Last week, we answered a worship leader’s question:
"Can you help worship leaders know how to approach and address such types of dynamics in a way that builds teams and individuals, but doesn’t avoid necessary conversations?"
My first answer is to give direction before you start the song. But the second (and most important answer) is HOW. (Click here to read last week’s Fertilizer)
At Ad Lib, we teach worship leaders to be well-balanced leaders who can adjust their approach based on the needs of their teams and congregations.
The framework we created is called the Five Faders. See, every worship leader (and team member) sees the world through primarily one of five identities. They plan, rehearse, and lead services through these identities. All leaders have to do the same tasks, but their motivation is based on their identity. The five identities are Artist, Shepherd, Worshiper, Educator, and Organizer. We teach leaders to "adjust their faders" up or down as needed for the moment.
So back to the leader’s question above. Here’s how each of the five identities might address the question:
An Artist might say "Team, tonight’s songs are so moving and it’s important that we really get what makes the songs feel so emotional. As we go through the set, if there are any points where you begin to feel bored with what you are doing, try something different. In other words, we start with what we decide to play or sing based on what the recording is - why wouldn’t we want to emulate great players and producers, right?! But it may not work in our context, so we have to make it our own and recreate that same emotion, energy, and beauty in our arrangement."
A Shepherd might say "Team, during tonight’s rehearsal, I’m going to be asking you to try things that might make you feel uncomfortable. Things like specific arrangements, where to play or sing, or how to play or sing. It’s important to me that you know that there aren’t any personal reasons that I’m asking you to do certain things - it’s not that I don’t like you or what you are contributing! I very much value who you are and what you bring to this team. What I’m trying to do is to help us make beautiful music together, and instead of having each of us decide what that might be, I’m going to lead us. I’d like you to suggest ideas as we go through the set, because I care about what you think. Do you feel ok with that and do you have any questions that you’d like me to answer up front?"
A Worshiper might say "Team, as we rehearse, let’s really worship the Lord. I have some ideas about how we want to play these songs, but I really want you to make it a personal expression of worship to the Lord. I know the recordings we listened to have a certain arrangement on them, and we’re aiming for something similar, but I don’t want that to box us in. If you’re inspired to ad lib, by all means. Let’s let our excellence musically be inspired by our excellence of heart in connecting and responding to the Lord."
An Educator might say "Team, during tonight’s rehearsal, I’m going to be asking you to do things and you might not know why I’m asking for them. Things like specific arrangements, where to play or sing, or how to play or sing. What we’re trying to do is something called "serve the song." In other words, each of our musical choices affect the song as a whole. And rather than serving our own preferences, I’m asking that we serve the song. "What’s best for this song?" is the question we want to be asking. So when I ask for something, just try it out. I’m listening to how the whole thing sounds, not just what each of us is contributing. If you feel like you’re having to stretch just a bit, you’re probably right on track."
An Organizer might say "Team, when I sent you the chord charts with notes on them six weeks ago, I hope it was clear and helped you arrive tonight as prepared as possible. I want this to be really smooth. I’ve been thinking about how we want to be playing these songs for the last month and am really excited to hear how it sounds when we put it all together! Before we play, I’d like us to talk through both the map that’s typed on the top of each song AND point out the arrangement cues written on your charts. I want to make sure everyone is comfortable and knows exactly what our plan is. You’ll want to have your pencils handy for any notes that you’ll take as we talk through it."
Each of these leaders are helping their teams to play with musical dynamics, but with very different motivations. The idea is to figure out what your identity is and what your team needs. I could’ve written examples of "what an Artist leader might say to a team who needs an Educator leader." But that’d be better tackled in a coaching session...ha!