I was once asked the question, “How can we uncover new talent without having a musical “altar call” … volunteers are often very poor judges of their own ability!”

I’ll agree, it is very difficult to find musicians to join in serving in our churches. And once we find them, it is often even more difficult to get them in the ministry team! And precisely for that reason, because volunteers are very often poor judges of their own ability. This runs both ways, however. Some volunteers with poor judgement of their musical abilities tend to overestimate themselves, and then become difficult to get rid of.

In a church music ministry team, the desire is often to create our idea of a good ‘worship band’ as quickly and easily as possible. This is why we might have ‘musical altar-calls.’ Perhaps a better way is this: build personal, Christ-centred relationships with people. Basically, what I am suggesting is that we disciple people, which is what Jesus commands us to do in Matthew 28v19. Getting people into God’s Kingdom is far more important than getting them into the worship team! This way you build into their lives and encourage them in their faith, which is far more valuable than standing before God at the end saying, “I played tambourine in the worship band every second Sunday.”

Now this approach is very slow. When you start discipling one or two people who you know are musicians, you might only have two new people in your music team in 6 months. But I can assure you that those people will find it easier to love Jesus first and their music second, and to see themselves as humble servants of God. It will also help you to understand where a person is at with God. Perhaps they are a brilliant musician, but they wouldn’t be the right person to be serving in this ministry. So ask around and find out who the musicians are among the congregation. Then approach them and suggest you start reading the Bible and praying together regularly. Talk to them about their music. It will become obvious to you whether or not they would be a valuable addition to the music ministry team. But even after you have brought them on board, continue to be concerned about their love for Jesus. Keep talking to them and praying with them, and reading the Bible with them, so that your relationship is based around Christ, rather than music. This also makes it much simpler to deal with issues in the music team, if everyone is there for God’s glory first and music second.

This is a slow way to build a music ministry team. But the team that is built on Christ as a foundation will be the team that really serves the congregation by pointing them to Jesus, and truly serves God by giving their best for his glory. After all, that is what we’re really here to do.

Written by Clint Lombard