Nothing destroys team dynamics like ungodly speech. Sarcasm and coarse joking disrupt the authentic community by hindering honest, clear communication and discouraging true relationship and vulnerability.

The closer we grow as a team, the freer we feel. This is a good thing, honestly. There’s something special about being able to let your guard down with people. It is freeing to be able to share openly without worrying about being judged.

Carelessness with our speech becomes like a poison that negatively affects the atmosphere of the entire team. Click To Tweet

But sometimes with this freedom, come some challenges. The main one is becoming too casual and indiscrete with our speech. When we feel comfortable with people and our guard is down, it can often lead to sharing things we shouldn’t or sharing things in a wrong spirit. Carelessness with our speech becomes like a poison that negatively affects the atmosphere of the entire team.

We’re all weak and need to grow together in the area of our speech. I heard someone say once that a good barometer of wholesome speech on your worship team is whether you can call your team to pray at any given moment without it being jarring. If it would seem awkward to “switch gears” to pray in the midst of what’s being said, then most likely, that speech wasn’t benefiting your team.

Whether you like it or not your team will follow you, their leader, both during a set and afterward, including in the area of speech. Click To Tweet

One thing I’ve learned is that what you do, your team will also do.

Whether you like it or not, that’s the reality. Your team will follow their leader both during a set and afterward, including in the area of speech. If I am sarcastic, it is only a matter of minutes before someone else is sarcastic. It easily becomes a downward spiral. If you don’t put a stop to things like sarcasm and coarse joking, before long you will become unhappy with the direction your team is going. I’m speaking from experience on this one!

So What’s the Antidote?

Several years ago, the Lord tenderly spoke to me about how I was walking in the fear of man with my worship team. In my desire not to offend anyone or rock the boat, I kept silent and let so many things go on for way too long.

My passive aggressive off-stage leadership in those days was actually hurting me and my worship team. It was just so hard for me to be honest with my team. Click To Tweet

Sometimes it seemed like my team was out of control. I often didn’t like or agree with the things they said or did. I can’t tell you how many times I would come home after a day at the prayer room and talk to my wife about the regret I had in my heart regarding what I said (or didn’t say) in briefing or debriefing. I shared with her how I wanted to do better and prayed, “God, would You help me to have godly speech?”

My passive aggressive off-stage leadership in those days was actually hurting me and my worship team. It was just so hard for me to be honest with my team, not about my heart or those types of things, but about issues like people being late or having loose speech in a briefing. I finally realized that though a lot of these guys are my friends, when we come together for worship, I have to be and function as the leader. I have to lead by example and be willing to confront the ungodly speech that comes up on my team.

The area of speech is something I’m constantly paying attention to and trying to get better at. I haven’t arrived and I’m not sure if I ever fully will–but I am perpetually trying!

I would love to hear your thoughts on addressing the speech on your team. How do you turn the direction of conversation while still honoring the person speaking? I would love to hear what works for you in the comments below.

Huge thanks to my friend Jordan Vanderplate for letting me use this photo of Banff National Park. Check out more of his work here.


I’m Justin Rizzo. I’m a 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.









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