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How to Recruit Church Musicians

Many churches have difficulty finding quality musicians to play for their church services. “We’ve put up notices” they tell me. “And no one responds!” Even worse, they find themselves stuck with musicians with either inappropriate skills or poor attitudes, and have to make do because they couldn’t find anyone better.

If you want to have the best odds for finding the right musicians for your church services, follow the guidelines I am sharing here.

1) When recruiting, make all your requirements clear.

Church music in this day and age ranges from the contemporary styles (which require the musicians to fill-in-the blanks) to the traditional styles (which require the musicians to be able to read notation). Don’t assume that the people in your church know or understand what you need. Always spell out your requirements.

This also inspires confidence. People prefer to work with leaders who know clearly what they want and can communicate it to others. They are more likely to respond to your recruitment efforts if you take the effort to spell out what are the expectations you have for the role.

2) Ask your musicians who they’d like to invite to serve in your church.

Musicians tend to feel more comfortable talking with other musicians. Think about it, you may have the right person visiting your church or quietly warming a pew in your church. This person will usually make themselves known to the ‘official’ church musicians first before approaching the other people in the church leadership.

So make sure the musicians already working with you know that you are on the look-out for more help, so they can help you look out as well as recommend people they think are suitable.

3) Have a back-up plan.

What will you do if you can’t find the right person or the right people? If your church uses a contemporary style of music for worship, you may be able to train up adequate musicians in the span of 2-3 months. If you practice a more traditional style you may want to look for parents with kids taking classical music lessons. They require a lot less work in terms of music training (most of it is already done for you).

The most important thing is to NOT be desperate. If you are desperate, you’ll be tempted to recruit people without the correct skill set or the right attitude. They can be a headache to deal with at that point. No one benefits from this situation at all.

Conclusion: In the end, recruiting a church musician is very much a sales job. You are trying to sell an opportunity to serve God and grow in maturity by actively engaging with God’s people, and you want the right people to buy that opportunity with their talents and time. Always ask yourself this question: if I was a property agent trying to sell a house, would I be able to sell a house with the quality of effort I am putting into recruiting a church musician?

If the answer is no, then don’t be surprised if you don’t get the kind of people you want to serve God with. Following the guidelines in this article will give you the best odds of finding suitable people, people who will serve God with you, and be a blessing to his people. And that’s what we all want, right?