“Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
-Matthew 9:38 (NIV)

Team turnover is healthy for an organization, as odd as that may seem. Turnover, in this case, is defined as new team members coming in and other members leaving. New people joining a team often bring bursts of energy and fresh perspective. Stagnate members who leave also provide a benefit. There is a possibility that they should have left seasons ago taking with them any frustration. All in all turnover can be a good thing. But you have to manage it well.

Goal number one is to maximize the opportunity of new members entering your team. Any time people do something new or fresh there is excitement. The excitement comes in meeting new people. Perhaps in the case of a worship team, they are meeting people they have admired from afar. Use their excitement to bolster energy throughout your team. Encourage your team to get to know new members. Let there be a welcome procedure that benefits new members as well as the existing team.

Goal number two is to minimize the impact on your team of those exiting. While you should acknowledge the leaving person’s participation through whatever season they have been a part of, it is important to not to be over dramatic. Especially if they are leaving due to selfishness or bitterness. Your focus should be on what is ahead for your team. People-pleasers who are leaders will have the hardest time with this advice because this feels like you are not giving that exiting member the big-group-hug they are expecting. As the leader you have to minimize the fall out for any of their unrest. Whether that unrest is justified or not. Let their party come when they join the next team they are being called to. Don’t let them throw a pity party while leaving your team. That helps no one.

Goal number three is to determine if you have a turnover imbalance. Are too many people coming in and not enough out? If so, you need to be more selective. Develop a farm system that gives new team members a place to train before joining the big team. Also, enjoy the blessing that is too many people!

On the other hand, if not enough members are coming in and too many are going out then you need to stop the hemorrhaging. Figure out what is causing this imbalance. Too many hours? Not enough preparation on their end? Not enough preparation on your end? Not enough care? Is the initiation process too easy to the point where a sense of commitment isn’t established?

Make sure that your team is the best recruiting tool you have. If those on your team aren’t recruiting then you have a huge red flag that something isn’t right. It shouldn’t just be a bulletin request or stage announcement bringing in auditions. When your team is healthy they will be sharing this with friends. Musicians and singers tend to have musician and singer friends. They also know if those friends would be a good fit for your team. If you haven’t yet recommended to your team that they can help recruit, begin doing so.

Another reason that your team may not be growing is in how your congregation perceives your team. You may be giving off the appearance that you aren’t welcoming new people. Or you may seem too good a band/team for a new person to risk an awkward audition. One of the fixes for this is using your team to find new talent (as mentioned above). Another way is to make sure that you, as the leader, are available to your congregation. Be in the public spaces, lobbies and available after service. Let your congregation know who you are. This type of interaction will break down the divide of worship team and congregation. Truthfully, we are all in this together.

The last way to gather new team members that I suggest is to pray for them to be drawn to your team. Pray against stealing from another local congregation. Unless the Lord is doing the uprooting, pray that someone moving to town will join you. Pray for God’s best. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers. Pray.

Turnover used appropriately will yield new fruit into your organization. Having good training programs in place will let you keep calm when someone says they are leaving. Remember, most people who leave aren’t tired of one thing specifically. It’s been a culmination of unrest. They are also being drawn to what is ahead of them. A new shiny toy always makes the old toy look dull. Do your best to always be innovating. Make your team as desirous as you can. Remember, God is in control.

How do you handle turnover? Does it keep you up at night? Do you already have training procedures in place for new recruits? What are some other ways that you have future-proofed your organization? I’d love to hear! Comment or private message…

-Micah Brooks