9 Tips for Successful Praise and Worship Teams
I was doing some more research when I stumbled across this Praise and Worship Team Training video. I was very impressed with Minister Cassandra Hunsucker’s presentation. She starts off by clearly letting her viewers know what to expect during the video.
This is a Must View for churches considering the implementation of a praise and worship team. And it is a GREAT review for seasoned worship leaders and teams. I’ve taken the time to review some of her key points:
1) You’re team should have a uniformed look
She stresses although we all want to celebrate our individuality, different patterns can be distracting. Keep it simple, crisp and clean.
2) Watch what you do
Remember everybody is looking at you. The Praise Team’s role is to usher people into the presence of the Lord. I like to say, “Praise and Worship is to supposed to be participatory NOT a spectator sport seen on the side lines.”
3) Keep your eyes open
This one really spoke to me as often times I am closing my eyes. Cassandra indicates that we are to lead and in order to do this we must be looking to see what is going on around us. I never really thought about assessing whether the congregation is looking around, whether they were confused or bored.
She tells us that it is up to the team to engage the congregation helping them learn the song. She’s right, if our eyes are closed we will be doing our own thing and bless God, I have missed cues because my eyes were closed.
4) Sing the song like you mean it
Facial expression and body language should reflect the words we are singing.
I taught dance for years and this is one thing I always told my dancers. Congregations always know if you are sincere – if you are feeling it. A song sung or a dance danced without the accompaniment of facial expressions and body language will bore the congregation.
I remember singing on a choir once and the lyrics were, “If your happy and you know it, say Amen.” Since we video tape our services, we saw ourselves on TV and it was an absolute shame. Only two people were actually smiling and showing joy.
The congregation should follow the praise team lead. If the song says lift your hands, the team is expected to lift their hands and if the team is successful in engaging the congregation, they will in turn raise their hands.
5) Cut down on down time
Music should flow. It is awkward waiting to for the next song to be cued. If I could add something here it would be that one song really needs to lead into another because if the Praise Team is standing their awkwardly so is the congregation – at least those who were actively participating. Typically what happens is those who were standing engaged in worship will end up sitting down and are reserved about standing up again.
6) Get engaged
When the focus is off of the Praise Team but on another component and if team is expected to stay in place, we should be engaged with what is going on in the service. Team should participate in the ‘Call and Response’ and as Cassandra says, if there is a command to clap or shout, the team should clap or shout.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Learn the words, prepare the team of the songs that will be sung. We practice faithfully as a team, but there are times during Sunday morning services where, as a team, we are less prepared. The team stands awkwardly in front of the congregation and plays the ‘Name that Note’ game.
8) Embrace imperfection
Whew… One day it was four of us singing. We were singing the the song, “Our God is Awesome.. He can Move Mountains” when three of the four of us forgot the first word to the second line. You couldn’t hide we were out there. We smiled and were able to recover with knowing the remaining words. It was embarrassing, but it does happen.
Prayer is a key ingredient in all services. I would like to add that it should be done not only during Sunday mornings, but during rehearsals as well. I like what Cassandra adds in that everyone wants to be praised and admired and for everything to go through smoothly and if we are not careful we give room to obsessiveness, prideful, controlling, insecure or even fearful. Prayer reminds us of our call, gives us wisdom, settles our anxieties, etc.
From what I have been able to gather Min. Cassandra Hunsucker is of the Nations Ford Community Church in North Carolina. She is available to teach classes, workshops, seminars and conferences. You can personally send your comment and/or a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.