How to Prepare for Your Worship Team Rehearsals

As a member of your church’s worship ministry, you should make every effort to excellently serve the Lord and his church by preparing well for worship team rehearsals. Preparing for rehearsal is important. Here are a few practical ways you can prepare for band rehearsal:

Review Familiar Tunes. Whether you’re a musician or singer (or both), you need to know the songs that you are leading. You may not think it’s necessary to spend as much time and energy rehearsing old, familiar songs. Don’t give yourself too much credit here. Refresh your mind, muscles and heart by playing and singing through the familiar tunes.

Learn New Songs. Listen to any new songs you’ll be introducing/leading. Really listen. You may not have a lot of time to play through the songs, but there’s probably plenty of time to listen to the songs. Most of us have access to music all the time. You may not want to listen to the Sunday worship set for days on end, but this sacrifice will tremendously help you lead any new songs well. As you listen and play through the songs, make notes on your music charts of any transitions that aren’t written into the chart. Don’t just give it a quick listen and run-through; study the song.

Determine Key Changes and Transpose Music. Lead singers, determine the key in which you’ll need to sing your songs and communicate this to the band and other singers. Band members, if you know of a key change, transpose your music in advance of the rehearsal and service. If you are a support singer, consider any other vocalists who’ll be serving and prepare well by determining which harmony parts you’ll sing on each song.

For All Songs: Make it easy to remember each song so you don’t have to expend all your mental energy concentrating on lyrics, chord changes and song structure as you’re leading the songs. It’s also good to review any notes you made the last time you led a song. Additionally, consider the members of the band you’ll be serving with and determine in advance how you will sing or play in order to leave room for each instrument and voice. And if you rehearse on a different day from the service, continue to familiarize yourself with the songs after the rehearsal.

Be Ready to Improvise. Even if the band nails a song arrangement in rehearsal, every member must be ready to improvise during the service. The band leader may feel it appropriate to repeat a chorus or verse at the end of a song, depending on the responsiveness of the congregation. Or it may be good to cut a double chorus that was rehearsed. Or, the band may not end the song together as planned. Or a singer may unexpectedly tag a line at the end of the song. There are numerous scenarios that require flexibility. Be prepared to improvise in order to best serve the Lord and the congregation.

Communicate Clearly and Early. If you are a worship director and responsible for preparing and distributing the set list and music to your team, strive to have this information available to them several days in advance of the service time. If you plan to lead a song in an arrangement different from the arrangement your team is learning, communicate this to them in advance of your rehearsal. Cast as much clear vision as you can in advance of your rehearsal. This will conserve time and energy, two commodities typically in short supply.

God calls us to serve him heartily and with excellence. As co-laborers with Christ, God expects us to cooperate with his work in and through us. He deserves our best efforts. He gives us all the grace and strength we need to serve him well and bring pleasure to his heart. Preparing well for rehearsal and the worship service also includes fully relying on God’s never-failing grace and strength.  

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Kristen Gilles
Kristen currently leads worship in Sojourn Community Church and was featured on Sojourn’s 2011 album The Water And The Blood: The Hymns Of Isaac Watts, Volume Two.