10 Ways To Recruit New Musicians

Featuring The Worship Community Posted on May 2, 2011

It’s an all too common scenario. Great musicians come. Great musicians go. Young, mediocre musicians get better. Young, now improved musicians go to college. Have you found yourself in that situation numerous times? Have you been so discouraged that you’ve wanted to quit? Is all this church musician transitioning really worth it?

Maybe stand on the street corner and hold a Help Wanted sign?

Transition comes with the territory of being a worship leader in the local church. People come for a season and move on. Young people go to college. Wouldn’t you love to have a culture where when some musicians move on, others step up to the plate? A culture where you have multiple players who are skilled and available?

Hope this helps:

1. Excellence attracts excellence
This hold true across all areas. If you want to have excellent musicians, you’ve got to have excellent musicians. Great musicians don’t want to play sloppy, unorganized music. Be sure to make playing at your church an enjoyable experience for people. They need to be able to hear themselves. Utilize a skilled sound tech. A good tech can cover over a multitude of troubles for a worship team and help you and your team focus on your job. Ask this question, “What would I be looking for if I were to volunteer on a church worship team?” Focus on serving your band because they are there to serve the church.

2. Train the young
There’s something about young musicians. They come with less past experience and are easier to train. Especially if you can find young musicians who are passionate about music and have an aptitude for it. I’ve found that these types of kids will grow super quick. And they are the future! There’s nothing more rewarding than raising up the young because they are the future of your church and your ministry.

3. Hold auditions
It wouldn’t hurt to hold open auditions in order to see who’s interested within your local church. I wrote another post on this topic, so I won’t overly repeat myself here. Suffice it to say sometimes great musicians can be discovered. They just need a place to be recognized.

4. Don’t hold auditions
Wait…what?….No, I’m not confused. Churches do this differently. Some hold open auditions while others scoff at the idea. It’s OK to keep your team small and simply recruit people as you go. You can usually spot the musicians from a mile. They hang out around the pedal boards after service and talk about things nobody understands and wear vests and ties and torn jeans and Chuck Taylor’s. These are the guys you want. Instead of saying, “wanna play next week?”, invite them to hang out at your next rehearsal and “unofficially” get an idea of where there skill’s at. This has worked amazing for me.

5. Recruit your current musician’s friends
Do you keep utilizing the same band every single week? Try asking your current musicians about their friends. Good musicians are typically connected to other good musicians.

6. Keep it small and simple
It’s OK to have a small team. Better a small team with excellence than a large team with chaos (I think that’s found in Proverbs somewhere) The goal of our gathering is worship and sometimes a simple acoustic guitar will do the trick. Build your team slowly. Build with excellence and take your time. Don’t be in a rush to have a team the size of Hillsong. Patience and excellence in the small things.

7. Identify your “pipelines”
What the heck do I mean by pipeline? Every church has avenues where people enter into church life. Take advantage of those. Our current pipelines are our ministry school, our fine arts ministry, and occasionally I’ll meet future musicians on the weekend. These are areas where skilled people are coming to our churches. What pipelines do you have?

8. Connect with a local college
Do you have a college close by? I’ll bet there’s some music majors or other musicians who would love the chance to play on your worship team. Especially if you live near a Christian college, there may be worship leaders and musicians dying to connect somewhere. My college, North Central University, provided many churches with a lot of great musicians. If you can, take advantage of that.

9. Pray
I’m very practical and action-oriented on this blog. But that doesn’t mean prayer isn’t a factor. I’m of the belief that constant prayer and constant action need to flow together in our lives. Embrace the tension. We pray desperately in order to stay humble and dependent on God, but we don’t sit on our butts and wait for Him to pick us up and move our hands and use us like a puppet. So pray. Pray for God to send you great musicians who love Jesus. I’ve seen it work firsthand. But go do something while you wait.

10. Disciple your current team
Never stop pouring into who you have. Maybe your disappointed with your current team and wish you had all new musicians. You see Bethel and Hillsong and wonder why you can’t just go there. There’s something really powerful about pouring yourself into who you have. Disciple them. Build something. Teach them new things. Place them in contexts where growth can happen. They may just become the dream team you always wanted.

Question: What are some ways you have recruited new musicians?

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