Worship Team Survival Guide

Hey everyone!  This is a DRAFT document.  I’m just getting going as your Worship Pastor, so some details will likely change.  Let’s all stay flexible and enjoy getting to know each other – we are still growing and we have new members on our team! 

What won’t change is the reason WHY we do all of this!  Happy reading and see you at a rehearsal soon! – Gary

Our Purpose – Why Are We Doing This?

Our mission at Journey Church is “Loving others on the journey to becoming fully engaged followers of Jesus.”  Being a fully engaged follower of Jesus is not complete unless we worship Him; we were created to do so (Isaiah 43.20-21; 1 Peter 2.9). More than that, God seeks true worshippers and that is what we want to be (John 4.23).

Our mission as a team is not simply to provide inspirational music. We’re not about getting up on stage and presenting our talents. If our work draws attention to ourselves we will have failed in our goal to direct people towards God.  Our goals do not include working to please people or making everyone comfortable. No, our mission is much greater:  We want to engage the hearts and minds of our congregation to worship God.

Worship is about presenting God to the world and the redeeming quality of a relationship with Jesus Christ. And with that, we want to create an environment that will challenge people spiritually. We want Journey Church to be a place where people can come, participate, draw closer to God, praise Him, search their hearts, repent of sin, and leave feeling a little uncomfortable with the “status quo” in their lives. Simply put, we want our services to be life changing.

Our method of ministry is discipleship, and so we take the role of mentoring seriously!  Discipleship is “doing life with others” in a way that spiritually encourages those who have further to go in the journey.  We expect more experienced followers of Jesus to disciple less experienced followers.

Like any act of service, your involvement will come with a lot of fun while also requiring practice and patience.  We are looking for responsible, dependable people who are willing to give of the time, energy, and talents that they have been given to serve the church on a regular basis (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).


Newcomers always Welcome!

We expect to welcome new faces to our team every year. Journey is growing and people new to Journey Church, along with students who are developing their gifts, need a chance to use them. We accept new people as though they are already part of the family – because they are. Please recommend others who you think might be good additions to your team!

If you are new to Journey Church, your first step is to attend “Starting Point”, which is offered periodically.  Contact Pastor Matt Palmer.


Requirements for Music Team Members

Here are the basic requirements for being part of the core Music Team:

  • Be a growing follower of Jesus.
  • Have a plan for spiritual growth in your life – A Life Group, D-Group, spiritual mentor, etc.
  • Have the time to commit regularly to midweek rehearsals and Sundays.
  • Be available to help out, maintaining a servant attitude.
  • Have a musical skill that is needed and a level of skill that will make a valuable contribution.
  • Be willing to arrive on time, be open to taking direction from your Worship Leader (WL) or Musical Director (MD).
  • Understand the role, value, and purpose of the Music Team as it relates to the entire ministry of our church.


The process for new Music Team members involves a low-stress musical interview with the Pastor of Worship, a Musical Director or Vocal Team Leader.

From time to time we invite “guest musicians” to join us who have not fulfilled the above requirements.  This is at the discretion of the Worship Pastor.  If you have a friend who you feel needs to be embraced into the Journey Church community of musicians, please talk to the Worship Pastor.


Excellence and Music

None of us are perfect, but we are doing our best to serve Jesus.

Remember that excellence is different from perfection. Excellence is doing the very best with what we’ve been given, while perfectionism goes beyond to demand a flawless performance – this is not us.  This year we will work at improving our skills together, while maintaining an attitude of worship.  But this growth process requires us being open to constructive criticism.  We just want to present our best to God (2 Chronicles 2.7).

True, you can be talent-less and still be a great worshipper.  But to lead others in worship, talent and diligence is required. Anyone who has worked hard learning an instrument or learning to sing knows that it takes years of discipline. A certain level of skill is required before anyone can stand up on a stage and sing or play in front of people.

Our goal is to be working to fully utilize our gifts, always striving for excellence, and improving our quality – we don’t want to get in a rut.  There are many ways for us to improve what we are doing. Go to seminars, attend other churches who are steps ahead of us, go to conferences and concerts, take music lessons, and do whatever else you can to continue to develop your gifts.



Being Teachable

A true worshipper realizes just how far they have to go, and this shows up in an attitude of service.  None of us have “arrived” in our spiritual lives, or in the way we play or sing.  We always need to be evaluating, picking apart, studying, reading, praying, worshipping – trying to grow in our understanding of God and what it means to worship Him and lead others in worship (Philippians 3.12-15)!

This year you might be asked to attend a special seminar or conference, or read the occasional blog article to encourage growth in your area of service. Please be willing to commit to this and you may even come across something that helps the whole team, that you want to share on our Journey Worship Facebook group.

A Personal, Growing Faith

We are committed to you being fed spiritually, and participating in congregational worship at Journey Church on a regular basis, so worship service attendance is normally expected, even when you are not scheduled to sing or play.

Your spiritual growth is important to us as a church, no matter what your stage on your Journey.  We’d like to see you in  some type of small group, or discipleship group, with people who know the “real you”, for community and spiritual growth.  Journey has “Life Groups” that meet weekly and focus on the Sunday teaching.  You may even want to start a new one!  If you need help with this, talk to Pastor Gary, Pastor Matt Palmer, or Pastor Scott, our Life Groups Pastor.


Midweek Rehearsals

Midweek (Thursday) rehearsals are the time for the team members to rehearse.  For members of the Music Team (both Band and Vocals), midweek rehearsal attendance is a must on weeks you are scheduled.  You may not feel that you need the practice, but just like a sports team, your team members are depending on you.

Life happens and grace is extended.  If you find yourself scheduled but not able to be at rehearsal, just reach out to your Team Leader as soon as you can.

What time should you show up?  Vocalists begin at 6:30pm.  Then they join the band shortly after 7pm.

Band members, first note is at 7pm.  Depending on what instrument you play, you may need to come and set up at 6:30pm.  Or maybe you can jet in at 6:55pm if you’re confident in your setup.  In any case, arriving early (both on Sunday and Thursday) is the way to fix problems before they happen.

Sunday Morning Rehearsals

Sunday morning rehearsals are the time when we pull together as one team to make our services really come together.  Currently first note on Sundays is at 9:00am.  Please come earlier if you need time for setup, or to make changes to your setup.  We only have 30 minutes for mic checks and to run through songs – as the service “tech run through” begins at 9:30am.

Please be on time for rehearsals.  Plan to arrive early so that you are parked, primed, prepared, and ready to sing or play.

Sunday morning group prayer time before service time is critical, every week, every service, all sites, all teams. We need you to participate in this time of spiritual preparation.

Preparation for Rehearsal

Please come prepared to rehearsal, having listened to and practiced the songs.  Remember, “practice” is on your own, while “rehearsal” is with the team.

On your computer, you can find the song set online at Planning Center under “plans”.  In the top right corner, click on “rehearse”, and you will find charts and mp3’s for the service.

On the “PCO Services” mobile phone app, go on the correct service date and just hit “media player”.  Listen to the song, taking specific note to your instrumental or vocal part.

In-Ear Monitors

Our Worship Team members use “in-ear monitors (IEMS)” to get their own mix.   You will need a set of good quality ear buds to plug in on Sundays.   Here is a link with a variety of models to consider, in different price ranges:

The Best In-Ear Monitors for Worship Team Singers


Also, you will need the app “SQ4YOU” on your smart phone, which which will be your personal mixer.  If you are new, ask your Musical Director (MD) to explain it to you.


One Team

Some churches call the “Worship Team” the people with microphones.  Not so at Journey Church – singers, band members and tech people are all part of our Worship Ministry, consisting of “Music Team and Tech Team”.  Pastor Gary leads the Music Team, while Pastor Matt Palmer leads the Tech Team.

As a team member you will have the opportunity to “build-up” others on the Team.  We are all working toward the same goal. Your role on the team has a direct effect on the self-esteem of others!

Music Team members, please address your Musical Director (MD) when you need assistance on the stage.  Your MD will request the change.   Please avoid yelling back and forth to the tech booth, if at all possible.

Personal “put-downs” will not be part of our public or private conversations.  Romans 16.17 applies here: “…watch out for those who cause divisions…” Your relationships within the team will be evident.

To lead by example, we must show our willingness to work with everyone on the Worship Team at our sites.  There is no “A list” of musicians – everyone is to be treated with respect.  We are seeking to foster a “one team” mentality, and purpose to move forward.



Planning Center Online  is our main form of communication.

On Planning Center, you will also find the phone numbers and email addresses of all of your team-mates.  You can upload a photo of yourself and provide extra info if you like.

We have also set up a Facebook Group called “Journey Worship: Music and Tech Teams”, which you should have been invited to (if not, we will gladly invite you).  You are welcome to post relevant stuff on this group.

And you can always Facebook Message or text or call Gary at 519-502-2419.


Our scheduling system is Planning Center.

We schedule on a semester basis.  Here are our semesters:

  • September – December, Fall
  • January – May, Winter
  • June – August, Summer


Here’s how it works:

  1. Block off Away Dates.  At the beginning of each semester (see below), enter your away dates.  In your PCO calendar, click on “X” Block-out dates” and enter your away dates..
  2. When the scheduling is completed for the semester, check it online.  Whether you use your computer or the mobile phone app (available for iPhone or Android), your schedule is always available under Calendar Options, My Schedule.  So there is never a need to guess when you are scheduled.
  3. Put your serving dates in your own phone or personal calendar.

Schedule Changes.  Life happens!  If you need to decline a serving date, please do it ASAP by “declining” on the Planning Center app (either on your computer or phone).  Please explain why you are not able to serve (there is a space for that).  This sends an email to whoever scheduled you (in this case, Gary).  If you have an emergency and you need to cancel the “week of”, please decline and give Gary a call or text at 519-502-2419.

There is no need to find a replacement for yourself (switching).  Actually, if you do this it kind of creates confusion, because potentially no one will know who is showing up to take your place!  So please just decline if you can’t serve, and we will sort it out.

How often you are scheduled will depend on how many others there are on the team that serve the same way you do.  For example, if there are three drummers, you will probably serve roughly every three weeks.  Also, more experienced players may be scheduled more often than players who are less experienced.  We do our best to make the schedule fair.


What to Wear

Why do we need to address “dress”?  It’s actually not what you might think – it’s not about other people complaining.  Instead, it is about our own hearts.

Here’s the reasoning in a nutshell:  as people saved from a life of sin, the blood of Jesus purifies us.  We are now called to remain pure and unstained from the “world”.  Because of the Good News of Jesus, we are called to a higher standard – that includes the way we present ourselves.  Read 1 Corinthians 6:11-13. Sometimes, the old heart-problem of drawing attention to ourselves creeps back in.  At Journey, we want the attention to go to God instead!

There is nothing wrong with being stylish and taking good care of your appearance, or having individual “flare”, or having a “look”.  But there are three issues we need to consider, as we reach into the closet for Sunday morning:

1.  Modesty.  Please be conscious of the image you portray.

2.  Continuity.  Even though individuality is important, we don’t want to all be drastically different and draw attention to ourselves.

3.  Respect.  Choose the High Road.  We are serving people of all ages.

From Our Video Team   Please choose solid colours, and avoid these colours:  black, white and grey.  Small checked patterns are a problem for cameras.  Vivid, solid colours look best!


Our ‘Horizontal’ Relationships

Whenever you throw a group of artistic people together you get challenges!  Hey, all of us have a few quirky personality traits.  However, we have an important task to perform and learning to work well together as brothers and sisters in Christ is a commandment (John 13:34-35)!

We’d like our mantra to be “UNITY through ENCOURAGEMENT”.  This means finding ways to encourage each other, through notes and verbal “build-up” opportunities (Ephesians 4.29).

 Our ‘Vertical’ Relationships

Having a growing relationship with Jesus will prepare you for when you ‘hit a rock’ in your life; the best time to train for a marathon is when you’re not in one. In your prayer life, continually ask God for a renewed relationship with Him.

If you are not in a good place right now in your vertical or horizontal relationships, ask to take a leave from the Team and talk to someone you trust.  No one will condemn you for stepping down temporarily; if anything we’ll thank you and try to help.

Our church’s primary way of caring for you in community is Life Groups (or “D Groups”).  You may want to form your own Life Group of people involved in the Music and Teams!

By putting you as a leader in front of hundreds of people every week, we are saying, “Journey Church trusts you.” Nobody expects you to be perfect, but what we do expect is that you are growing in your walk with God (2 Peter 3:18).  A worshipping participant who is not in a dynamic, living (in the Biblical sense) relationship with God, will be ineffective in leading people anywhere!


Our Role as Worship “Modellers”

We are striving to lead people to worship who may have never worshipped before.

Practice is the time to largely focus on the notes, but our services are the time to focus on God.  Please come on Sunday morning with a heart that is prepared to worship.  Be prepared to grow through the teaching.  Getting a good rest on Saturday night is a key part of your preparation!  Having your own times of worship is another important way to prepare.

People need to see some evidence that our lives are being lived out passionately for Jesus, on stage and off stage.  Let’s continue to ask Him to help us change internally, so that the lives of those around us will be impacted by our efforts (1 Timothy 4.16).

Thank you for serving!


Gary Sharpe 
Worship Pastor
Journey Church


 Always give yourselves to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”  1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV


The “DNA” of Our Worship Services

Just like every church, Journey Church has a culture all of its own.  And within our church, our worship culture is unique to us.

  1. Musical Worship that is Authentically Passionate and Engaging and Jesus focused.
  2. Emphasis on Congregational Worship Songs.  Our efforts are primarily focused on congregational songs, rather than solos, or “special music”.
  3. Creative Services that Make Sense and Change Lives.  Every minute of every service is important.
  4. Special Attention to Our Worship Environment.  Our environment helps us enter into worship (attention to stage design, lighting, sound).
  5. Variety in Programming Musicians (using a variety of musicians, young and old, different instruments), but consistently relevant in our style.
  6. The Effective Use of Multi-Media as a Communications Tool. We embrace tools like video and interviews.
  7. Appropriately Gifted People, Trained and Serving in the Right Roles (tech and music).
  8. Doing our Best with What We Have (talent resources, equipment resources).