Once someone passes your worship team audition process and you realize that they have the skill to be a part of your team, avoid the temptation to just throw them into your Sunday morning rotation.

You don’t just want to focus on the immediate needs your team may have; you want to focus on the health of your team three, six, and twelve months from now. You want to play the long game.

This is why I encourage people to hold what I call “Vision and Values” nights.

What are Vision and Values Nights?

A Vision and Values Night is basically a mini “in-house” worship-team internship. It can be anywhere from three to six months of meeting one night a week, where you go through your team’s vision and values while growing in worship, skill, and community with current and prospective team members.

Why have Vision and Values Nights?

They give you a focused time to share your vision and values with new and current team members.

They give you a clear outlet to give healthy, constructive feedback that you may not have time to do within the rigors of leading Sunday morning services. Basically, you’re saying, “I’ve recognized and approved your skill, but now I want to make sure you’re a good musician and will embrace the core values of our church and worship department.”

They give your current team a hands-on opportunity to sow into others in a focused way. Your drummer is your drummer, but now you get to push him to grow in discipleship and training of other drummers.

They give you the opportunity to vet people in skill, character, and spiritual life before they’re officially on your team. That “not officially on the team” stage is a healthy pressure that you can use to your advantage. Once people are on the team, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still work on issues, but it can be a lot easier before they officially join. I’m not telling you to be the spiritual and emotional health police of your team, but you should be the main one discerning the status of your team. When someone gets hired, even with an amazing skill set, their new company is going to spend time, money, and energy to acclimate that person to their system and get them on board with the way they do things and where they’re headed. Is your potential new team member able to make these nights a priority? Are they on time? You’ll be able to tell really quickly where their priorities lie by having them attend these nights.

Who should attend?

Get your entire team: band, singers, sound tech, and worship leaders-in-training, plus anyone new who you’re looking to have join your team. You may even invite your pastor in once in a while to share his heart for the department.

Worship Leaders: take time to pray together as a team. Pray for your church, team, department, and specific personal prayer needs. Click To Tweet

How often should you hold Vision and Values Nights?

You can set up their frequency based on how much time you have. You can hold them literally one night a week year round, one night a week following the school calendar (summers/holidays off, etc.), one night a month, or quarterly. The more frequent, the better, just because it’s easier to get into a rhythm and flow with greater frequency. Start with something manageable. Maybe quarterly. Personally, I’ve found it best to shoot for more frequently than four times a year because if it’s quarterly and someone ends up being sick or out of town, it’s going to be another three months before they have a chance to attend the next one.

What, specifically, do you do on Vision and Values Nights?

Share your team vision and values.
Share your expectations of what it means to be a part of the team. I’d encourage you not to make this a long sermon, but rather a 10-15 minute time where you share one value and then discuss it with your team. (See why you need to have a vision for your worship team and my five-point team vision).

Have members of your team share.
Have one or two individuals share their life story, passions, and dreams for 15-20 minutes per person. I recommend using this relationship questionnaire (see below) as a guide, because for most people it’ll be difficult to talk about their lives for longer than 30 seconds.

Play music together.
For musicians, get them playing. For singers, get them singing. Practice playing worship songs or maybe just have a time of building some instrumental music. The possibilities and scenarios are endless. Have fun with this.

Worship Together.
Have an actual mini-worship set. Maybe as the worship leader, you don’t always lead this time, but instead use it as an opportunity to give others a chance. You can just be in the room listening or just singing without leading.

Pray together.
Take some time to pray together as a team. Pray for your church, team, department, personal prayer needs, etc.

These gatherings allow you as the worship leader, your associate, your band, and your singers to sow into others. They also give you the opportunity to be in the room listening to your sound tech’s mix, giving thoughts, etc.

Share a meal together.
Nothing brings people closer together in friendship than food. Make food and/or coffee a frequent part of these nights.

People’s skill gets them in the door of the grocery store. But these Vision and Values Nights will tell you what kind of shoppers they are and allow you to get a closer look at their habits. Do they only hang out in the candy and snack aisle? Do they eat any fruits or veggies? (Sorry for the food analogy! But you get the point!

Don’t make these gatherings a huge pressure on you or your team. Find out what’s manageable and doable. Adding another weekly team requirement like this may be impossible, especially if you’re leading a team of all volunteers. What is doable for you right now?

You’ll eliminate hours upon hours of frustration by making the on-ramp to your team longer and more thorough than simply a quick “passed an audition” approach. Vision and Values Nights give your worship team a unique advantage and opportunity to soar.

Do you currently have something like this in place for your team? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

Worship Leaders: Having regular vision and values nights will give your worship team a unique advantage and opportunity to soar. Click To Tweet
Worship Leaders: you’ll eliminate hours upon hours of frustration by making the on-ramp to your team longer and more thorough than simply a quick “passed an audition” approach. Click To Tweet

Huge thanks to my friend Jordan Vanderplate for letting me use this photo of Glacier Gorge at Rocky Mountain National Park. Check out his work here.

Relationship Questionnaire

(Download a printable copy of this here)

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15)

Describe your family background
1. Briefly describe your parents and siblings.
2. Where did you grow up?
3. What occupation did your parent(s) have?
4. Describe various emotional, financial, and spiritual dynamics in your family.
5. Describe your relationship with your parent(s) while growing up.
6. Describe your relationship with your parent(s) now.

Describe your personal life
1. What events and people have brought you joy or blessing over the years?
2. What events and people have brought you pain or pressure over the years?
3. How did you come to know the Lord?
4. Describe your primary assignments from the Lord, now and in the future.
5. Describe promises from the Lord that you are actively believing God for.

Life update
1. What are 1 or 2 things that have caused you to rejoice recently?
2. What are 1 or 2 things that have caused you pressure recently?
3. Share some of your personal goals (spiritually, vocationally, relationally, financially).
4. Is there someone that we know who has impacted your life recently? Explain.
5. Give a brief “SWOT” overview of your life:

  S- strengths: give 1 or 2 areas of your life that you see growth or improvement in.
  W- weaknesses: give 1 or 2 areas that you are working on and want prayer for.
  O- opportunities: give 1 or 2 areas that you see as potential blessings or open doors.
  T- threats: give 1 or 2 areas that are causing you pressure or present a challenge.

Family Update
1. Give an update on your marriage. Share one area you are growing in or working on.
2. Give an update on each of your children.  
3. Give a short update on your family (parents, siblings, in-laws, etc.).
4. How can we pray for you and your family?

Spiritual life
1. What is the Lord saying to you about your life, family, or team?
2. What passages of Scripture are you focused on?
3. Do you have any new ministry focuses?
4. What areas are being highlighted by the Lord in your life, marriage, or children, etc?
5. Have you had a life-changing moment lately?

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

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Light of the World (Acoustic)


  1. Love this!
    One of the most cohesive worship teams I’ve been on had bible study and prayer every week before practice. Basically the worship team was it’s own small group that happened to also lead worship.

  2. Thanks Justin! I think this could apply to other ministries across the church as well. Keep up the great work you do!

  3. Caryn Steward

    Thanks for the great advice!
    Like the scripture says, “Know them that labor among you.”
    And there really is no other way to truly know someone, but to spend time with them.
    It seems like such a good way to make sure that you are a watchman on the wall.
    Jude warns about those who sneek in privately when no one stands guard.
    And their is just nothing better than developing Godly friendships.

  4. I agree with Harley. One of the best “small groups” I was in was one formed by those who were involved in worship ministry. It was a focus group really, and led by some of the most amazing people and was the best group I have ever been a part of. We really enjoyed it.

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