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How To Create Worship Team Guidelines [Examples & Template]

You’re probably here because you need to create or update your own worship team guidelines.  We’ve got you covered. In this post, we’re going to provide an overview of:

Not sure if you need all this? Well let me share a story – and let me know if it sounds familiar. 

‘James’ wants to join the worship team—but is he a good fit? You kind of know James, you have seen him around the church, seems like a nice fellow. You take James for coffee and realize his expectations of being on a worship team are a lot different than yours. 

Perhaps James played the guitar as a teenager, he thinks he can play, and likes the idea of playing again with others. But does James really understand what it means to be part of the worship team and the expectations of being on the team? Does he know the importance of rehearsals at church and at home? 

If only we had all this written somewhere—a document that outlined everything needed and expected from a member of the worship team! We do. Enter one of the best tools for Worship Ministry Leaders, the Worship Team Guidelines.

So keep reading to learn more about worship team guidelines and get set for a smoother worship team management with your own guidelines for your worship services, worship team and worship ministry.

What Are Worship Team Guidelines?

I hope by now we’ve explained it but, simply put, worship team guidelines are a clear code of conduct outlining the vision, values, expectations and responsibilities of being part of the worship team or music ministry. 

Sometimes they’re called a worship team code of conduct – and they’re exactly that. They make sure there’s clarity and everyone has a shared understanding of the expectations of joining and being part of the worship team.

Why Worship Teams Need Guidelines

Worship team guidelines enable us to communicate clearly to the team members what is expected of them. 

So back to our friend James. Why do we need guidelines? Let me explain. 

The guidelines are an easy tool to help guide and develop a worship team. It’s a clear communication tool where everyone can be on the same page, thus being able to focus on the main thing, which is leading worship and to lead others into worship!

If we don’t have guidelines, we begin to rely on assumptions. I don’t want James to just assume that he can play whenever he feels like playing, or have him just showing up on a Sunday without attending rehearsals. I also want James to understand that he needs to be proficient in his playing. 

I want others like James to have a well-defined understanding of what is expected of him and what he can expect from being on the team. 

If we are not clear, it may result in awkward conversations for worship pastors, hurt feelings, and frustrations.

What To Include In Your Worship Team Guidelines

Here are some topics you could consider including in your worship team guidelines. 

How Does Someone Become Part Of The Worship Ministry?

This is a great time to clearly outline the process for joining a team. 

Being on the worship team is a privilege, and a blessing. It’s not something to be taken lightly. Which is why when we communicate to our friends, like James. We want them to understand that this is something to be taken seriously.

Yes, being members of the worship team is fun and rewarding, but it’s also hard work, so it’s important to see that people are committed, not only to the church, but going through the process to be considered for the worship team.  

  • Are team members expected to be members of your church?
  • Do they need to attend a small group or church bible study? 
  • Do they need to be attending the church for a certain number of months or years? 
  • Is there a membership course they need to complete?  
  • Do they need to show that they can proficiently play or sing?

It’s important to set the expectations clearly on how to join the team. It also might be worth having a worship team application form to make these expectations clear. You can find a great example from the Bethel Worship Team.

What Is Expected Of A Team Member?

Personal Standards

This is a great place to highlight the importance of the personal walk with God. I would also say that this is probably #1. It’s also important to regularly encourage your worship team in this area. Challenge them on their own personal worship, what does that look like for them? 

Remember, first and foremost, all members of the worship team are worship leaders, they are  not just playing music or putting on a performance. This must remain at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Be clear about this expectation before asking volunteers to commit. 

It’s important to remind the team members that our Sunday worship is our overflow from worshiping during the week. Our own personal worship at home with God is so important before coming and leading others. 

This can also be a great place to address aspects such as: 

  • Attitude problems
  • Gossip/slander amongst the team
  • Submitting to leadership

Skills & Responsibilities 

Although we recognize the importance of a pure heart, the musicians and vocalists also need to have enough skill so that they can follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Here we should emphasize the importance of practice and preparation. 

All of the praise team should have open hearts to receive advice, correction, and training, and should be committed to becoming proficiently skilled at their ministry. 

Of course, one does not need to be a professional musician to worship the Lord, but we know that God honors the discipline of additional practice and preparation. 

Musicians not only have a responsibility to craft their skill, but to also take responsibility for themselves. Have they brought all their proper equipment and cords?  Have they learned their arrangement properly? 

It’s important to emphasize the importance of their personal responsibilities so that they are prepared and ready for rehearsals and ready to support the worship leader.

Rehearsals

It’s important to clearly outline the expectations of rehearsals and weekly practices. Not only the importance of regular attendance at rehearsals, but also your expectations for their rehearsals at home. 

  • Do you expect the team member to arrive with music memorized? 
  • Is sheet music or chord charts allowed? 
  • Is punctuality important?  
  • If they skip the rehearsal during the week, are they allowed to play on Sunday morning? 
  • Are rehearsals more than doing a run through of the set list,  do you learn a new song, read some scripture from the Bible and pray as well? 
  • What time do they need to be available for sound checks?

Be prepared to make this section of your guidebook clear. If rehearsals are an important part of your Sunday morning preparation, you want to make sure all team members understand the importance of attending them on a regular basis.

It’s also important to highlight how often they should be expected to play. A typical expectation for team members is to play once every three weeks.

Dress Code

Remember that dress codes will vary depending on the culture of your church. Here are some possible ideas for your dress code. 

General Dress Code: Modesty & dressy, culturally relevant style are key.

  • No overly tight clothing.
  • No sleeveless tops (without a covering).
  • No revealing clothing (i.e. see-thru material without undershirt, short skirts)
  • Proper clean footwear
  • Maintain Personal Hygiene ie: Wear deodorant

Technology & Software 

This will also vary depending on what your church does. Is the musician or singer expected to bring their own laptop or iPad? Will they need to have their own in ear monitors (IEMs)? If IEM’s are expected, we usually like to give our musicians a few options if they need to purchase some. IEM’s can range from expensive, to more affordable.

Communication 

It’s important to highlight how communication will be sent to the team. Who will be sending out the setlists? Communicate if you are using PlanningCenter or Elvanto for scheduling and setlists.

Explain the process about how to switch or cancel a shift and make it clear. The last thing you want to do is show up to a rehearsal and find out only then that you have no drummer available for Sunday.

Other Things To Add To Your Worship Team Guidelines

  • Worship team mission statement
  • Worship team vision 
  • Church beliefs
  • Tips for stage presence 
  • Time commitment

Worship Team Guidelines Example

Below we’ve provided you with a simple example of a full set of worship team guidelines. You’ll find it helpful to understand the context of these guidelines so you can adapt them for your own use. 

worship team guideline example 1
worship team guideline example 2
Here is what a typical worship team guidelines document might look like.

Other Worship Team Guideline Examples

Below are some great examples of worship team guidelines. 

If you are needing some more inspiration on what else can be added to your worship team guidelines, check out the resources below:

  • Bethel Worship has some great articles on worship. 
  • Gateway Worship has a resource library where you can log in to review their worship handbook. 
  • Hillsong has a great example of their statement of beliefs. 

Worship Team Guidelines Template

Want to fast-track the process of creating your own worship team guidelines? Download our easily customizable below.

Conclusion

Remember that we also lead out of grace too; the praise team are like family members. Worship team guidelines are just that, a guiding tool. There may be times when a team member will make a mistake or have a misunderstanding. The important thing is to keep guiding them with love and grace, as we all strive to become more and more like Christ.

For more on worship teams, read about worship team training and worship team auditions.

By Ashley Vaughan

Since she began leading worship at the age of 15, Ashley has always been passionate about supporting the local church and leading others into worship. For the past 10 years she has been leading worship teams and finds much joy and fulfillment in empowering and raising up other leaders. Ashley is a song writer with Worship Central Canada and has had the incredible opportunity to travel and lead worship, while collaborating with other worship leaders.

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