The Must-Haves for the Worship Musician – Teachable (Part 1)


Teachable Part 1 – Taking direct feedback

A few years ago I joined a national songwriting organization and attended the local chapter. While at the first meeting, I felt bad for the other writers getting picked apart during the critiques. I think: “they’ll probably feel even worse when they hear my song.” My turn. The scratch demo ends. The silence is something between hushed awe and quiet reverence. Yeah…no: it was starving jackals waiting to ravage a gimp antelope. Entrails everywhere.

I was at a crossroads: chalk it up as a gaggle of bitter songwriters, or conclude that they DID know something about songwriting. I chose the latter. I “psyched up” before every meeting with: “Be humble. Learn. Be humble. Learn.” Repeat.

Direct feedback is oxygen for anyone needing to grow. Worship musicians are no exceptions. As participants in “upfront” ministry, we need to be extra open to breathing it in.

A segue: I went home from the meeting–still stinging–and told my wife about it (looking for validation). Her reply was, “You took in that song?!” Owww…. Looking back, I guess I ignored the polite applause and blank stares at every coffeehouse performance of it. We also need to be teachable students of indirect feedback. That’s part two.

SIDE NOTE: While there’s always an exception or two, my sense is that most of our team members are more open to feedback than we think. It’s us insecure, people-pleasing leaders who often miss the chance to breathe life via speaking truth in love.

Read Proverbs 27:5-6

For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.

Better is open rebuke than hidden love.

Wounds from a friend can be trusted but an enemy multiplies kisses.


  1. “Direct feedback is oxygen for anyone needing to grow…” Why?
  2. Why is it so hard to take constructive criticism?
  3. Why is it so hard to give constructive criticism?
  4. How do we hurt our team when we withhold needed feedback?
  5. In what ways can you be open and even invite feedback?

Get the Must-Haves Worship Team Devotional

We’ll be running this series over the coming weeks but if you liked it and would like to download the whole 10-week devotional ebook for free you can do so using the link below. It not only includes the ebook, but a printable version so you can take a hard copy to rehearsals. Also the download includes a separate pdf for each week so you can email it to your whole team. This way, you can foster an email discussion with those who aren’t scheduled that week.

Must Haves Devotional – Introduction session

Must Haves Devotional – Called

Get “The Must Haves” Devotional

Thanks to Jon for his generosity in making this resource available to us.