I will never forget the first time I led worship in my youth group. The lyrics were displayed by a projector with transparent slides lighting the walls. I had a junky guitar my dad bought for me at an auction, and I did a version of “Trading My Sorrows” that played a little fast and loose with the tempo. But my heart exploded with joy in the fact that we all got to sing a song that resonated with our group.

Fast-forward a decade or so, and I was serving in a great church as a volunteer, playing with a band, leading worship every weekend when my heart began to grow tired and bitter toward serving. My mentor graciously pulled me aside and gently corrected my attitude and reminded me of the grace we had been given to serve in that capacity.

I think it is fairly safe to assume that as a volunteer there are always times we are serving out of delight and times we are serving out of duty. Where I now serve as a worship leader, it is my responsibility to shepherd in a way that leads to more seasons of delight and fewer seasons of duty. A good leader can fulfill that responsibility by finding the right people for the team, building up the current team, and knowing the team well enough to love them well.

“How did you find out?”

Finding volunteers in a music ministry can be difficult because of the specific gifts necessary, so when I find someone that can serve, I am pretty quick to contact about joining the team. Someone told me about a talented person in our church once. I asked them if they would like to serve, and they responded, “How did you find out?” That is not a great start to team addition. I have hounded people into service before, and in every instance, things eventually went bad. It is much better in the long term to add a less talented team member who sees their gifts and abilities as an opportunity to serve rather than a talented individual who dislikes being on the team.

“If you need me, I’ll do it.”

Early in team building, this tends to be a common response, and in this case a good leader can guide someone from duty to delight. The hope is that eventually, the same person will serve on the team and exclaim, “Can you believe we get to do this?” but until that happens, this can still be a safe addition to a team if you lead them well.

“We need to add more people to lighten the load.”

Leading a team is never static, so leaders need to be aware of the hearts of team members. On my team I want to hear people say, “Who can we add to our team to share this with them?” not, “Should we add more people to lighten the load?” These are two drastically different questions, and if the latter is asked, it could be a warning that team members are losing delight and beginning to serve out of duty.

Creating a culture of serving in delight is difficult. It means adding people that may be less qualified, encouraging people who are hurting, and constantly correcting team morale. However, as leaders in the church, we want the joy of the Lord to lead us and in turn lead the church. This can only happen if we delight in our service and lead our team members to do the same.

Jared Johnson

Jared Johnson

Jared Johnson is the worship and communications leader at Valley Life | Tramonto.