Let’s face it: Time is one of those things that we all wish we had more of. With all that is on our plates, both in our ministry and personal lives, finding time to fully prepare ourselves and our teams for the next worship service can be a daunting task. Sunday morning can creep up quite unexpectedly, and a lack of preparation can lead to some very awkward moments.
Worship teams can often make the mistake of thinking it is solely the leader’s job to prepare the set and the musicians will just show up and follow along. Of course the leaders carry a larger responsibility, but the team members should also take the time to prepare both individually and as a whole. Whether it’s for rehearsal or for the big show, having a team that proactively invests into itself is a major blessing and takes work to develop that culture.
Here are some ways to strengthen your preparation process and gain momentum in your worship ministry.
1. Start on Time: In regards to group rehearsals, there can often be an informal feel to them since there is no pressure of an audience. From the worship leader to the sound/tech person, anyone attending rehearsals should take them as seriously as Sunday morning. Leaders can establish a precedent by choosing a consistent start/end time and sticking with it. At my church, our practice sessions start at 6 p.m. sharp … and that doesn’t mean walk through the door and finish your coffee, it means turned on, tuned up and ready to go. Choosing and sticking to an ending time also honors your team’s commitment and personal lives. You will immediately see who on your team values it enough to show up on time or even early.
2. Communicate: If you have a set rehearsal day such as Thursday, it means you have a few days in-between to get your sets together and to keep your team aware of any thoughts, additions or changes. Don’t leave them in the dark until the start of rehearsal. As for the musicians, encourage them to respond or proactively reach out with concerns, questions or suggestions about the set. A lot of times, musicians are afraid to admit they didn’t have the ability or the time to learn a part. By keeping communication lines open, these issues can be worked out in advance.
3. Learn More Than Just the Upcoming Set: Most church worship sets consist of three to five songs. It is easy for a team to fall into the trap of simply practicing those songs in the one key for that Sunday. A good way to be more prepared is to have your musicians practice (on their own time) and keep on their radar the 15-20 songs that are typically used within a season (three to six months), and also know them in a few different keys. I can’t even count the times when we showed up for service and God had put a different song on my heart, or the pastor came up in the middle of the set and asked for a specific song. Because I kept my team prepared in this way, I could throw anything at them with just a few minutes notice, without the need of chord sheets for every key. Again, by implementing this in your culture, you will start to see those that just do the bare minimum and those that are fully invested in the team.
Most worship teams consist of volunteers, but that is no excuse for us to treat our involvement with any less value than the jobs we are paid for. A worship culture should remain free and uninhibited but with a foundation of excellence. Follow these tips to lay that foundation and it will create the right kind of freedom.
If you have any questions at all or would like further guidance with any of these points, don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected]. We also offer training workshops and webinars for your church; find out more by clicking HERE.