Worship teams are made up of people who love the Lord and are committed to leading others in adoration and worship of God. Because of this, we tend to have expectations that team dynamics and interactions will be full of grace and flow seamlessly with no problems or issues. This is so far from the truth.

As worship leaders, we want to always press for a no-complaining, grumble-free environment and develop a thankful and encouraging atmosphere on your team. Click To Tweet

What we are doing is a deeply spiritual act, but it doesn’t make us immune to the same temptations as everyone else. We might think that followers of Jesus wouldn’t grumble or complain, but always speak positive, encouraging, life-giving words to one another. While this is a great goal we should always be aiming for, the reality is that we’re all human and we all have our moments when we get frustrated and respond with grumbling and complaining.

I’ve found that once you begin to develop a family atmosphere on your team where people feel more comfortable with one another, it becomes especially easy to grumble.

Think of how often we try to keep our thoughts to ourselves in public, but can’t wait for the chance to go home and “vent” to our spouses, roommates, and close friends.

Grumbling and complaining are not the innocent sharing of opinions; they are damaging not only to your own spirit but also to those you're complaining to. Click To Tweet

The same holds true on a worship team. We may put on a good face on the platform, but the temptation to “vent” our complaints once we’re alone with our teammates can be great at times.

Let me be clear that grumbling and complaining are not the innocent sharing of opinions; they are damaging not only to our own spirits but also to those we’re complaining to. Grumbling breeds grumbling and once a culture of complaining is set, it’s difficult to change it.

As worship leaders, we want to always press for a no-complaining, grumble-free environment. You want to shoot to have a thankful and encouraging atmosphere on your team.

When an issue is brought up in the right spirit, in the proper environment, and through the right channels, it’s clean before the Lord. Click To Tweet

Addressing this issue on your team starts with you. Lead by example. You may have just had the worst set in the world; the sound was horrible, the congregation wasn’t engaging, and the new drummer messed up on the arrangement. It’s up to you to come back to the debriefing and not complain. You don’t have to lie, but keep it positive. Just as there will always be something we can grumble and complain about, there are always things we can be grateful for. Sometimes it just comes down to perspective.

Here are five suggestions as to how to set the bar high and avoid complaining:

1. Look for solutions instead of casting blame.

Instead of complaining about the things that went wrong, come up with plans to address those things and bring about change. For example, if the sound was terrible, brainstorm together ways to improve it. Do you need some new equipment? Does the sound tech need more training? Do you need to communicate better with the sound tech before leading worship?

2. Get a consensus before making judgments.

Sometimes your perception of whether the congregation was engaging is not shared by the whole team. Perhaps others saw things you didn’t. Ask your team members to share what was good about a worship set instead of launching into your list of what went wrong.

3. Ask open-ended questions that encourage positive feedback.

For example, you might say, “Who can share something that they thought went well during that set?” or “What positive things can we build on for next time?”

4. Build people up instead of tearing them down.

When someone has a bad set, they usually already know it without you pointing it out in front of the whole team. Look for the positive things you can point out. Instead of making accusations, try asking that person what they thought of the set.

5. Nip grumbling in the bud.

When you see that a team member is grumbling and complaining, I would recommend connecting with that person after the set and gracefully addressing it. Sometimes grumbling is such a habit that people don’t even realize how much they’re doing it. Gentle reminders can go a long way toward helping people realize the negative impact of a bad attitude.

Avoiding grumbling and complaining does not mean pretending everything is perfect all of the time. There are genuine concerns and problems and we don’t want people to keep everything inside. But a lot of it has to do with the way you share your concerns.

For example, instead of saying, “The pastor is cutting our worship time short every week! I am so frustrated!” try, “I feel like as soon as worship is really starting to take off, the pastor is ready to shift gears. Maybe we should talk to him about our concerns. Perhaps we could suggest having an extended worship night.”

Worship Leaders: create times on your team where honest feedback can be shared in a way that doesn’t cast blame, criticize others, or tear people down. Click To Tweet

Instead of saying, “No one was engaged during that whole set! Why do they even come?” try, “I have a hard time when I feel like people aren’t engaging. What do you guys do when that happens to you?”

The goal is to create space where honest feedback can be shared in a way that doesn’t cast blame, criticize others, or tear people down. When you feel frustrated, take a deep breath and try to focus on the good, ask for helpful ideas, and brainstorm solutions together.

Worship Leaders: Instead of grumbling about frustrating things, seek to deal with them in a spirit of grace. Click To Tweet

When an issue is brought up in the right spirit, in the proper environment, and through the right channels, it’s clean before the Lord. Instead of grumbling about frustrating things, seek to deal with them in a spirit of grace. Instead of complaining, seek solutions together.

I’d love to hear what has worked well for you in this area. Share your comments below!

Huge thanks to my friend Jordan Vanderplate for letting me use this photo of Trinity Library Dublin. Check out more of his work here.


I'm Justin Rizzo - worship leader, songwriter and recording artist. I want to help you achieve your highest potential and walk out with confidence everything you've been made for.

6 comments

  1. Evensen Laura

    Thanks Justin for these positive and honest insights. As we go to train worship leaders in Russia about Harp and Bowl I may be referring to these. Also I’m passing this along to our son Josiah. He’s running GraceHouse Mpls. It’s a worship ministry. @josiahdavie
    Bless you
    Laura
    We will miss seeing you in Kiev!

  2. I enjoy reading your writings for worship teams. Thanks for putting your heart into what you do. I appreciate the practical advice you offer and I encourage our worship team to read your emails. Blessings to you and your family.

  3. traiza william fawzy

    Huge thanks to my best worship leader, songwriter, and recording artist. I want to thank you very very much for your advices i speak blessing on your ministry and on your life in jesus name your sincerely traiza