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Have you ever wondered what a Music Director is and how they relate to the Worship Leader? In this topic, we'll explore these and other key leadership roles on the worship team.

You don’t need to be the only person to carry all the weight on your worship team! You can share the leadership load with other band members. This is biblical since each person has a different gift that can build the church in unique ways.

1 Peter 4:10-11 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

We can do this and help build the church by building our worship teams’ leadership structures. Five main leadership roles stand out on the worship team for sharing leadership that can empower the band for greater functionality and success: the Team Leader, Co-leader, Music Director, Worship Leader, and Team Leader Mentor.

Team Leader

Team Leaders are simply the leaders of the team. They are the ones taking the lead in set planning, team communication, and facilitation of rehearsals. They oftentimes handle pastoral concerns on the team and they ensure a fully staffed worship band for each service they lead.

Team Leaders can, if needed, function in other roles on the team. Conversely, they can be a Team Leader without being in any other leadership roles.

Co-Leader

Co-Leaders help the Team Leader to lead the team. Often, they are either leaders who are being mentored on the team to be a Tea Leader or they are the one mentoring and supporting a new Team Leader as they develop and grow. Co-Leaders bring a lot to the table in supporting their Team Leader. They are not pushy and seek to serve their leader and team by doing what is best for them at the right time. They are a great person for the team leader to call upon when thinking through set planning, general team leadership, planning, etc.

Music Director

A Music Director is the band member who manages the musical aspects of the team and provides musical direction for the band. They will often have a microphone setup to go through the In-Ear Monitor System to give directions which the band can hear but which the congregation or audience cannot hear. Timing and awareness are key facets of being a Music Director, whereas a badly-timed or inaccurate cue can quickly lead the team down the path to confusion. An articulate and confident Music Director, on the other hand, inspires confidence in the team and provides a solid musical foundation.

Music Directors are typically the most skilled musicians on the team and are often keyboard or electric guitar players but can also be drummers, bass guitar players, or acoustic guitar players. They will usually lay out the “map” of the song (the stanza flow of each song) by giving starting and ending cues, verse, chorus, and dynamic cues (in honoring the vision of the Team Leader).

They are also responsible, however, for seeing where the Worship Leader might be leading the song “off the map” and adjust accordingly to make sure the team follows suit by adjusting the musical directions in the monitor system for the band to follow. We will talk more about this below in the “Worship Leader” section.

Worship Leader

Worship Leaders are often seen as the main leader of the team but in this sense, they are the band members leading the congregation in worship by means of vocally leading a song. They can do this from an instrument or without an instrument. While all band members are helping to lead worship and should be aware of what God is doing in the moment and how the congregation is responding, Worship Leaders are primarily responsible to focus on these elements and implement them well while clearly communicating to both the band and the congregation where they are going in the song.

One of the trickiest elements of Worship Leaders and Music Directors working together is knowing who leads at different times. It takes time to develop a chemistry and to learn what one another will do, just like in any relationship. At the end of the day, both should honor each other. The Worship Leader shouldn’t abuse the ability to take a song a different direction all the time. Instead, they should simply respond to the Holy Spirit’s leading in a set and lead the band accordingly; if your church leadership and/or Team Leader follows a more structured approach and prefers not to deviate from the original set plan, you should honor that. And the Music Director should not be so rigid that they cannot allow for any change from the planned map of the song – unless the church leadership and/or Team Leader prefers a more linear approach to leading and the band not deviate from their original plan.

If there is a confusing moment in a song as to who to follow between the Worship Leader and Music Director, the band should follow the Worship Leader. Worship Leaders are leading the congregation in worship and the band should lend their full support to make this happen.

Team Leader Mentor

The Worship Team Leader Mentor is the team member who provides wisdom and coaching to the leaders of the worship team and when appropriate, to the worship team as a whole. They oftentimes have a good amount of experience in worship ministry and can offer wisdom, encouragement, and support to the Team Leaders however possible; usually this takes the form of supporting them from a distance.  It’s one of the most important roles but simultaneously one of the trickiest because it takes wisdom in knowing what to say and when to say it; what not to say and when not to say it. The Team Mentor is focused on equipping and empowering the Team Leader to lead effectively. Every Team mentoring relationship with the Team Leaders will be different and it takes time to develop the relational flow that will work best for the leaders and the team.

Integrating the Roles

These roles can be tricky to navigate at first, but by learning your team, what roles individuals might best fill, and spending time together, your team will actually grow much stronger relationally in the process of employing these roles.

A clear and effective combination of leadership roles is when a Team Leader is also a Worship Leader. This makes it clear for the band to know who to follow, but there are a variety of effective leadership combinations that can work well for your band. Every band is different and the key is finding the right combination of leadership roles with the gifts that are present in the members of your team to make leading worship a win for your church and your worship team.


Article for this topic by Ashton Abbott.

Key Points:

  • You don’t need to carry all the weight by yourself on your worship team. Different leadership roles can help!
  • Team Leaders are those taking the lead on the team with set planning, communication, and general oversight of the team and its wellbeing.
  • Co-Leaders are the right hand helpers for the team leader and often can be young leaders training to lead a team or a mentor stepping back to empower a new leader in a Team Leader role.
  • A Music Director locks things down musically and give musical direction to the band, oftentimes through use of verbal cues in an In-Ear Monitor System.
  • Worship Leaders are the ones leading the congregation in worship by vocally leading a song and responding to the Holy Spirit’s leading during the song.
  • The Worship Team Leader Mentor is oftentimes the most experienced team member who provides wisdom and coaching to the leaders of the worship team and when necessary, to the worship team as a whole. Their goal is to equip and empower the Team Leaders to lead effectively.
  • Integrating the roles can be tricky, especially between the Worship Leader and Music Director, but when you find the right combination of roles for your team, it will be a clear win for your church and your team.

Quote This:

1 Peter 4:10-11 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

See Also: Worship Teams

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Which leadership roles do you see at work currently in your own worship team or the teams at your church?
  3. How does this article change any of your views on these roles you might have heard before? 
  4. Do you see yourself serving in any of these roles currently? 
  5. Do you see yourself gifted for any of the roles listed at this time? If so, which ones and why?
  6. What are the potential challenges of using this model on a worship team?
  7. What are the potential benefits of using this model on a worship team?
  8. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.