How Our Church Recruited Worship Volunteers, Part 1

Every recruitment campaign begins with a plan, even if that is a plan to “wing it.”  This past April I initiated a large scale arts recruitment campaign at our church.  I had been talking about this for months, but I finally got around to it in April.

Fortunately I had more than a plan to “wing it.”  Unfortunately I had been so busy that I had little time to get it done.  I am very grateful to the volunteers who helped make this campaign happen.

Beginning today I want to share the story with you:
  1. The Plan
  2. Why “Technical Arts?”
  3. The Campaign
  4. The Follow-Up
  5. The Lessons

I am learning tons from this process and I hope by looking over my shoulder you will discover ideas of what to do or what not to do.

The mission for this recruitment campaign was two-fold:
  1. Recruit more volunteers to serve in worship ministry
  2. Discover and enable as many artists as possible to use their gifts to glorify God and encourage others.

In order to do this I wanted to create an image, a brand, if you will, for the campaign itself.  I also wanted this brand to work well with the church so that I could use it again in the future and not have to always recreate the wheel.

I called the campaign Arts in Worship, encompassing Dramatic, Musical, Technical, and Visual arts.  I enlisted a friend of mine to help me design the logo and we ended up with this image:

Arts In Worship Graphic

We printed this out as a 6 foot long canvas banner.

In order to get the word out, we decided to do several things, one of which I had never done before:
  1. Announce the campaign in the services and project the banner.
  2. Place a big ad in the bulletin.
  3. Have a sign up table in the lobby under this beautiful banner.
  4. Have a series of live performances in the lobby called Live in the Lobby, one each week during the campaign.

This last one was new for me.  We do not have a huge lobby, but we do have an area that can be cleared out and adapted for various uses without disturbing the traffic patterns.  The plan was to highlight one of the areas in the arts each week.  Week 1 I invited musicians to play and sing live music before and after the services.  Week 2 I began working with a painter in the church to set up a gallery and have him painting live on Sunday morning.  Week 3 I invited the drama team to do something interactive with the people.

My goal for Live in the Lobby became threefold:

  1. To cement the call for artists into people’s minds as they enter and leave the auditorium.
  2. To draw attention to the place in the lobby where people can sign up for more information.
  3. To engage people in discussion about art as a part of worship.

I also wanted to do something extra related to the arts in the services each of those weeks.  Week 1 have a cool special song, week 2 incorporate the visual arts, and week 3 have a dramatic element in the services.

As my assistant and I recruited people to help with sign ups and Live in the Lobby performances, I even created guidelines so that volunteers would know what is expected of them.  This piece was a new one for me as well.

Here is what I wrote for those volunteer to be at the sign up table:
  1. Maintain a friendly demeanor.
  2. Direct interested individuals to the handouts we will provide.
  3. Share how you are involved in worship at CLC.
  4. Answer the questions you know and direct other questions to Maurice Overholt.
Here is what I wrote for Live in the Lobby performers:
  1. Maintain a friendly demeanor.
  2. Begin playing/painting/acting the moment the service ends.
  3. Play for 15 minutes.

I also wanted to have a social media presence during this time to keep the buzz going throughout the week.

That was the plan.  In my next post I will share what really happened, so stay tuned!

How to Select Songs for Worship Services

Every week worship leaders select songs for upcoming worship services.  The process of selecting songs can be an enormous task, complicated by well-meaning people offering not-always-so-helpful opinions on what songs to use.

Just the other day I met a gentleman for the first time.  After a few minutes of conversation, he says, “Make certain that the first song and the last song of every worship service are familiar ones.  Starting with an unfamiliar song just taints the rest of the music.”

This gentleman is not a member of any worship group, and, by his own admission, has not been involved in music since high school.  He does, however, feel that he has the right to share his opinion on the music and that his opinion is right.

Worship leaders everywhere experience these kinds of comments and interjections every week.

Pastors are constantly talking about wanting to hear and see the congregation be more involved in the music.

Musicians want fresh music and not the same old stuff every week.

Members want to sing their favorite songs.

So how do you choose songs in the middle of this continual and usually all-over-the-map feedback?

Here are a few things I consider in my planning.

  • Be able to fully articulate what the service is about and what you hope to accomplish in the service.
  • Know the congregation’s favorite music.
  • Know your pastor’s musical tendencies.
  • Pray before planning.  Always.
  • Read the related Scriptures thoroughly and note what phrases and ideas jump out to you.
  • In general, begin every service with an up-tempo song focused on who God is.
  • In general, end each service with something uplifting and at least medium up-tempo.
  • If you have three songs in a set often the first song should look up at God, the second should focus on how God interacts with us, and the third should be our personal response to God.
  • Introduce on average one new song (new to the congregation) a month.  Repeat new songs immediately the following week.
  • Courageously cut tired songs.
  • Ruthlessly scrutinize the theology of your songs.
  • Do not take critical comments about music personally.
  • Do not take yourself too seriously.
  • Hold loosely to what you plan.  God can run the universe without you, so he can probably work in a worship service even if you have to change what you had planned.
  • Keep the difficulty level of the music reasonable for your worship team.
  • Keep the melodies of congregational songs no higher than D.
  • Make certain that song melodies are singable.

These are just a few ideas.

What guidelines do you consider in selecting songs for congregational singing?