4 Reasons Teams Feel Isolated And Burned Out

You want current members to serve for a long time, right? And you’d love new people to join too, I’m sure! So do current worship leaders or worship/tech team members have short tenures? Are potential members unwilling to start serving because they are afraid they will feel isolated? Are current members burning out? Why?

Here are four common reasons for teams feeling isolated and burned out.

  1. They don’t get any feedback after they serve
  2. They serve with unclear expectations
  3. They feel relationally unconnected
  4. They serve where it’s not a good fit

So how do you eradicate isolation and burnout?

1. Give regular feedback! Three words will change someone’s life: TSF

That’s Timely Specific Feedback. We get the Feedback part, but it must be Timely and Specific. It must be Timely – given within 24 hours. We tend to fill the void with negative, so the more time that passes, the more likely we’ll begin to question everything we did and how effective it was. And it must be Specific – “good job” is not good enough. Focus on what you observed – for example, if it is something negative, don’t say “you didn’t seem to be a team player.” Instead say “you insisted that your monitor mix be so loud that other band members couldn’t hear themselves.” If it’s something positive, don’t just say “you’re such a team player.” Instead say “I noticed that you were aware that Frank wanted to read an unplanned scripture between songs and that you made space for him – you’re such a team player!” Ideally, this should happen naturally – the pastor should give it to the worship leader and tech leader, the worship leader and tech leader should give it to their teams, etc. You may need to create a structure or organizational system that will create and support the culture of giving and receiving TSF. (for example, you can have a quick debrief after the end of a worship gathering, or get into the habit of sending out a few emails Sunday evening, or you can put a task reminder in your phone to send out TSF first thing on Monday morning) At Ad Lib Music, we call it Broccoli (because only true friends tell each other if they have broccoli stuck in their teeth.)

2. Give clear expectations. 

Be able to clearly spell out and agree upon what “success” looks like. Can you as the leader articulate your pastor’s vision for the worship gathering? Does each team member really have the same answer to “what’s a win?” Does everyone know what the worship ministry vision is, what its values are, and what goals we’re working toward? They must!

3. Build real community. 

Do you provide space at rehearsal for relational interaction or is it only musical? Do you “know the condition of your flock (Proverbs 27:23)?” Are you invested in their lives and do you know what’s going on? Do you eat together? I’m serious. Do you? Have you been in each other’s homes? Get connected!

4. No square pegs in round holes. 

Does each person’s “heart sing” in the role they’ve chosen? Have the integrity (read: guts) to re-assign someone if they’re not plugged in the right spot. Just that someone is willing, doesn’t mean they’re qualified. Now don’t misread that; people don’t have to be perfect before they can serve. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses and I believe the best way to steward their talent is to connect someone’s strengths to a need, not in trying to improve someone’s weakness to fit a need. You may be able to do this in a pinch, but I’ll take a visual artist who’s an 8 out of 10 to help in the tech ministry rather than work with him as a piano player (if he’s a 2 out of 10) – my thought process is this: if I really invest in him as a piano player, he might make it up to a 5 out of 10 and if I have someone else who is only a 6 out of 10 piano player without any investment on my part, I’m already way ahead. This is not a hard and fast rule. I just know that we tend to not face issues and make the best calls sometimes in an effort to “keep the ‘peace’.”