because I had always equated the move of the Holy Spirit to the spontaneous and in-themoment experiences . But in those seasons where efficiency was required , I saw clear evidence that the Holy Spirit was ' in ' my advanced planning as much as he was in the moment on Sunday .
Since that experience , I ' ve found other ways to make monthly and weekly planning more efficient . And I realized another truth . My team ' s time and my time are the most precious and non-renewable assets I have as a leader . Because of that , I need to steward that time well . So , let me say this emphatically :
There ' s nothing unspiritual about healthy productivity .
Speaking of being a good steward , let ' s dig into the next rule .
RULE # 9 : TRIPLE YOUR TIME OFF This idea is just utterly cuckoo-bananas for most worship leaders . But hang with me for a second . If you ' re going to produce exceptional Sundays every week , you can ' t lead every Sunday . It ' s not healthy for you , your family , your team , or your church . Lone ranger worship leaders ...
• create a cult of personality
• fail to develop other leaders
• frustrate their family
• and eventually , burn out .
Can we agree that you need to be emotionally healthy ? Nothing will kill the consistent quality of Sundays more than an elder-enforced sabbatical of the sole worship leader . So to have steadily increasing , long-term excellence , you have to develop a team of worship leaders ( and get your rear off the platform ).
Now , here ' s what I mean by ' triple your time off .' You need to take at least three types of
Sundays off :
1 . Vacation , conference , or other " absenton-Sunday Sundays ."
2 . " Off-platform Sundays " where you worship with your family . ( They miss you .)
3 . " Sabbath Sundays " where you don ' t go to church anywhere .
Leading worship is your job . Even if you go to another church , you know you ' ll slip into notetaking and comparison mode , right ? That ' s not real rest .
So sleep in . Get up and enjoy your morning coffee . Stay in your PJs till lunch . Go on a hike . Whatever is personally restorative for you , do it . Just don ' t go to church ! ( I promise you ' ll be able to find God somewhere else on Sunday morning other than church ).
I push the worship leaders I coach to take at least six Sundays off the platform a year , preferably more — even once a month . Now , if you ' ve been leading 53 out of 52 weeks a year , you can ' t make that leap right away . So aim for once a quarter . And as you focus on the final rule , you ' ll be able to train up more worship leaders to help you lead exceptional Sundays ( even when you ' re not on the platform ).
RULE # 10 : STOP MAKING IT ABOUT THIS SUNDAY For too long in ministry , I was a Sunday-driven manager . That is , most of my time , energy , and budget were focused on this Sunday and next Sunday .
The problem with that is , there ' s always another this Sunday . As a result , I failed to build my team for the long term when I only focused on the quality of the next few Sundays .
Here ' s what I learned : If you focus on creating great Sundays every week , you might build an OK team .. . eventually .
But if you work to build a great team , eventually , you can ' t help but have exceptional Sundays every week .
I call this paradox the E4 Effect™ . It ' s when a leader starts taking the ancient leadership wisdom seriously in Ephesians 4:11-12 . ( That is , shared leadership and active equipping of others to do the work of ministry .)
When you invest time to build leaders and develop team members ( musically , relationally , and spiritually ), it will pay off . Before long , your Sundays will consistently sound better and be more engaging .
And this is where we can now address that grammatical problem of making " every Sunday exceptional ." Remember that ? If every Sunday is exceptional , then none of them are , right ?
But here ' s how it works . As you ' re intentionally implementing and following these ten rules , you ' ll start to have more excellent Sundays . And eventually , what was exceptional becomes normal - it ' s your new standard ! From there , you work on growing to that ' next level of exceptional ' - whatever that is for your worship ministry .
And that ' s how to build a team that makes every Sunday exceptional .
If you would like help making your team exceptional every Sunday , please reach out to me at jon @ worshipteamcoach . com . I ' d love to connect and explore what that might look like for your unique ministry and leadership style .
Jon Nicol Jon ’ s the founder of WorshipWorkshop . com and WorshipTeamCoach . com , two sites that help worship leaders build strong teams and lead engaging worship . He lives and serves in Lexington , Ohio with his wife Shannon and their four kids . WorshipWorkshop . com WorshipTeamCoach . com