Developing a Leadership Pipelinepodcast

Moving from Paid to Volunteer Music Teams in a Fast Growing Multisite Church with Stone Meyer

Thanks for tuning into this week’s unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Stone Meyer, executive pastor from The Bridge Church in Tennessee. Stone is talking with us today about the musical worship part of services and how to develop excellence in your unpaid volunteer musicians.

  • The musical worship aspect. // The musical worship aspect of services is an important part and is often the first thing people hear when they enter your church. We may think of church as a presentation, but church is really people. Ephesians 4:11-12 says we are to equip God’s people for acts of service so the body can be built up, and this includes musicians who have been gifted to minister to God’s people through their talents.
  • Raise the standard. // For many churches it can feel like we need to pay musicians in order to get the quality of music that we want. The truth is it’s a risk to use volunteers for the worship team. And if we don’t have enough volunteers, we can be tempted to lower the standard to attract more people. Really the opposite is true. If you raise the standard, you’re going to get more volunteers because great players love to serve with great players.
  • Make changes when needed. // Rebuild the music team when things aren’t working out as you’re hoping. The Bridge Church took one step back to take two steps forward. First they scaled down their worship teams, and then they looked for people who were both excellent in their proficiency, and had great spiritual leadership. Initially these steps eliminated volunteers, but ultimately it raised the level of excellence and now they have a large pool of worship team volunteers to invite into service.
  • DVLP process. // The Bridge Church wanted to raise the standard on their volunteer worship team, but they also wanted to create a development pipeline so people could reach that standard. That pipeline is a program called DVLP which is 100% volunteer run. Each week there are 90-minute rehearsals for the worship music, and in the hour before the rehearsals DVLP happens. DVLP is a 12-week development process for anyone new to the team. It helps set new members up for success, allowing them get to know their teammates and coaches, be immersed in the culture, and learn about how everything works.
  • Don’t say no. // Someone interested in DVLP begins by completing a short form about their relationship with Jesus and their music knowledge. There is then a 10-15 minute evaluation with the individual. About 75% of the people go on to join DVLP, but for the others the team doesn’t tell people “no”, but instead “not yet.” Those interested persons may still need to grow or develop skills in some areas before this group would be right for them.
  • Encourage those you coach. // The primary role of the coaches in DVLP is not to tell the new members what they did wrong, but to train, teach and develop people, encouraging them to believe in themselves. They ask those going through DVLP what they felt that they could do better during rehearsal so that they can examine and study their own skills.
  • Learning and developing. // The end of DVLP involves evaluations for each person to see where they are and if they’re ready to graduate and begin serving on a team. Some of the main values of the team are development, learning and curiosity. Some people will go back through DVLP to coach, or to grow new aspects of their God-given potential.
  • Download the DVLP Playbook. // You can learn more through the DVLP Playbook that we have available to download. It walks the reader through the vision for DVLP as well as practical aspects of the program.

You can learn more about The Bridge Church at

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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: FiveTwo

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.