I often have churches calling me looking for musicians and people to lead worship. I often refer them to large churches nearby who may have a number of people in training. Too often, worship leaders are not mentoring others. My friend and counterpart from the Kansa-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists, David Manner, offers some excellent commentary on this:

Congregations tend to plan and implement in the moment since Sunday comes every week. Thinking about finding future players, singers, and even a primary worship leader is rarely a consideration…until a vacancy occurs.

Major League Baseball refers to the grooming of younger, less advanced players in the minor league system as “player development.” Those minor league affiliates are informally called farm teams.


Farm teams provide mentoring, training, coaching, and practical experience for younger players with the expectation that as a player matures he will advance to a higher level of play and responsibility. The foundation of the minor league system is to invest in younger players for the future of the team. A major league team with a weak farm system may have success for a time but will rarely carry that success into the future.

The value of player development is realized when a congregation attempts to fill a vacancy. What most find is that the pool of potential replacements out there is often very shallow and those who are available are an unknown quantity that doesn’t often resonate with the culture of the searching congregation.

Implementing a farm team model of developing younger, less advanced players from in here can offer a trusted and familiar resource pool for future leaders. Investing in those who already understand the culture, personality, worship language, and mission of your church has a greater potential for future success.

Imagine a congregation so effectively implementing this model that they groom more worship leaders than they have places for them to serve. Then, imagine the Kingdom value of getting to farm-out those trained leaders to other congregations who were not as prepared to fill their vacancies…like maybe yours.