How to Lead a Debriefing with Your Team
My team’s debriefings after the set are usually only five to ten minutes, and they provide a great opportunity to look at the positive things that happened during the set as well as anything that might have been challenging. This is also a time for people to share their thoughts about how the set went and to ask any questions they might have.
As the worship leader, you have to lead this debriefing time in a positive (yet honest) way.
I encourage you to always start the debriefing times by pointing out something positive that happened during the set. It can be a simple as, “I really felt the Lord on the third song.” Maybe you encourage an individual, one of your singers or musicians with some positive feedback from the set. I always like to give room for others on the team to give feedback as well. There is just something beneficial that happens when the team has the opportunity to express what they are thinking and feeling about how the set went and the best time to do so is while it is still fresh in our minds.At the core, consistently debriefing with your team teaches us that the sets are about Him so much more than they’re about us and the technical things that went well or poorly. Click To Tweet
If you’ve been leading for a while, I’m sure you’ve experienced some sets that were so challenging that you’d rather just forget them. I’ve definitely had a few times walking off the stage where the last thing I wanted to do was to go and face my team to talk about what just happened. It would be easier to forget the last hour or two and move on. Although it’s not easy to go into that room and talk to my team about a difficult set, intentionally drawing forth the positive nuggets really builds character.
Again, see if you can sum up the set in a positive light even when you might not feel very positive about it. There’s something beneficial about pushing yourself to do things when everything in your flesh doesn’t want to. At the core, this practice is teaching us that the sets are about Him so much more than they’re about us and the technical things that went well or poorly.Don't lie, but in a mature way, set the tone of the debriefing by calling out the good. Click To Tweet
Here are a few more things I’ve found to be helpful to do during debriefings:
1) Talk about what went well with the set. Again, with even the hardest sets, really try to find those moments that went well and focus on them.
2) Talk about some of the more challenging things. Maybe give some thoughts as to why it was a challenge, such as a song arrangement being off, distraciton, etc. When you are able to isolate the problem, it is much easier to constructively address it.
3) Get spiritual as well as technical feedback. Ask the team if they were feeling anything specific during the set. Sometimes you will be surprised to discover that a part of the set that you found dry or uninspiring was especially meaningful to someone else.
4) Ask the sound tech how he or she felt about the set. Many times, sound techs are the forgotten heroes of our worship sets. Try to remember to thank them for a job well done and not only constructive criticism, as running sound can often feel like a thankless job that is only noticed when something sounds off.
5) Close in prayer. I always like to close our debriefing with a word of prayer. It helps to give a definite end and also opens it up for people to share prayer requests. I suggest randomly picking different people to close in prayer.
The biggest piece of advice I can give about a debriefing time is to keep things positive. Like I mentioned before, this is so important because inevitably, there will be challenging sets. I’ve been in some debriefings, even the one leading them, where it just took that one person with that one negative comment to get everyone hopping on the negativity train. And once that train starts going, it is so hard to slow it down. I encourage you as the worship leader to press through and really find the positive facets of a set. Don’t lie, but in a mature way, set the tone of the debriefing by calling out the good.
There are the rare cases where I’d say forgoing your debriefing and just calling it a day is probably the best idea, but I want to challenge you to not make that the norm. Many times if it was a rough set for you, it was a rough set for your band or singers. Maybe your band forgot the arrangement and it was an awkward moment, or your singers sang when you didn’t want them to and they were off-pitch. My caution with canceling a debriefing is that doing so has the potential to blow the problem from that set out of proportion. If you can gather your thoughts and even do a quick one or two minute debriefing, that is still better than walking out and not communicating with your team at all. They probably need some closure and would benefit from gathering together even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Every team’s briefing and debriefing times will take on that team’s personality and style. As you lead these times, they will evolve to suit the needs of your team. Although these gatherings are highly practical, you will find that as you are committed to making them a priority and inviting the Lord into them, briefings and debriefings are an enjoyable and invaluable time of connection and communication for your worship team.
Huge thanks to my friend Jordan Vanderplate for letting me use this photo of London, England. Check out more of his work here.