Try it free or sign in to access this content

Oh no! Looks like you don’t have access to this video. Sign up for free or login to continue.

Building Healthy Relationships In A Worship Team

Team relationships and dynamics are key to the success of your worship service. What does that look like?  Who is the Music Director? Join Elevation Worship as they share their secrets on how to build trust and healthy relationships that bring out the best in people. 

Introducing the Speakers - Time: 0:09-2:53

  • Chris Brown is a worship leader. 

  • Joey is an MD and has been in church since 2011.

  • Johncel is a worship leader and has been part of the team for five and a half years. 

  • Jena is a worship leader and has been part of the team since 2011.

  • LJ is an MD and has been on the team for three years.


A quick story of LJ - Time: 2:53-6:11

  • LJ was living in Calgary and he and his wife couldn’t find any church in Calgary that they liked. They heard of Elevation and had watched it online so they decided to have a church in their family room streaming Elevation. LJ would have the musical itch to play so he would play his piano along with the worship and continue through the sermon. He kinda was critiquing the worship team as he was playing. One time while LJ was watching church Chris announced that they were having auditions. LJ told his wife that he wasn’t going to do it because it didn’t make sense. LJ did an audition and heard back from Elevation asking him to come down in the next day or two for another audition. LJ couldn’t do it in his current audition and was really disappointed, but LJ and his wife moved from Calgary to Toronto and LJ was able to serve there. When they were launching their building one of their old worship leaders came and heard LJ play, and the rest is history. LJ went down to Elevation for an audition, met Chris for the first time in awe that this person who he had been watching online was in person in front of him, and a couple of years later they found themselves working together. 

  • LJ’s story of playing along with the sermon is “...such a cool example of David in the field.” 


A Message from LJ Time: 6:11-24:06

  • In preparing for sharing LJ started with what he knew. Side note: “Start with what you have in your hand.” He looked up the two Music Directors (MDs)  that he knew of in the Bible: Asaph and Lucifer. He wasn't going to spend a lot of time studying Lucifer, but he did study Asaph. 

  • Moses had a tabernacle. Skip forward to when David became king and wanted to restore Israel's spiritual integrity. “God will always build something spiritually before He builds it structurally.” The tabernacle of David was different than that of Moses’. The presence of God had moved from Moses’ tabernacle to David’s tabernacle. “I got  to be so aware of where the presence of God is at all times.” David’s tabernacle didn’t have a veil. This was a foreshadowing of what was to come; us being able to enter into the presence of God “...just as we are through the blood of Jesus.”

  • In 1 book of Chronicles Chapter 6, there is a record of the people that David put in charge “...of sons in the house of the Lord..” There were three people in the picture; Heman, Ethan, and Asaph. “They were ministering with music before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the meeting until Solomon had built the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. And they served in their office according to their order.” 1 Chronicles 6:32 “Up until the time that the temple was built, Solomon’s temple was built, they were faithfully and actively serving before the tabernacle of the Lord.” “God always builds spirit before He builds stature.” Stature can be defined as, “The importance of representation gained by ability or achievement.” “God’s gonna develop your spiritual being first before He develops anything else.” “Before you all ever minister in a temple learn to minister in a tabernacle. ...The same ark that was in the tabernacle was the same ark that was in the temple. ...If you could understand God’s presence in your tabernacle season, understand His voice, understand His move, understand how He operates, understand the atmosphere that He creates when it comes time for you to transition to maybe a different season; maybe a season were you’re in front of more people, or a season was your ministry takes off, or you write songs and they take off. The way how you understand and perceive God’s voice in your tabernacle season is how you’re gonna honor God’s presence in your temple season. ...I don’t think that you ever outlive your tabernacle season.”

  • Asaph knew his identity and he embraced that. “In this day and age, I just want to encourage us as "MDs", musicians to make sure that we remain planted in our local church.” Asaph is recorded with writing 12 psalms and he wrote mostly from a “we” and “us” perspective opposed to a “me” and “I” perspective. He had a servant’s heart. Asaph “understood his private and public duties.” Overflow comes from spending time with God in private times. Asaph was unselfish and worked at developing others. Asaph had his own style. A pastor once said that “God cannot bless who you pretend to be.” 

  • “Your gift is your gift. God’s given it to you, He’s not going to take it away.” 

  • “Asaph may or may not have written any of those Psalms.” It could have just been David saying something in the presence of the Lord and Asaph transcribing it. As an MD it gave LJ a different perspective. He might not have got to write the song, play the hook, develope a part, but he is responsible for stewarding it as his own. 

  • As MDs and worship leaders “we are responsible for stewarding the atmosphere.” “Every moment matters.” “Be a thermostat, not a thermometer.” “Asaph learned how to steward the song.”

  • For musicians on the surface, it’s learning the songs and parts. The top of the layer of stewarding the songs. The next layer is “digging the theme of the song.” Become the song. Asaph understood a Selah. He understood when to not do something. 

  • “In 2 Chronicles 5:12 It said Asaph was actually credited with performing at the dedication of Solomon's temple.” “Asaph understood the importance of being planted but he also understood the importance of longevity. He saw down the road. And it says that Asaph saw a lot of corruption. ...but he still managed to somehow keep his heart pure, he still managed to somehow understand that the main thing was the main thing and he was able to see all the way up to the dedication and serve in Solomon’s temple. I grow longer in ministry, I think that’s the goal, grow old in this thing. I want to be doing this with these guys for the long game.” 


Relationship Between an MD and Worship Leader - Time: 24:07- 49:40

  • “From a worship leader to an MD, what are some of the things that you wish the MD would do for you in supporting you?” “Feeling the moment, navigating the moment, sensing everything from stage presence [Body language] learning how to take a song from A to B to C and what the worship leader is looking for.” Let MDs into where you think the song could go when playing in rehearsal. The relationship is key. Talk through things. Having a good leader helps. Signal signs for the chorus, bridge, etc. is another helpful thing. The MD being calm on the mic is very helpful. In addition to relationships, trust is important on stage and off stage. “In 1 Corinthians it talks about how that as leaders we are supposed to be a good guide for people. And the requirements for a good guide are reliability and knowledge. And I think both of these guys have proven over and over again that their so reliable but they also have the knowledge to help carry us…” Know who your leaders are off stage. Look for trust before skills. 

  • “Practically, what does building trust look like?” One thing that Chris and LJ did when he first joined the team was learning what songs they knew from the earlier years of worship songs. Establish a bank of songs from old so that you can play a song that’s not on the list. As an MD know your worship leader’s ranges so that you can make them feel as comfortable as you can.  Know your worship leader and what they need. Create a theme for your set with your MD. As an MD be active in thinking about the flow and being invested. Trust your fellow MD’s. 

  • Bringing in new people to the team. The first priority “ to walk through life with people.” It is more important that the campus pastors and worship leaders be involved in the lives of their musicians than to get someone who just wants to play but does not have any connection. Elevation’s process for auditioning is they ask for a video submission. Someone submitting a video actually tells you something about that person. Them being able to submit a video tells you what them learning a part could be like. For example, someone submits a video but didn’t follow the instructions of playing on the piano the hook to a said song and instead played whatever song. Stick with the answer a team member gave to the person auditioning. For example, if someone from your team says ‘no’ and the person who auditioned comes to you, then you say ‘no’. Make sure they are “...culturally sound…” and that their heart is in the right place. This process looks like if they pass the live audition then they shadow other people starting with the production team. Shadowing the production team can let them learn about the behind the scenes stuff and give them a greater appreciation for the production team. Elevation views the worship team and the production team as one whole team “...who are all working together on the same level.” Next might be the greeting team and then the E-Kids, or E-Groups. Elevation has found that this is really helpful to decipher who is just wanting to be on a platform. Instead of just judging whether or not someone’s heart is right, go through a process with them and engage it. If they are not ready to handle the platform, walk them through it. 


Q&A - Time 49:41-1:02:53

  • “In a large multi-setting church, how do you build trust and relationship with your teams?” “We treat every campus like it’s own local team. The worship leader is responsible for…band...and... vocalist... at their campus… raising up this team, setting and establishing the culture.” LJ does a check-in at different campuses as part of an oversight role.  

  • “If you’re going into a new section, do you ever call out lyrics for your worship leaders?” “All the time. Because my thought is as an MD it is my job to set up the worship leader and if that means throwing myself into the moment that is to come, if they don’t know a lyric or if they don’t know it then I’m gonna throw it in their ear.” Recently LJ was playing a chord progression that went to a song with the lyric “No matter how far I run” and he told this lyric to Jenna and she picked up on it and from that went on. “It’s always thinking about them. How can I serve them best? If they don’t know the lyrics, feed it to them. If I don’t know the lyrics, get the projector person to put the lyric up on the screen or something. Help them out because it’s all about the moment.” “Are you guys linked into the production team with the MD mics? Are they getting that same information?” “Correct. Yes, they are.” 

  • “I was just wondering, is there ever a time that you’re communicating too much to your team? Is there a line for an MD of like, you’re communicating drum parts to some drummers but sometimes you’re not communicating them to others?” “Yes, there is a line.” It comes back to the relationship. For example, Joey has been playing with Luke, an Elevation drummer, for a long time and he doesn’t have to tell him to start playing the eighth beat anymore because Luke already knows. For someone who doesn't do it right then, you should tell them. It is better to over-communicate than to under-communicate. Trust your team and what they’re doing. Know who you’re working with. 

  • What do you do when the worship leader is being a worship leader and an MD? In a rehearsal setting Chris is really vocal about what type of feel he’s thinking for the song. “I [LJ] would take a step back and develop the relationship more so I would win their trust. Because after a while after I have their trust they're not going to keep doing that over and over and over again. So it sounds to me like it just time. It will take time.” When LJ first started playing he would play slash chords and had to talk through learning about the moment mattering and not so much his preference. And now through trust Chris doesn't’ have to ask LJ if he thought about a transition or something, he knows LJ can do it. 

  • “When you guys are traveling away from your home church do you ever feel pressured to play your guy’s most popular songs?” “I [Johncel] don’t view like a terrible pressure. There’s a beauty of like songs that are influencing the global church or even just outside of our home.” 

  • “How do you say ‘no’ to someone who’s you think God is telling you is not ready to be in your ministry, in your band? How do you say ‘no’ in a non-discouraging way but still encouraging them to keep working on what they need to work and come back later?” Establishing a group of coaches to not only be quality control but to be involved in the process of an audition to be able to tell someone where they are and offering help for improvement. “ it face to face. ...give them pointed feedback. Give them the tools and the handles of what exactly it is that you're looking for them to work on. ...If you have a relationship with’s going to be a lot easier to have this conversation with them. ...give them like a step to step guide of how to get there. If you’ve done all that you can and you’re walking with them through this journey and they’re just not getting there then maybe help them find another place where they can serve that they might feel more fulfilled. ...At the end of the day, we’re called to be ministers, not to a certain title or certain role. And so I think making sure that they understand that and that there are other ways that they can be a minister and other ways that they can serve, it’s not just in that one capacity.”