Slingshot Group’s Monty Kelso is a nationally-recognized conference clinician, speaker, and consultant. Monty possesses a unique combination of talents and skills as a worship consultant, coach and mentor. He’s a savvy practitioner with an entrepreneurial spirit and ultra-relational approach, and is as pragmatic as he is inspirational and visionary. Under his guidance, many churches have attained new levels of relevancy in their creative arts ministries, and have earned reputations for being highly culturally engaged within their communities.
Below, Monty shares 10 tips to help you get hired as a worship leader.
- Know yourself: Be in touch with your complete story. Your family upbringing, life experiences, significant relationships and education all shape who you are. The redemptive work of God in you is never finished. Being vulnerable about your strengths and weaknesses only brings out more authenticity (high on the list of “key qualities”). If you’ve never dealt with your baggage, then get on with it so as not to drag those issues in to your next ministry. Intensive discipleship and mentoring helps you “become”!
- Abide in The Spirit: Finding peace in God’s perfect provision will help you get a job. Churches want to hire worship leaders who model the fruit of The Spirit. Fear is your greatest enemy in this process. Let your love relationship with God rid you of fear and free you to be the attractive aroma of Christ….the “it factor” in a church context. Who you are trumps what you can do.
- Determine your biggest “YES”! Knowing what your gifts and skills are (and aren’t) helps you define yourself and represent well. As you determine your bigger “yes” you are able to confidently say “no” to other things that may undermine your focused best. Be humble yet confident (in Christ) about what you can bring to a church that will make them a better community.
- Make Biblical conclusions: Worship leaders who know their Bible and live it authentically have an edge in getting hired. When it comes to theology and doctrine these days the tendency is to embrace the gray and live in the land of “whatever”. Making well founded conclusions based on your interpretation of scripture shows that you’ve taken the time to study and show yourself approved. As a leader, don’t be afraid of putting a stake in the ground in what you believe. As you evolve, you can always move it later.
- Seek a unified calling: If you are married, dig in hard with your spouse to determine the things that matter most to you as a family. Avoid over spiritualizing the journey. Be pragmatic! Realize there are some factors about a move to a new church and community that must be discussed and agreed upon. Avoiding the hard discussions can lead to a bad decision resulting in a short term stint that is not good for you or the church.
- Bone up on your skills: Ministry demands can undermine discipline. As a musician be sure to tend to those very skills that afford you the opportunity to be hirable. Work hard to lean in to current sounds and styles so as not to get left “on the shelf” as trends in culture evolve. If you are over 40, avoid a tendency to rest of your past successes. May be it’s time to re-invent yourself.
- Take a good look in the mirror: When seeking employment of any kind you want to present your personal best (inside AND out). Potential employers won’t talk about it BUT, your physical appearance matters! As “platform people” what you look like makes a statement. Make it positive! So, get in shape, buy some updated clothes, and get a good haircut! But don’t be a “poser”.
- Put together a great portfolio: The only way to stand out in the crowd is to make your portfolio pop. In it should be a well written and visually attractive resume that gives a snapshot of your life; a video reel that captures you actually leading worship, not simply singing a song. Production quality matters but is not the end all. Be sure to include a few studio quality mp3’s in your portoflio to supplement poor production quality in a video. Provide references that are relevant to your abilities to lead a worship ministry. Keep it electronic. Hard copies are a pain.
- When interviewing, ask great questions: ( Do your homework) The candidate who asks savvy questions always make great impressions. Your maturity and experience is easily determined by the questions you ask. And once you ask that great question LISTEN WELL! Talking too much can blow up an interview in no time.
- Remember who they are hiring! This is for all you married people who include your spouse in the interviews (which is often the case). The spouse who answers for the candidate is not helping the situation at all. I have seen many interviews go south because the spouse (who may be the dominant personality) would speak for the candidate, or try to redeem an awkward moment. Coach your spouse prior to the interview that “less is more”.
If you are a church looking for a new worship leader or are a worship leader looking for a new ministry role, Slingshot can help! Contact us for more information and let us help you find the right candidate or the right church for you and your ministry to flourish!