Your hairdo was distracting… the drums were too loud… you talked too much/little… your jeans were too tight…
We worship leaders face our fair and sometimes unfair share of feedback, right?!
While constructive feedback is essential for our improvement, receiving negative feedback is not the most enjoyable pastime for anyone! Let’s remember that when we also give feedback to others—so that we may be responsible, kind and fair.
So how can we critique without hurting/offending?
6 tips for productive feedback sessions
Good things first
“Compliment in public, criticize in private” is a golden rule here—never, ever get into the negative stuff when there are other people around.
Always start with what went well and express the good stuff honestly.
Then get into the areas of improvement.
Specificity beats fuzzy opinions
“I just couldn’t get into that song that you led” is fuzzy opinion—doesn’t help anyone.
“The 2nd song that you played today… I think it needs a little more work to make it friendlier for our congregation. The tempo felt rushed and the key was a bit out of our range….” This is specific, and constructive and probably won’t hurt the worship leader’s feelings.
So, as people of God, it’s our duty to open our ears to know what our worship sessions are doing to our congregations.
Converse, don’t demand
“I didn’t like the way you jumped into the slower songs, make sure you avoid that next time!” That’s more of a demanding command or a commanding demand!
Person giving feedback: “What was the tempo for ‘Everlasting God’?”
Worship leader: “Around 100bpm or so.”
Person giving feedback: “And the song that you played next, “You Alone Can Rescue’?”
Worship leader: “Hmmm… that was around 74bpm I guess.”
Person giving feedback: “Aaah I see, that’s why it felt like a plunge… don’t you think that’s too much of a drop… 100 to 74?”
Worship leader: “Yeah… probably… maybe we could have included another medium tempo song in between?”
Person giving feedback: “I think so… or maybe a 6/8 song—that can also make the landing easier….”
You see? Conversing together to come up with solutions is the way to go.
If you didn’t like something about the worship, ask the worship leader why it was done that way? Understand the other’s point of view instead of jumping to hasty conclusions.
By asking questions and listening, we might also learn something useful. Let’s not presume that we know everything. We do not!
Also, don’t forget to thank the worship leader for his/her ministry and for the time to have the feedback discussion.
All of these are things I’ve learned through experience—as much as I’ve received unfair feedback at times, oftentimes, I’ve also been guilty of critiquing others harshly.
Hopefully, these tips will help you as much as they’ve helped me.