The Five Faders

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There is something holding you back. Keeping you from being your best, bringing your best, and feeling your best.


What's holding you back? You don’t know who you are.


(and I don’t mean your identity – who Jesus says you are. That’s another talk.)


I mean you don’t know what motivates you and how that’s different from how people see you and what they need from you.


You also have a hard time either seeing what your team and congregation needs from you OR you do see what they need from you but have no idea how to give it to them.

the solution


Today, I hope to give you a mirror – a way of seeing yourself for who you and for who others on your team are. You can think of it as somewhat of a personality test for worship leaders. Better yet, the enneagram for worship leaders.

If you’re not familiar with the enneagram, it’s a personality system that basically answers the question of motivation: “What are you doing when you’re doing what you’re doing?” At a basic level, it tells us how we are motivated. Not what we do, but why we do it. Each of the types has a healthy, integrated, resourceful expression AND an unhealthy, disintegrated, unresourceful expression.


So, what is this enneagram for worship leaders? We call it the Five Faders.


These are not roles you play, jobs you do, hats you wear. They are motivations, identities you see the world through, they are the why’s behind the what of worship ministry. 


The Five Faders are: Artist, Shepherd, Priest, Educator, and Producer


  • Wants to create beauty and express emotion through music, so has a specific idea for how things feel sonically
  • Lots of emotion and passion put into the music, can get wrecked or torqued if things don't sound right


  • Cares for the people
  • Will adjust the rehearsal depending on how he reads his team as they walk in
  • When asking for prayer requests, he'll ask specific things about his team


  • This is the pure worshiper, the Mary who "sits at the feet of Jesus"
  • Can be prophetic and do warfare through the music
  • Is insistent on doing everything to create spaces where people meet God


  • Wants everyone to be well-equipped
  • He'll tell you the story behind the song, the scripture it comes from, and the way it supports (or doesn't support) our theology
  • He'll explain the way the V (5) wants to go to the I (1) in this song and all the behind the scenes music theory that makes this song work
  • The theologian


  • The Organizer, possibly Type-A
  • Planned out months in advance
  • Loves to have a well-planned service executed well


So for example, has anyone on your team ever said “That’s not how they do it on the recording”?


WHY did they say that?

Artist – the recording captures this energy, the way the sounds come together are just beautiful

Shepherd – figures the team might be thrown off and not feel as comfortable if we change something

Priest – the arrangement allows our hearts to dive deep with God and we lose that if we only do the bridge once

Educator – this is the original and we need to stay true to the original

Producer – the chart is what we’re following here…you’ve been working on it this way for weeks

3 main ideas about the Five Faders:


Awareness of who you are is the only way to be the best version of yourself. Knowing what motivates you is the key to becoming the best you.



Your team is healthiest when you VALUE what each fader brings. It’s easy to see that a team full of all five faders would be a beautiful thing. In the spirit of honor, we want to learn how to celebrate people’s unique gifts and express how they bring something helpful to the team that complements what you bring.



The Faders are NOT static, they are not locked.


You MUST develop the skills required to adjust your faders so that you are appropriately balanced. This does NOT mean that they are all set to the same level. Music that’s mixed that way doesn’t sound good either. The question to ask is: What does LOVE require of me in this moment?

Learning this takes years! You can jump start that process by signing up for a year of coaching with us where we’ll walk you through this Framework in your context. We’ll teach you how your Fader type best does the things that we all have to do.

Here are two similar videos where Coach Dave teaches the Five Faders:

"We were privileged to have Dave Helmuth speak at our worship retreat this past fall on the topic of the Five Faders. As he spoke, each musician or technician saw themselves strongly fitting within one or two of these categories. I loved how Dave asked us questions about our worship or how we relate in worship and had us respond representing our particular fader.  It’s as if our eyes were open for the first time to see and understand each other and how we could work better as a team. It has encouraged me as their leader to find ways to utilize these strengths as we minister to each other and our church family more effectively. I can’t recommend Dave and this teaching enough."

- Karen Blanchard, Worship Arts Director at Community Evangelical Church, Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania (and Grammy Award winning artist!)

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