One of the truest truths of worship leading is that you never know what’s going to happen on a Sunday morning. You can prepare, plan, rehearse and practice until you’re blue in the face, but when Sunday morning comes, literally anything could happen. Off the top of my head, here are some of the unanticipated Sunday moments that stand out to me over the last 10-15 years:
– The time one of my instrumentalists went on a profanity-laced tirade just minutes before our service was supposed to start, in front of the whole worship team
– The time our computer than ran our projected lyrics completely failed, thus causing me to change the entire song list at the last minute to exclusively songs out of the hymnal
– The time I was walking up on stage and a matriarch of the congregation stopped me to angrily demand I stop repeating the choruses so often
– The multiple times someone has had a medical emergency in the middle of the service
– The Easter when two of our three services had to be significantly delayed because of crowding and parking issues
– The time I had an extended meeting in-between services with a group of significantly disgruntled church members
– The time a well-intentioned gentleman decided to present me with a document detailing why contemporary music is satanic—again, just moments before the service started
– The time I was leading worship for a conference with all new musicians, and was told I (and the sound crew) would have all day to set up and rehearse, but at the last minute was told that the venue would not be free until 15 minutes before the opening set was supposed to start
– The countless times I could tell we were not quite ready for that new song, or that new arrangement, but we have to start the service anyways!
I could list more examples of unplanned and unforeseen events before or during a service, and I’m sure that you have your own list as well! You never what’s going to happen on a Sunday morning, what surprises are in store, what people might decide to say unhelpful things to you at just the wrong time or what technical issues might arise and cause you to jump to plan B without much warning.
It’s hard not to get completely sidetracked, distracted, worked up and even a little bit angry or annoyed when the unexpected happens, and throws your planning (or maybe just your peacefulness) into disarray. We’re human, we’re not perfect and we’re trying to balance multiple demands at any given moment.