How to help your team “show up” to stuff

I was talking with a worship leader who was frustrated because his team was not committing to coming to an upcoming retreat.

You’ve probably been there, no? You schedule a night of worship, a team fun night, a local worship seminar, and your team’s response has left you wondering if you’re in this all alone, and if you’re the only one who cares.

Shoot, it’s hard enough to just get them to ACCEPT/DECLINE the PCO invites, let alone an extra event!

And you’ve done your part in sending them a "save the date" MONTHS in advance, but it just doesn’t seem to have saved. SMH

Now this leader is sharp. And he said "I was reminded that it takes around five years to change culture. I'm in the middle of year two, so I need to be patient and consistent, continuing to pray and LEAD them to change."

Isn’t that good?!

And isn’t that just hard!

Every leader must have poise, perspective, patience, AND persistence. So how do you help your team "show up" to stuff?

Getting others involved in planning, leading, and communicating will improve your results:

  • It takes some load off your shoulders
  • It gives others opportunities to develop as leaders
  • It broadens the appeal of the event because it will be shaped by more than just you
  • It invites those who are more connected to the people planning with you
  • It will be planned at better times, dates, and more compelling content because the other person helps you avoid your blind spots
  • It sends the message that this is "our" event, rather than just "his" event

It’s really hard to say yes to something if I don’t know what I’m saying yes to. Sure, the title of the event gives you some information, but what if it misleads your team? Tell your team exactly how we’ll spend the time together. This helps build excitement and anticipation in seeing what we’ll be doing, plus it helps communicate clearly to our spouses (if applicable) why it’s worth being away from our families.

But it also helps dispel any fears that our team may have about spending time together. They may be comfortable in our typical environments of rehearsals and services, but this could feel like "getting together socially with coworkers." Before you dismiss what I’m saying, social anxiety, personality clashes, and disliking larger group settings are real factors. Your drummer might be declining because he thinks that he’ll have to spend 45 minutes in some awful icebreakers/team building/trust fall exercises. Or that he’ll be required to share with the congregation afterwards about the experience.

Dismantle fear and build excitement by giving details of what you’ll be doing together.

I don’t just mean telling them those generic "why’s" but the personal, passionate why’s. Your team doesn’t think like you do, or they’d be inviting you to this stuff instead of the other way around. They don’t necessarily connect the dots, so you need to do it for them. Like this:

  • I want to carve out a day for our team to really experience something special together. It’s one thing to read something or watch a teaching video, but when we as a team experience learning together, it strengthens our bonds and that helps us make better music together.
  • I want us to become better friends. If all we ever do is the work of the serving that we’re called to, we’ll miss deepening our friendship and enjoying work because of that.
  • I want us to be one of those teams that truly know, cares for, and genuinely likes each other. I’m not saying that we don’t already, I’m just looking for ways of going deeper together.
  • When I was growing up, I had some experiences in worship that marked me for the deeper things of God. Even though we bring that to our times together on Sundays, I long for moments where there’s no performance pressure, no rehearsing, no monitor mixes, nothing to distract us from just meeting with the Lord.
  • If you’re life is like mine, I’m always trying to keep things from taking over time with family. Nights and weekends are precious to us, so I don’t ask this lightly. I wanted us to do this event as a team because I feel like it will make us tighter both musically and as friends. We all like each other but it’s hard to get to know each other in the confines of our rehearsals and services.
  • I know that what I’m asking you to do will require saying no to something else. But I’m hoping that saying yes will also allow us to say yes to other things - like being more confident, enjoying our times more deeply, and being more effective in how we serve together. This is really worth the investment to me.
  • You know what it’s like to serve with people you really know and connect with? I think this event will help strengthen us in that way.

So involving others in the process from the beginning, giving details when you’re asking for the date, and compellingly sharing your heart behind the event are a couple ways to help you team to say yes!

- Dave