8 Tips On How To Improve Your Singing

By Natalia Sander, M.A.

Singers are a very special kind of musician. While guitar players, drummers, and pianists rely on their physical instruments, singers have their tool inside them. Maintaining its quality is a special task.

You can learn how to care for your voice and get the best out of it. Here are the 8 best tips on how to improve your voice. Some vocal tips may seem obvious, some might be new for you. Let’s get started.

Who are these vocal tips intended for?

Of course, it makes a difference if you’re a classical singer or a pop singer or no singer at all. The following tips are suitable for all kind of musicians and non-musicians. These are the basics of singing. The basics which will teach you how to use the instrument inside your body.

1. Take care of your health to improve your voice

  1. Make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. The membranes which produce the sound function best when hydrated.
  2. Whenever the throat feels scratchy, stay silent and let your voice rest.
  3. When having a cold, try not to sing. Drink some tea, eat cough candy and be quiet instead.
  4. Quit smoking if you want your voice to be better. Smoke damages your lungs and throat. You don’t need it for the smoky voice either – learn how to sing with smoky voice without cigarettes.
  5. There are also some foods that might affect your voice. Those are spicy food, coffee, alcohol, milk products, and nuts. Try out if they harm your voice.

2. Warm up before singing

Are you having cracks in your voice when singing? Does the throat hurt after singing? That’s a sign you need to warm up (more) next time. Your vocal cords need a warm up, just like your body muscles before doing sports.

What is a vocal warm-up? A set of exercises which prepare the voice and body for singing or speaking. It includes the following:

No worries if you haven’t done it before: It’s not difficult and many people have recorded tutorials showing warm up exercises.

How deep or high you start, depends on the type of your voice. Make sure to warm up both, the chest and head voices. This video brings it to a point and shows a set of exercises. Here’s another nice video so warm up to:

3. Sing at least 30 minutes a day

How to improve your voice? By practicing! Just like every other workout, you need to train your voice daily. A short daily practice will make your vocal cords stronger. Day by day, your voice will become better. If you can make the time, try to sing for a couple of hours daily.

Take care before important gigs and auditions: Don’t overdo the night before. You need your voice smooth and rested when performing. Better sing just a little the day before.

4. Record your voice to listen to yourself

In order to know how you really sound when singing, you need to record yourself.

  • Use the computer or smartphone or even an online free song recorder.
  • Sing a song you know well – so you can concentrate on HOW to sing it instead of what to sing.
  • Listen to the recording you made. At first, you probably won’t like it. Get over it and listen to your mistakes to learn from them. Notice what you did well, too.
  • Compare the way you’re singing to the original recording. What does the singer do better? What can you change to sound more unique?
  • Practice some ear training exercises – the better your ear, the better you’ll be singing

Alternatively, you can use this famous trick. Close one ear to listen to your voice the way others hear it.

5. Sing songs you are comfortable with

Respect your limits and choose songs you are capable of singing. When exercising, choose something a little challenging but manageable. For performances and auditions, it’s even more important to stick to pieces you’ll manage.

6. Express emotions while singing

This is one of the dullest tips I ever got from my vocal teachers (get yourself a teacher, by the way!): You have to feel the song. And she was right! You can totally hear the difference if somebody is singing from the heart or simply repeating the words and the melody. So singing with emotions is a huge factor to improve your voice.

Try those steps:

  • Choose songs you can relate to.
  • Use your facial expression to stress what you’re singing about.
  • Sing in front of the mirror and look for eye-contact of your audience.
  • Try out different stressing, record your voice and check which one you like most.

7. Sing quietly

Singing quietly is probably the most challenging part of the singing process. Many amateur singers try to sing very loud to make up for wrong notes. Try to avoid this. It will damage your cords. Additionally, too loud singing sounds cranky instead of powerful.

In any case, avoid screaming and don’t strain your voice. A soft voice is achieved by correct body language and breath (point 8).

8. Use your body & breath to improve your voice

  1. The body is the most important instrument for a performer. The best tips are to avoid tensions in neck and shoulders. Unlock your knees and control your breath.
  2. It’s best to breath into your belly (diaphragm) instead of your chest. Don’t move your shoulders when breathing in. Ken Taylor explains how it works in a pretty nice way: 
  3. Think down when you are singing high notes. There is the tendency to lift the chin at high notes. Resist the urge and also think of adding some weight to the notes to support your voice.
  4. Keep your chin down to sound better. You can practice in front of a mirror and record yourself to hear a difference.

How to train your voice to sound better? – a quick exercise

  1. Stand in front of the mirror.
  2. Stand upright, without tension in your knees or neck.
  3. Start slowly breathing in and out through your belly (diaphragm).
  4. Start singing some scales in a comfortable pitch to slowly warm up your body. First, sing them with a closed mouth and the letter “m”. Then move on to “na”. And then to a “la”.
  5. After you warmed up, choose a song you can comfortably sing. Sing it in front of the mirror and watch your body language and mimics. Try to sing the text of the song to yourself, as if you would talk to a lovely friend. Do you notice any difference in your voice?
  6. Watching or recording yourself might be odd in the beginning, but it will truly help you. Especially, if you are not taking vocal classes with a teacher.

Those tips were collected for you by Natalia, Yalda and the rest of the sofasession team. We hope you find them a useful summary to help improve your voice!

The original post is here

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21 Day Challenge

What challenges are on the horizon for this year? There are always a lot unknown factors to deal with but what can I do to best equip myself to be successful this year?

I am going to start this year with a 21 Day Challenge to reinforce my good habits and overcome some lazy habits that have made their way into my daily routine. I want to make sure my priorities are right, that God has first place, and my personal habits are on track. Here are my main goals to get this year started out right:

Overall Goal: To get my body, soul, and spirit in the best shape possible.

1. Read God’s Word daily: Do my regular reading thru the Bible in a year and also read through the Gospels in 21 days: Matthew to John: 4 chapters per day (to get to know Jesus better)

2. Pray daily: (spend a minimum of 3-10 minute prayer times on my knees: AM, Lunch, PM)

3. Worship daily: (Play piano and/or guitar and sing to God)

4. Memorize one Bible verse per week:

Jeremiah 29:11-13: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.’”

Psalm 27:13-14: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”

Hebrews 12:1-2Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. 

5. Read a great Christian book: The Apostle: The Life Of Paul

6. Minimize Social Media: Only use Facebook & Twitter for posting daily readings: (30 min/per day max.)

7. Fast TV one day per week and minimize TV exposure: (1 hour per day for 6 days).

8. Fast food one day per week: Full fast one day per week and follow the Daniel Plan the other 6 days per week (no rich foods).

  • Acceptable Foods: All fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. tofu, herbs and spices and water.
  • Foods to avoid: All meats and animal products, all dairy products, all deep fried foods, all solid fats, wine, sweeteners, all leavened bread.

9. Don’t eat or snack after 8 PM: (my personal weakness)

10. Exercise daily: a minimum of 60 minutes per day/6 days per week (walk, run, gym, stretch, bike, squash, tennis, pickleball, snowshoe or ski)

11. Be positive in all my speech: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

12. Write one new song per week: Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise from the ends of the earth…  Isaiah 42:10

“Call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”

Question: What can you do for the next 21 days to challenge yourself?

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Christmas Humour (Part 4)









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What Does A Full-Time Worship Pastor Do?

People often don’t understand what goes into their Sunday morning worship each week. What does a full-time worship pastor do the rest of the week? I was recently asked to describe my weekly schedule. Here is what works for me.

I normally work at the church three days a week and at home for three days. I usually write detailed charts for the band and vocals which can also include string and brass parts, so I spend a good 6-10 hours per week charting music. I am also an early riser so I usually start at 5 AM. I know that doesn’t work for most music guys but I would love to see how this schedule lines up with other worship pastors.

Monday: 5 AM-3 PM – Home (7-8 hours)
Normal activities include: Bible Reading, prayer, chart writing, reading, recruiting & scheduling musicians (email, texting and PlanningCenter.com), downloading and editing tracks & music charts, researching new songs and sending out a detailed email for that week’s rehearsal.

Tuesday: 5 AM – 7:30 – Home
8:30 AM – 3 PM Church (7-8 hours)
Normal activities include: Bible reading, prayer, reading, preparation, set-up and leading worship at mid-week church services, administration (paying bills), staff meeting and staff prayer.

Wednesday: 5 AM – 3 PM – Home (7-8 hours)
Normal activities include: Bible reading, prayer, song & lyric writing, personal worship, practising for Thursday rehearsal, repair and upgrade of church equipment, scheduling musicians, reviewing long-term schedules and events, reading, chart writing, contacting next week’s worship leader and editing the worship list.

Thursday: 5 AM – 11 AM – Home
1 PM – 9:30 PM Church (9-11 hours)
Normal activities include: Bible reading, prayer, review of all vocal and instrumental parts for evening rehearsal, personal rehearsal, worship auditions, staff report, meeting with the lead pastor, editing lyrics with the media person, reviewing the sound and set-up with the soundman, clean-up & set-up of the stage for rehearsal, auditions, evening rehearsal and training musicians, singers and worship leaders.

Friday: 7 AM – 9 AM – Home
11 AM – 3 PM (4-5 hours)
Normal activities include: Bible reading, prayer, reading, memorizing music for Sunday, finalizing songs and musicians for the following week and start writing charts for next week.

Saturday: Day off 
Normal activities: Bible reading, prayer, personal worship with the songs for Sunday.

Sunday: 5 AM – 6:30 AM – Home
7 AM – 2 PM – Church
5:30 PM – 8 PM – Church (10-12 hours)
Normal activities: Bible reading, prayer, set-up and practice with musicians, three Sunday services, social time with musicians & congregational members, review of services with worship leaders and musicians.

Total Hours – Church & Home: (46-54 hours)

Other activities which happen periodically include: Preparation for speaking and writing, special music and scripts for Christmas, Easter, and special events. Organizing and leading music for evenings of prayer and other meetings. Attending conferences. Going for coffee/meals with various worship team, congregants & pastoral members. Meeting with regional worship leaders. Counselling. Teaching other worship pastors through webinars and blogging. Recording.

Question: Music pastors: what does your schedule look like?

Check out my new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

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The Secret Of Going From Good To Great

Have you ever seen a musician or an athlete and wonder how they got that good? Each of us are born with different talents. But none of us becomes an expert at something overnight. That is where diligence and personal discipline separates people who are good and people who are great!

It wasn’t until I was in university that I really learned the secret to conquering difficult skills. It is a  secret that can be transferred into many areas of study. Here is the secret! Break down the difficult skill into daily bite size pieces. What part of that difficult skill or task can you learn today? Then daily, step by step, slowly add to your skill level until you conquer that skill.

Let me give you an example from my musical studies. I once had to learn an extremely difficult piece of piano music that was around eighty bars long. It was a way above my skill level. But I realized that I could learn the first two or three bars today if I just slowly broke them down and spent a couple of hours practising. I would learn the right hand for the first few bars and then I would learn the left hand for the same section. Then I would slowly put the hands together at 1/4 speed and slowly increase the speed until I had learned those few bars perfectly.

Then over a matter of a few months, working on the music daily, I slowly learned more and more bars until I had mastered that piece of music. It was just a matter of slowly learning a bit more each day in a disciplined manner. I simply learned how to practise properly and diligently. I learned not to practise my mistakes but to slowly learn something bit by bit and daily add to that knowledge.

It’s a powerful principle! I have applied it to learning new sports. I have applied it to memorizing large portions of the Bible. And, I have applied it to orchestrating large musical scores with dozens of musical instruments. It works for so many areas of life.

Learn to break down the larger problem or challenge into bite size chunks. Learn to tackle that project daily and build on the success of the day before. It is amazing what difficult skills and projects that you can conquer if you slowly develop the skills and knowledge on a daily basis.

God has given us amazing minds and bodies. If we apply great discipline, diligence and wisdom, it is amazing what we can do! It is amazing what difficult skills we can master. And in doing so, we will go slowly go from good to great!

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.
Jim Rohn

All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.
The Apostle Paul

The discipline you learn and character you build from setting and achieving a goal can be more valuable than the achievement of the goal itself.
Bo Bennett ~ Tech Guru

We all naturally want to become successful… we also want to take shortcuts. And it’s easy to do so, but you can never take away the effort of hard work and discipline and sacrifice.
Apolo Ohno ~ Olympic Gold Medal Speed Skater

We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons!
Jim Rohn

Check out my new book: “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure’. It is now available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

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Worship Leader Stage Presence

by Katie Eckeberger…

You might think it odd that I’m addressing stage presence in a worship leading context, but all too often I see worship leaders struggling to maintain a leading presence for their congregations. It might be a confidence issue, or they worry about getting in the way of God and “humble” themselves too much, trying to become invisible. Unfortunately, this can actually become a distraction. Our congregations need us to fulfill our role with authority and confidence so they can worship effortlessly.

So how can we be confident, while still honoring God with humility? Here’s some things I have learned:

Eye Contact:

There are certainly moments when closed eyes are appropriate. But excessively closed eyes can create an invisible barrier between us and the congregation. A friend told me once, “Our worship can still be personal without being private.” That’s the key: communal worship is not a time for us to close off from the people we are leading. We are there to worship together! Incredible personal connections are made when we make eye contact – it engages people, helps them feel known and loved, and communicates a shared feeling. It helps us draw closer to God together.


Have you ever been led in worship by a person who seems afraid or uncomfortable on the platform? It’s uncomfortable for everybody and can create tension in the air. Open yourself up to your congregation: stand up straight, facing front and sometimes tilting left or right to physically address every person in the room. This stance is engaging and conveys confidence. Don’t deny the authority God and your community have given you. In addition, people need to see our visual cues for where the song is going. Most people in our congregations are not musical and don’t feel things like musicians do. We need to guide them well with our body language.

Visual & Verbal Cues:

We may have heard songs like “Mighty to Save” a hundred times and could lead it in our sleep, but there will always (hopefully) be people in our congregations who are new and need some guidance. If we do a good job communicating where the song is going, we eliminate distraction and it’s easier for everyone to focus on worship. Giving some quick & simple cues can help people follow along and this builds trust between you and the congregation:

Visual: Use of hand gestures to signal when we invite them to sing, stepping back from the mic during instrumental breaks, emoting through our body language when appropriate, raising our hands or clapping to encourage others to do the same, etc.

Verbal: One option is “vocal lead-ins” – singing/saying the first couple words of the next phrase to let people know what to sing next. You can invite them to sing by saying things like, “Let’s sing that again.” or “Raise your voices with us.” Also, you can communicate what’s happening – “Will you stand and sing with us?” or “We invite you to sit and rest to soak in these words.” Develop some ideas ahead of time that feel appropriate for you and your congregation.

Personal Connections:

Don’t be afraid to talk, pray, or lead a meditation in-between songs when appropriate. Don’t be afraid to share why you chose a song and what it means to you. Don’t be afraid to be authentic on the platform. Our congregations want to worship deeply, but we may need to teach them. Find ways to help them experience songs in such a way that they don’t go home saying, “That was a cool song!” But they go home saying, “God spoke to me through that song.”

Feel It Out:

Be attentive to the congregation and their needs. If you sense in any moment that worship needs to go differently than your original game plan, don’t deny that feeling. Sometimes the congregation is so caught up in worship, that it would be a disservice to end a song early. Conversely, maybe you’ve totally lost them – communicate with your band to end a song earlier than planned. It’s sometimes good to leave people wanting! Prepare music as best you can during rehearsals, but be sensitive to the congregation throughout the set, figure out what their needs are, and be willing to improvise. Congregations can sense when we are connected to them, and this again builds trust and confidence in us.

I used to be a hesitant, eyes-shut, closed-off kind of worship leader, but was inspired by a dear friend to try leading in this way. Everything changed for the better. Once I began opening myself more to the congregation and addressing their needs (still with my deep desire to facilitate worship), I began to see God work in new ways. I received affirmation that people were connecting more, not with me, but with God. And that, after all is the goal.

Honor the authority you’ve been given, find the balance of confidence, communication, and humility, and lead well, friends.

I would love to hear feedback on this, and I encourage you to check out www.expressiveworship.net to dig deeper into some of these concepts and utilize their resources that have helped me so much. 

Katie Eckeberger

Katie Eckeberger is a worship leader and artist from Bloomington, IL by way of Nashville, TN. She is the Worship Director at Hope Church in Normal, IL and travels as one-half of acoustic/soul duo, My Anchor Holds, leading worship and performing around the country. Even though Katie has been leading worship for 12 years she says, “Worship is a practice, which means I’ll never have it all figured out… but I get better. If we keep giving ourselves to God and our congregations honestly and whole-heartedly, we’ll continue to grow and see God do some incredible

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10 Great Worship Team Questions

Are you a Worship Leader or Music Ministry leader? Asking your team the right questions really sets the right tone for your leadership. Asking the right questions will give you insight into any blind spots you might have. And asking the right questions will help your team and the people serving in it go to the next level. Here are 10 great questions to help you in your leadership.

1. How can I help you? The greatest leaders are really servants. If people sense that you are there to help them, they will buy into your leadership much faster.

2. What is the biggest challenge you have to being successful here? Our goal should be to help the people around us to be successful. Seeing life from their perspective really helps get past many barriers.

3. Do you understand what I’ve asked you to do? Or, what is your understanding of the vision of this music ministry? Clear communication and vision is so important. These are a great questions to get everyone on the same page.

4. What am I missing or what would you do differently if you were me? Leaders don’t always get it right. Getting advice is a key to leading with wisdom.

5. What do you see that I can’t see? In most organizations it is really difficult to clearly see all the moving pieces. Getting great feedback from other perspectives is huge.

6. How can I improve as your leader? We all need to be improving as leaders. Being humble enough to search for advice and then apply it, is real wisdom.

7. If we had authority to do anything – and money was no barrier – what would you like to see us do as a team/organization? We often have barriers in our mind that are imaginary and really hold us back. This kind of ‘blue sky’ thinking really helps breaks down those barriers.

8. Where do you see yourself someday and how can I assist you in getting there? Developing new leaders and helping your team members reach their God-given destiny is part of our job. We need to be teaching our people to be future leaders.

9. What are you currently learning which can help all of us? Learning from the full team will only help us all develop and learn faster.

10. How are you doing in your personal life and is there any way I can help you? Everyone has stuff that they are going through. We all need to love and support each other. This kind of personal interaction can help your team go to the next level.

Check out my new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

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Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, a time to reflect and give thanks for all the good things in our lives.

I want to say a special thanks to God for the journey so far. I want to thank Him for how rich my life has been. I come from a wonderful Christian family with a great heritage. I’m the oldest of six kids who all love and serve God. And I married a wonderful Italian girl who has a great family that loves God.

I have loved the Lord since I was a child and I have felt His guiding hand throughout my life. God’s blessings in my life have allowed me to travel around the world multiple times and see hundreds of thousands of people come to know the Lord. His rich blessings have given me a godly wife, great kids & grandkids and faithful friends.

God’s hand in my life has led me to see countless miracles, write hundreds of musical arrangements and songs that have been used by thousands of churches. His blessings have also enabled me to train and mentor many young musicians to use their gifts to glorify God. It has been an incredible journey, a great adventure and I believe some of the best is yet to come.

So I just want to pause and say ‘Thank You, God’. You have been faithful. You have supplied all my needs. Your love and presence has changed my life. I thank You for health, direction and purpose. Thank You for all You have done so far and for all You are still going to do. With all my heart, I love You!

Check out my new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure’ available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

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Going from Song Leading to Worship Leading

Leaders, how do you go from just leading songs to leading worship? How do you get a congregation to get past just singing songs to actually worshiping God? Let me suggest some insights to help you grow as a worship leader.

Signs that you are a Song Leader:

  1. You pick nice songs to sing but the congregation never arrives at worshipping God
  2. You are not sure about what to do when the introductions and endings of songs are being played
  3. You don’t have a worship destination in mind when choosing the flow of your worship set
  4. You mostly just sing the notes on the page
  5. You don’t encourage the congregation to engage in the attitudes and actions of worship
  6. You are not sure what the attitudes and actions of worship are
  7. You just sing the songs and hope everyone sings along

See: Attitude Is Everything (The Attitudes of Worship) & Actions Speak So Loud (The Actions of Worship)

Signs that you are a Worship Leader:

  1. You love to worship God at home when nobody is watching
  2. You worship God during rehearsals
  3. You understand what the attitudes and actions of worship are
  4. You engage in the attitudes and actions of worship in private and in public
  5. You memorize the music so you can focus on God
  6. You have a worship goal in mind when you plan your church worship set
  7. You encourage the band and congregation to engage in the attitudes and actions of worship

Years ago I attended a conference with an internationally known worship leader. It was inspiring. It was evident that this leader had memorized all the music and was intent on doing the two main jobs of a worship leader:

  1. They were worshipping God personally
  2. They were leading and encouraging the congregation and band to worship God.

How did they do this?

1. They had a worship destination in mind

They were intentionally picking worship songs that helped people focus on singing directly to God. By the end of the set they weren’t singing songs that just talked about God. They were singing songs that caused people to sing directly to God. They picked songs that helped people worship God, not just sing about Him.

Different songs have a different focus. Some songs are about God, some songs are about the theology of God, some songs teach us. Some are fast, some are slow. Some songs challenge us and some help us express our feelings. And some songs are personal prayers directly to God. Understanding the purpose of the songs you are choosing is so important.

It was evident that this worship leader’s goal was to get people to move people from general corporate singing to encountering God personally and singing directly to Him.

2. They had done the necessary rehearsal to move past the music to worshiping God

It is so important to know the music so well that you rarely have to think about it. And it is important to have great rehearsals with your band and singers so they can do the same. If all the people on the stage haven’t done their ‘due diligence’ in learning the music then the congregation gets the sense that were just going through the routine of singing songs.

3. They flowed well from one song to another

When they planned their worship set they also were also intentional about how to transition from one song to another. They didn’t allow changing songs to break their focus on worshiping God. They had worked out the logistics of what player started the next song so they could keep their heart focused on worshiping God and leading the congregation to do the same.

4. They kept their focus on God and leading people through the whole worship time.

There can be a lot of distractions when you are in front of a congregation: people coming in late, media problems and a myriad of other small details. But a strong worship leader keeps their focus on worshiping God and leading the congregation to do the same. A strong worship leader knows the main thing is keeping their heart, mind and worship set on God and helping the congregation to do the same.

What other suggestions do you have to help leaders move from just singing songs to worshiping and leading the congregation to worship God?

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Four Behaviors of a Thriving Worship Ministry

Lessons From Churches from 50 and 5000.

By Mike O’Brien

Over the past 18 months, I have served fifty-plus churches as a worship team trainer and guest worship leader. I’ve noticed some interesting trends in worship ministries that are healthy, growing, and happy. This post has little to do with the quality of liturgy or congregational worship experience, but it’s more a peek under the administrative hood. It is not exhaustive, it’s just a list of markers I have noticed.

FOUR behaviors of thriving worship ministries:


Most churches have multiple worship leaders. If you have three worship leaders and three different ways of administering bands, you will drive your volunteers crazy. There should be one system that everyone adheres to. If possible, try to implement the SAME system across the board for all volunteers so families can serve in multiple areas of the church without confusion.

  • Pick a System – There are several ways to let people know when they are serving at church. Planning Center Online is the king, however, you can also look at worshipteam.com and others. You might use a mix of online tools and simple PDF attachments to email. Your system should have a way to communicate seasonally (1-4 months at a time), weekly (hey, you’re on this week), and the day of service (hey, you’re on today). Provide schedules at least 1 month before the start of the schedule. (i.e. the January schedule is emailed November 30th etc…).
  • Do not avoid creating a system because one volunteer doesn’t use email or Facebook. Those people either need to yield to the agreed method or you can build a secondary system for them. Either way, there should be a system to reach everyone.
  • Once a healthy method for communication is in place, don’t constantly change your methodology. You will build trust with consistency, which is measured in years, not months.
  • Raise heck when your system is ignored or amended by well-meaning, creative people. Consistency breeds faithfulness (and more drummers).


Every local church is marked by the songs they sing. In this day and age, the song is the most prominent means of gospel delivery and discipleship. There is a virtual sea of thousands of worship songs for the choosing. Instead of pulling from that potential sea, great worship leaders work from a pool of songs. New songs are added with care and intentionality and are not adopted via the affections of one particular worship leader. Your pool of songs can live on a Google Doc or similar online database. It should be editable and list active, potential, and retired songs.

Churches that sing the same songs over and over again have a more active engagement in worship than churches that have no congruent songs week-to-week. If worship leaders and musicians are bored to tears with songs that means the congregation is just getting to know them. Keep in mind many people only come to church once a month!


Where is a sharpie? Are we seriously out of 9 Volts? My mic stand is holding on by a prayer.

The stage, backstage, and soundboard areas should be clean and labeled so a variety of workers can function with ease. Growing organizations are constantly inviting new people to “play” and there should be physical spaces that are hospitable to newbies. Your faithful volunteers too should have what they need to do what has been asked of them.

All areas (seen and unseen) should be stripped, cleaned and reorganized throughout the year. Old moldy cups of coffee and nests of cables communicate that you don’t care and you will repel some creative personalities.

The quality of the church drum set and vocal mics will tell me all I need to know about the value of worship in any given church. Great gear attracts great servant artists.


In the heart of every volunteer (and staff member) is the question: “Does what I do matter?” Great leaders are consistently encouraging and rewarding those that are serving on their teams.  EVERYONE has a different language of love and you might need to ask your volunteers directly, “How can I say thank you?”. Here are the essential methods:

Public Praise (from the pulpit, from a Facebook post) FREE
A Written Note FREE
A Thoughtful Gift
A Gathering (quality time and/or fun)
A Specific Word of Encouragement FREE

Healthy volunteer cultures are immersed with recognition, thanks and encouragement.

The original post is here

My name is Mike O’Brien and I am passionate about teaching and mentoring through music. My calling is to use my experience as a producer, worship leader, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist to come alongside musicians, helping them more fully worship God with their instrument and lives. Find out more how I can help your worship leaders and teams HERE.

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