://www.youtube.com/user/brianwahlband 

ToneJunkie TV

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLJToHVYkoRHqyg_mDZRVvg

Drums

WorshipDrummer:

https://www.youtube.com/user/WorshipDrummerTV

Tech

Worship Tech Tools: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVSzVRPddUNbLJmc144zrAA

2. Worship Pads

Over the last few years worship pads have become a standard in modern worship music. A pad sound can be played on keys or guitar and is usually a very calming drone. If you’ve never heard them, think about the warm sounds they play in a spa (not that I go to spa’s or anything… just from what I see on TV…)

When you’re leading worship with just one or two live instruments, worship pads could be a great resource for you to fill out your sound. They’re also great for transitions between songs, soft music behind prayer, or even to use in your own quiet times as well. Here’s a great video for those wondering how to use worship pads: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQlDFbZ-giQ

There are plenty of companies that provide pads and here are a few:

ThatWorshipSound.com

https://thatworshipsound.com/product-tag/ambient-pads/

Worship Tutorials

https://www.worshiptutorials.com/pads/

ToolsForWorship.com

https://toolsforworship.com/resources-1/ 

1. The Bible

I know this may sound like an obvious resource for worship ministry, but I can honestly say that most churches I’ve been a part of have rarely used Scripture in worship teams. The majority of the time, the only instance a Bible is opened in worship teams is when a leader reads a verse between songs. The Bible is perhaps the richest and most underused resource we have in worship ministry.

More than just teaching about “worship”, the Bible can teach your worship team how to fight their battles. Your worship team is not just a group of musicians and singers that come together to play songs. Your worship team is a group of moms, dads, sons, and daughters that leave Sunday morning services with real life hurts and struggles. Community is essential for each one of those precious people who comprise your team, but at the heartbeat of it should be a love for God that is cultivated in the very Word He has given.

If you would like to start using the Bible more as a resource in worship ministry here are some ways that might be helpful:

1.     Ask your team for their favorite worship songs and then find the Scripture that it’s based on. Give a devotion each Sunday about a song you’ll be leading in order to connect everyone with the message that’s being sung.

2.     Have your teaching pastor meet with your worship team as a way to equip and encourage them with verses before your service.

3.     Download the YouVersion app and select a study for your worship team to walk through in their daily quiet times.

Take advantage of all that 2018 has to offer to you and your worship team. I pray that it’s the best year yet and that you’re able to see breakthrough happen in your church!

More like this

Learning from the Elbow

So just what does the latest album from Elbow have to teach worship leaders? Plenty.  Anyone who knows me is well aware of my obsession with the Manchester band Elbow, and my friends have all been properly proselytized by now. Stalking...

We Are Worship Podcast: Church Transitioning - Chris McClarney

Wisdom is joined by Chris McClarney to talk about transitions in and out of church!

5 Ways to Develop As RE-Creator

Allow Your Emotions to Be Expressed

God created us with emotions. And art is a healthier way to express how we are feeling, than repressing those feelings.

"A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art." -Paul Cézanne

"I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say 'he feels deeply, he feels tenderly.'" -Vincent Van Gogh

"I applied streaks and blobs of colors onto the canvas with a palette knife and I made them sing with all the intensity I could..." -Wassily Kandinsky