Rehearsals are the contract for the weekend.
You’re setting up a plan that everyone agrees upon, you prepare and you plan to execute this week, with the church.
Sundays come around quickly and rehearsals always make it much better. If you haven’t had a chance, be sure to check out the 5 D’s of Worship Ministry to think more about the process of getting the best results during your weekend service(s).
In case it might be helpful, I’ve listed our general flow for rehearsals and some of my thoughts behind it:
PREPARE FOR REHEARSAL
It really begins with the pre-rehearsal prep – everyone knows what time we begin, what songs we need to have prepared and things are set up and ready.
Arrive early enough to make sure stuff is together and in place. I try to have my guitar and accessories out and ready when people arrive, so we can talk and visit and check through the details.
GREET YOUR TEAM
Greet the tech team and band members and help answer any questions.
At the right time, I usually try to pull everyone together and get on board to have an official beginning, always talking in the mic so the full tech and worship team can hear, I just mention a couple of things… which might include an announcement, something maybe the whole church doesn’t know yet but will, some background reason for something happening or to talk about a great event we just had. I also explain we’re doing this song or that song this week for this reason… and make sure to introduce any new team members.
Either I or another team member will pray for the rehearsal and the church.
LET THE SOUND TEAM TAKE CONTROL
After prayer, we turn it over to the sound operator to help us make sure people have what they need.
START THE SONG REHEARSAL
Then, we begin with the first of four or five songs we need to run through. If the first song is brand new, I will often begin with the second or third more common song to more easily make sure all the sound and tech is working, then we come back to the the top of the list.
Typically after the first song we stop and fine tune the sound details and make sure it’s all working well.
We usually go through standard songs once and newer songs a couple times.
At the end, we talk through a summary of what the songs are, who was singing on what, and anything unusual that was decided upon. From there we conclude either with a prayer, blessing or praise to the Lord in some way. We also do a quick reminder for Sunday – what time to be here, anything unusual, etc.
PUTTING PEOPLE AT EASE
We want the pressure to do our best, but at the same time, we want to put people at ease. Leading worship should be fun. I have learned over the years that volunteers are motivated by success. If all you do is hound excellence and performance, it won’t be fun. But if you can mix the two – build community, encourage the use of gifts, celebrate great stuff, and lead well on Sundays, you have the recipe for a worship team that makes it for the long haul.
CRITICAL AFTER REHEARSAL TIME
After the official ending, comes another critical time. This is an opportunity to engage with your team. This isn’t always the same thing, but here’s some of what I do at various times:
- tell people thank you
- follow up with someone regarding a part they need to work on
- visit with someone about a prayer request they mentioned
- talk about someone’s new gear
- follow up with the tech team
- sometimes I talk with a bunch of people and other times I get cornered by one person for a longer, deeper conversation. I try to only do this when the need is major, and if it doesn’t happen all the time, it all balances out.
SUNDAY MORNING SOUND CHECK AND DOUBLE-CHECK
Before worship on Sunday, we meet early enough to double-check the sound and the songs, run through, then meet in the back to have some breakfast, pray and visit. We lead worship for the church and then wrap things up.