I recently read a book called The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier (which I definitely suggest you read too). The book emphasizes that one of the reasons most leaders fail at coaching is because of one simple thing: they don’t ask enough of the right questions.

It’s All About the Conversation

Leadership is a constant conversation. Sometimes, that conversation can be a little one-sided. We are prone to walk into the room with guns blazing, full of solutions. We have vision. We have a path to get there. We have answers. We spend too much time talking and not enough time asking.

I want to share with you 5 questions that every worship leader should ask the people on their team. These are crucial when someone is joining the team, but are also good things to “check in on” routinely.

I can’t tell you the number of times these questions and others like them have revealed things that we would’ve never otherwise known. They have provided an opportunity to come alongside team members and help them find wholeness and freedom. They have shown us how to pray. They’ve actually helped build relational equity (even and especially through some of the harder conversations). They have also helped us to protect our team and platform from situations and people who could’ve been harmful to our unity and our culture.

The Good Stuff

So, here they are – 5 of the most critical questions every worship leader must ask their team:

1. How did your journey with Jesus start and what does it look like now?

This question is about RELATIONSHIP. What you see on a platform has to start with a growing, deepening relationship with Jesus. If there’s nothing of value in you, nothing of value comes out of you. You want people who are committed and connected to Jesus.

The second part of the question can be followed up with “What has He been speaking to your heart recently?” If someone says they’re walking with Jesus, but can’t tell you anything the Holy Spirit is doing in their life (that’s beyond something superficial), it begs a deeper dive.

2. Do you feel called to support the mission and vision of our church and call this place home?

This question is about COMMITMENT. You want team members that aren’t just called to the platform but are called to the mission and vision of your church. You want to know if they’re faithful in their attendance and in their giving.

If they’re not committed, then they’ll bounce from opportunity to opportunity. People that carry the “heart of the house” will also help carry the culture of the team.

3. What does it mean to you to be a part of our team?

This question is about MOTIVATION. You want to know why people want to be on the team. The Bible is clear: out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. If you let people keep talking on this one, their motivations will start to leak out. Obviously, you want to watch out for the ones that just want a place to showcase their talents. But another one I’ve come across a lot is something like, “I’ve been struggling and worship brings me closer to God.”

Anyone that’s been in ministry for a while will tell you that it actually is more likely to pull you away from the Lord than to draw you closer to Him. Ministry is an invitation to spiritual war, not the “Kumbaya” around the campfire most people think it is. How will they know that if you don’t help them see it? You don’t put wounded, vulnerable people on the frontline. This is a beautiful opportunity you’ve been given, don’t miss it! Help them get strong then help them get in the battle!

4. Are you keeping appropriate personal and purity boundaries in your life and relationships?

This question is about INTEGRITY. You cannot be afraid to dig into this, even if it’s the first time you’ve ever talked with them. There’s not always time to build relational equity, so you have to ask them to loan you some.

This is NOT about disqualification, it’s about discipleship.

It is your business as a leader to be in their business! The call to worship is a holy one. The platform is a sacred space. Don’t assume that someone else is asking these kinds of questions! You could be the man or woman God uses to help them find freedom.

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5. Is there anything else in your life – past or present – that it would be good for us to know?

This question is about TRANSPARENCY. This is the “What else?” question. This gives them an opportunity to bring you in on the struggles they’re facing or the questions they have. This is a beautiful question because it sets up future conversations and it builds trust. If someone is forthcoming with you on the front end, there’s a good chance they’ll be that way as they join the team.

I hope these are helpful! A few more things I’ll add quickly: don’t just settle for the first answer. Keep exploring and asking them to clarify. Be sensitive when the Holy Spirit seems to put His finger on something. Don’t be sheepish, but don’t come across suspicious. Approach every one of these courage conversations with equal parts truth and grace.

Be the leader you are called to be. Ask more, talk less.

QUESTION: What questions have you found to be valuable as a leader? Leave your response below!