I believe we would all agree that our churches mustn’t be primarily inward-focused—just taking care of the needs of the church body. Churches that fail to follow the Great Commission and only look inward are churches that die, churches that lose their direction.
As worship leaders, we must seek ways to challenge our teams to always be on mission—getting out of the walls of the church to use their gifts to reach the world for Christ. Here are several ways to consider missional involvement with individuals and teams from the worship ministry:
Find ways to meet the needs of people in your neighborhood while building relationships that can lead to sharing Christ with others. Find opportunities for your team to work together in sharing God’s love in homeless shelters, soup kitchens, local schools, prisons, rehabilitation centers, etc. Make time to share these missional experiences in your weekly group times in order to celebrate the victories and life-change that God provides.
Take your choir, band, or other group to the marketplace to present music and share with people who come by. Go to retirement homes and have a hymn-sing or present some music to help many who feel marginalized and unloved to feel the love of God. Consider other options such as backyard music schools, block parties, or theater-in-the-park.
Church planting/fostering/loaning musicians
In my work, I constantly hear of struggling churches desperate to find musicians to help with worship. Consider loaning out some of your musicians to these churches on a rotational basis to bless these churches and help them get healthier.
Some church worship teams are helping with church fostering, where a healthy church comes alongside a struggling church to assist them in many areas. You may be able to develop a worship team to serve that church for a period of time. This is a great way to further develop worship leaders you are mentoring to exercise their skills.
Church planting is so important. Consider raising up a team to go and lead worship at a church plant to help the new work thrive. Whether it is your church or a sister church planting the church, you can be a tremendous help to this new work.
It is hard to turn loose of your talented worship team members to serve other places, but it is all part of having a kingdom mindset.
Missions trips and longer service
A simple way to describe the goal of missions trips is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ or help other people spread the gospel. As a worship leader, you can involve your team in national and international missions opportunities. Seek out short-term opportunities that partner with missionaries your church supports. Talk with associations and denominations your church may be a part of to find possibilities through those organizations. Seek out ways your worship teams can partner with them in their work through outreach events, training, etc. There are also missions groups like GlobalMissionsProject.com or WorshipConvergence.com that put together short-term missions trips for you or organize trips working with musicians from several churches; they can handle all the logistics for you.
Encourage members of your team to consider serving in a missions position for 3-months to two years. Mission organizations that your support may have some opportunities for them to serve. Also, encourage your people to consider long-term service in missions.
In the years I served the local church, we were frequently involved in community missions through block parties, outdoor concerts, partnering with other churches to reach struggling neighborhoods, going to nursing homes to sing and share, and more. We took several trips to help our missionaries in another state in many ways, some musical and some not. I took worship teams every couple of years to Asia to lead worship conferences, outreach events, worship services, and other things that missionaries and church leaders in the countries requested. My church granted me a missions sabbatical to serve in a foreign country one summer to help worship teams around the city.
All these things built a missional DNA into our worship ministry. We saw our calling as more than leading worship each Sunday for the local church, but a global calling. I believe our involvement outside the church walls significantly impacted our ability to lead worship from week to week. It also made our personal relationships much closer.
Think about it
What specific ways can you get your teams on mission in your community, national missions, and international missions? Are there church fostering or planting opportunities in which your church can get involved? Would you consider exploring a missions sabbatical for yourself to go and serve for a short-term assignment?