I get to meet and talk with worship leaders often. I’m so grateful for the community, fellowship, and many times, vulnerability that comes as we share about our teams and experiences.

As we share both the joys and challenges of being worship leaders, there’s one theme I consistently observe: the honesty with which these worship leaders share in our conversations doesn’t transfer when they’re talking to their teams.

Issues are going to arise on your team that require you to step up to the plate. The question is, do you deal with the challenges? Or do you retreat and hope that they’ll just work themselves out? Click To TweetOften, worship leaders share about a specific challenge they’re having with a member of their team or even their pastor, so I ask clarifying questions to try to get to the root of the problem.

Time and time again, I find that when pressed, the leaders admit that they haven’t actually taken the necessary step to directly confront the conflict or challenge the person in question.

Here are some of the things I’ve heard:

– I don’t think my pastor values worship and I feel deflated as a leader.

– My drummer just isn’t good; he can’t stick with the click and I don’t know what to do. I’m stuck with him.

– The other band members are really frustrated with the drummer and they’re talking to me about how they might leave the team unless I do something about it.

– Members of my band consistently show up unprepared and disregard the work I asked them to do in advance.

– This person consistently shows up late and it’s really frustrating.

– I’m having to make excuses to the rest of my team for that guitar player who’s always late.

– I’m having to make excuses to the rest of my singers who are complaining about that one singer’s pitch issues.

You may be in a few of these exact situations right now.

First of all, many of these things can be avoided (see my posts on How to Hold Auditions for Your Team, and How to lead a Vision and Values Night).

Secondly, no matter how good of a leader you are, or how thorough your audition process, challenges are going to arise on your team because you’re human and you’re leading humans.

Issues are going to arise that will require you to step up to the plate. The question is, do you deal with the challenges head on? Or do you retreat and hope that they’ll just work themselves out?

Good leaders don’t have a certain gift mix or personality type. Good leaders learn what their strengths and weaknesses are and consistently work on getting better. Click To TweetI’ve seen so many worship team members get wounded because their worship leader refused to have honest and open conversations with them. Or worship leaders think they have communicated clearly and assume the team members understand, when in reality, they never really stated the facts and just danced around the issue.

I used to really struggle with being passive as a leader. Honestly, I’d struggle to even make eye contact with someone on my team who I didn’t want to have a conversation with or deal with. But that approach ended up doing way more damage than if I had just sat down and had an honest conversation.

Do you struggle with being passive when it comes to confronting your team? Are you afraid of being the bad guy? Is your passivity and resistance to conflict hurting your team? Click To TweetGood leaders don’t have a certain gift mix or personality type. Good leaders learn what their strengths are and pinpoint their weaknesses and consistently work on getting better.

No matter what you may think of yourself as a leader today, I promise that if you’re willing, humble, and committed to putting in the work, you can grow as a leader.

Do you struggle with being passive when it comes to confronting your team? Are you afraid of being the bad guy? Is your passivity and resistance to conflict hurting your worship team?

What’s one issue or challenge on your team that you can commit to facing head on this week?

Talk to me in the comments below.

Huge thanks to my friend Jordan Vanderplate for letting me use this photo from Harry S. Truman Reservoir in Clinton, Missouri. Check out his work here.


I’m Justin Rizzo. I enable worship leaders who feel isolated, overworked, and unfocused to experience peace, confidence and create thriving worship communities.









6 comments

  1. Dan williams

    There is much wisdom contained in your blogs Justin.
    Practical, prophetic and powerful. Thank you for sharing these insights.

  2. Thank you so much. Yes, I have trouble and have been passive…terrified of dealing with these situations. I end up getting angry before motivated to deal with it. God has diligently been working with me on this very subject in every area of my life. Great timing…thanks.

    1. Justin Rizzo

      Thanks so much for sharing, Anne. Definitely been there before and it’s still a struggle at times. W’re on the journey together!

  3. A good challenge Justin. As a team leader, I have often chosen to not address certain problems because in my own mind it simply wasn’t “worth it”. My assessment of the situation was that the person either didn’t want to change or lacked the skills required to close the gap. Whether that assessment was accurate or not, the mistake I often made was not addressing the issue; and in doing so, I made a decision on their behalf. They never had the opportunity to make an improvement or change their behavior because I refused to acknowledged there was a problem. My passivity predetermined their failure. My arrogant assumption that they wouldn’t/couldn’t change ensured that they never changed. I think many times we are the ones responsible for other peoples failures by wrongly assuming they can’t take their service to the next level. That’s not actually their failure, that’s ours.

    In our marriage, my wife and I have an agreement “You can’t hold me accountable for something you never told me about”. If you don’t tell me that it bugs you when I do (whatever behavior irritates you), then I’ll continue to do what I do and you’ll continue to grow in your resentment of me and my irritating behavior. But, once we began sharing our pet peeves about each other, we had ample opportunity to love and honor each other. Open and honest conversation reduced a lot of resentment and allowed us to express a greater measure of love for each other. (It also taught us how to address problems in a spirit of humility, grace, and gentleness!)

    I think the same should be true of our worship/ministry teams. We will grow in love when we honor one another through honest conversation. Telling someone that their behavior is hurting you or the team is not disrespectful. In fact, it’s the opposite! Addressing issues demonstrates that we believe people are capable of more, posses the depth of character needed for the position they hold and are worth investing our time and energy into. Being willing to address issues shows we value people — avoiding conflict demonstrates how little we value them.

    As team leaders, it is our responsibility to love our team — and that means to “believe the best” about them. When we believe they are willing to change, we give them the same honor that Jesus has given to us.

    Thanks for provoking us Justin. Keep up the good work!

    1. Justin Rizzo

      Amazingly spoken, Jon. Thank you so much for sharing these valuable insights!

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