This post includes excerpts from our Worship School curriculum on cultivating authentic worship. “Principle Three: Prepare Well” was originally part of a blog post called 5 Principles For Curating Worship.
It doesn’t matter how well prepared you are, how awesome your song choices are, how smooth your transitions are, and how “put together” everything is. Those things don’t matter if you’re not seeking God first, following the Holy Spirit’s leading, abiding, praying, pursuing Christ.
It’s helpful to consider two aspects of leadership as you prepare well; spiritual and musical. Whether you are leading on your own or with a team, thinking about these aspects intentionally will be helpful for you and those you are leading.
Rehearsal is an important aspect of preparing well, particularly if you are leading at team. Below are a few thoughts and tips on rehearsals:
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Pray before, during, and after… by yourself and with your team.
Communicate your expectations. Does the team arrive at 7pm for setup, or do they come early so everything is ready to go by 7pm? Do they bring their own music, or do you have it printed ahead of time? Do you expect them to practice on their own and have parts figured out before rehearsal, or do you walk through and teach parts with the team? How long is the rehearsal going to take? Communicating your expectations will create value for yourself and your team, and you need to honor and model the expectations if you want be taken seriously.
Make notes before and during rehearsal. Don’t trust your memory! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve neglected to make a note and thought I would remember, but when we got back together I couldn’t remember! Take notes as you plan for rehearsal, make more during and even after your rehearsal to give yourself direction and lead more effectively.
Plan your transitions. If you’re doing a set of songs, consider your transitions. Is the key, time signature, or tempo changing? Be intentional about musical and spiritual leadership during these times – how do you get from one song to the next, and how are you leading spiritually? A simple prayer, reading a verse or short passage can be very helpful to engage people in a time of gathered worship. Maybe it’s a verse or prayer related to the song you’re coming in or out of, or maybe it’s a verse that is used as a sort of teaching or instruction – “Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD!” (Psalm 134:2). Planning transitions doesn’t mean you have to plan something between songs. It might be as simple as resolving a song and going into the next song. Sometimes less is more!
These are only a few of our rehearsal tips, we hope they are helpful for you and your team! If you are interested in learning more about these tips and growing more in worship leadership, contact us about a mentorship or Worship School!
Consider the following for reflection and discussion with your team:
What does rehearsal and team preparation typically look like in your church or ministry? Whether you’re the one leading or not; what is done well, and what are some things that could be done to make it even better?