Cody Lodriguss, worship pastor from The Tabernacle in Chalmette, Louisiana, joined us for our worship call this month. He is currently training some new worship leaders. He shared with us his heart and vision behind what he is doing, as well as the practical steps he is taking.
HEART & VISION
We are a vessel that the Holy Spirit can flow through and use to develop others for ministry (worship leading, in this case). It’s about discipling people and replicating yourself. It’s about teaching other people how to use their gifts for the Lord and helping them go even further than we have been.
Why do we disciple? So we can be a part of empowering others to flow in their giftings for the glory of God. Plus, we never want to be so indispensable that worship can’t happen without us. (Also, it’s fun!)
THE PROCESS: DEVELOPING A WORSHIP LEADER
Develop relationship (and get to know their heart)
Call out the calling
Have them start with background vocals on melody
Have them start singing parts
Then have them sing a verse alone while focusing just on worshipping Jesus
Begin to teach engagement with the congregation
Have them lead a whole song
Teach them how to build sets (You build and have them lead a song. Next, start showing them your process of how you build song sets and then let them work on it with you. When they are ready, have them start building sets--first with you there to approve, then to give advice, and eventually completely on their own.)
Have them lead a whole set
That is the very basic process that Cody is following. There is a lot of time and relationship investment that happens during and in between each step.
RECAP, RECAP, RECAP
Recapping how they did each week is very important. Don’t wait too long. If you let too many days pass, you won’t do it. No one can improve if they have no gauge on where they are, where they need to be, and how to bridge that gap. Cody uses the same three questions each time. They answer them and then he answers them as well.
What did you do right? (You have to realize what you did well so you can do it again.)
What do you think you can improve on?
How can I help you improve?
Recapping the specific week and giving feedback is important, but don’t forget to invest in them relationally. You don’t need every conversation to be about the practicals. While you are helping to develop the gifting, remember that the heart of a worshipper is the most important element of a great worship leader. Be sure to invest time in that area, as well.
SET THEM UP FOR SUCCESS
You can’t just put someone on stage, hand them a microphone, tell them to lead, and watch them do it from your seat in the congregation. It doesn’t happen that way. There is a process that you have to walk them through. During that process, you need to set them up for success. It’s baby steps, with you as the backup plan. You are there to help encourage and to fill in the gaps. If they get nervous and can’t figure out when to come in, you are there on stage with them and can help them. If they get stuck and freeze completely, you are there to step in.
You will find that some people will handle some parts of worship leading naturally. You might have one person that flows in open worship. The song they sing to the Lord brings the anointing. Someone else might struggle with singing words that aren’t on the page, but they draw in the congregation and lead them effortlessly. Someone might have incredible vocals, but they focus so much on singing everything exactly right that they forget to relax and just worship. You’ll have to assess where they are, where they need to grow, and then create opportunities for their development.
BUST OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE
This process works. Cody has seen fruit from it. It isn’t fast. (And he does wish he would have started earlier.) Investing in people will always yield a return. But how do you start? How do you take a singer who has the gifting, has the heart, has the potential to lead, but they are timid? How do you call out that gifting in them and help them build confidence to step out and use what God has put in them?
Start with asking them why they sing on the worship team. Tell them what you see in them, why you have them on the team, why you believe they are there, and how you desire to help them grow and develop. Remind them that we are all here to serve. On a Sunday morning, you don’t get to be in complete abandonment in worship. It’s not about you. We are all here as servants in the house of God. It’s like there is an empty table. Our job is to set the most beautiful table so that when the food gets there, the table is ready. We set the atmosphere for whatever God wants to do.
Remind them of the honor it is to be a part of that. Then start them out with a very vertical, simple song. Those songs are easier because you can focus more on just singing to Jesus. They sing a verse, just to Jesus, and you slowly build from there.
It starts with recognizing something in them. Calling that out in them. Reminding them of the why. Then creating a safe atmosphere for them to step out of that comfort zone in a way they feel prepared, supported, and safe. And then you just keep on pulling things out of them after that. Some will catch on fast, some will take more of a time investment. But if God put giftings in them. Those giftings aren’t there to stay tucked away inside of them, but to be drawn out and used for His glory. It’s exciting to be part of that process!