If you are leading worship with a team, more than likely you connect with them in some way before your worship set, whether it is for a sound check, a time of sharing, or preparing which songs you are going to use.

I call this meeting time our team “briefing.” You may use different terminology, but the idea is the same.

Briefings are an important foundation to have on a worship team to keep your team functioning in a healthy way long-term. These times before a set are key for communication, clarity, and vision-casting. On my team, we also meet right after each worship set, which we refer to as our “debriefing” (more about that later). In a lot of ways, briefings and debriefings are almost as important as the worship set itself.

These off-stage preparation and meeting times can really tell you a lot about you and your team. Briefings and debriefings can be some of the most fun and valuable times together, but they can also pose some challenges. Here are a few of the things I have found helpful to include.

WORSHIP LEADERS: It’s in the moments when we might not want to be there, or when we feel like we have absolutely nothing to give, that our choices really fashion and form our character. Click To Tweet

The briefing

The nature of your pre-set briefing will vary depending on what kind of set you are about to lead (Sunday morning worship, an extended worship set, conference or prayer time, etc.) Maybe you will do a sound check first and then brief for a few minutes before the set begins. Maybe you brief first and then do the sound check, or your team may find it best to combine the two. Even if I am at a venue where we are doing an hour-long sound check, I will still allow for time to gather with my team backstage for a few minutes to brief.

Briefings can be some of the sweetest times as you fellowship with your team, talk about what each person is feeling, maybe share from a passage of Scripture, and then pray together before going out on stage. On the other hand, briefing with your team can also be a challenge because it’s the front line of connecting with them for the day.

What do I mean?

Sometimes as you’re on your way to your set, it seems like everything has gone wrong in your day thus far. Whether it’s a stressful time at home, water in your basement (yes, it’s true) or just having a rough day in general; it can be a challenge to come prepared to lead a briefing time with your team.

Many times, when I am coming in to prepare the team for a set after a challenging morning or afternoon, I take a few minutes to share with the team and then ask them for prayer. I might ask if anyone else on the team is having a challenging day so we can all pray together. Other times, and only you can be the judge of when, we have to check our issues at the door, say a quick prayer asking God for help to lead our team with excellence, and press into His strength. It’s in the moments when we might not want to be there, or when we feel like we have absolutely nothing to give, that our choices really fashion and form our character.

I have compiled a list of a few elements from my briefings over the years. Now obviously, these things will vary greatly depending on what kind of set you are leading and how much time you have to connect with your team. My hope is that you will be able to adapt the ideas here and find what works for you and your team.

1) Try to gather your entire team. I have found it helpful to have my singers, band, sound tech and screens (power point) person join us. If you are leading on a Sunday morning, you may even ask your pastor or associate pastor if they want to join you. This promotes unity and helps to ensure that everyone involved in the set is on the same page.

2) Try to hold the line on people being on time. This may seem like an obvious point, but I encourage you to remind your team regularly of the importance of starting on time for the practical points of sound check, team connection, and any last-minute song changes. Obviously, circumstances arise that cause people to run late and you don’t want to heap guilt on them when this happens, but you do want to set a culture of mutual respect and courtesy by making every effort to be on time.

3) Make announcements. Depending on your worship team context, you may want to start the time with any necessary team announcements. Maybe someone is transitioning off of or onto the team, etc. Whatever the announcement is, try to have the whole team present; this is another great argument for being on time to team briefings.

4) Go over your set list. The briefing may be the perfect opportunity to listen to that mp3 clip you recorded at band practice to refresh the band on the new arrangement. Maybe you hand out chord sheets to the musicians or lyrics to the singers.

5) Warm-up. I always try to make some time to do some vocal warm-ups if possible.

6) Share a Scripture that God has put on your heart. This doesn’t have to be a sermon. It doesn’t even necessarily have to apply to the set you’re about to do, but it is helpful when it does. If something from the Word is on your heart – share it.

7) Read a portion of Scripture. Something else I have done from time to time is to read a Psalm or a chapter in the Bible out loud. I invite different people on the team to read to help them engage.

8) Encourage one another. If your team plays together multiple times a week, you may not have anything pressing to talk through pertaining to your set. You could take your briefing time to pick someone on the team to pray over and encourage.

9) Discuss the topic of the prayer set. If you’re preparing to lead a prayer set on a specific topic, you can take time to talk about the prayer topic. Sharing history, facts, or information about the region or topic you are about to pray for is very helpful to bring focus.

10) Pray. I usually end my briefings with a word of prayer. You don’t always have to be the person who prays. I regularly ask others on my team to pray before a set. This helps keep everyone engaged and it helps us to get to know one another better.

Try a few of these out and let me know how it goes in the comments below!

Huge thanks to my friend Jordan Vanderplate for letting me use this photo of Cooper Lake, WA. Check out more of 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.







I’m Still Saying Yes (Spontaneous)



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