Are your rehearsals heavenly?

My blogging friend David Santistevan recently posted about The Rehearsal From Hell and How To Avoid It.

It’s a great post and I recommend worship folks check it out. His concluding challenge was “If you blog and have written about rehearsal before, leave a link to your post.

Well I didn’t have a post on rehearsal yet and thought, heck,  there’s no time like the present to start. So here we go.

Worship dudes and dudettes, your strategy for rehearsals – and yes, you should have a clear strategy for rehearsals, depends on the structure of your ministry context. [Check out the principles behind  “The Standard Answer” ]

Generally speaking, there’s two widely used approaches.

1. A mid-week rehearsal with the core worship team to prepare for one or more services upcoming. Sometimes these will be divided into sectional’s, part of the time just for the instrumentalists,  part of the other for just the singers.

The day of the service(s) there may be a partial rehearsal as part of the sound check.


2. A “full” band rehearsal sometime before the service begins. Sink or swim. Most of my experience has been in this context, with worship teams that rehearse the set 90 minutes before the service begins.

There are pros and cons to each approach. What’s right for your situation depends on your culture, what you’re trying to accomplish, as well as the skill level, spiritual maturity and availability of your volunteers.

People are busy and their time is valuable, so no matter what your rehearsal frequency it’s wise to respect that.

7 Obvious Best Practices for Heavenly Rehearsals

1. Have a clear plan and practice it personally ahead of time.

  • Think through the flow of your transitions.
  • Think through the things you will speak and pray. Rehearse those if necessary.
  • Keep most of the set simple, unless you have plenty of time and a high-quality talent pool. Hey it could happen.

2. Use Planning Center On Line to communicate ahead of time with your team. Using PCO  helps your team be better prepared musically so they can focus more spiritually.

3. Have music copies printed for the singers and players.

  • Yes this is obvious for everyone except …. you know who ….
  • It also helps to have notes and a road map (if necessary) written on the song chart itself.
  • Don’t let everybody get their own random chart off some internet site (yes I’ve heard of this happening) .

4. Plan to make it easy for the team to know what’s going on and how to follow you.

  • This includes the audio-visual technicians as well as musicians.
  • Give clear, simple direction, like “We’ll double the chorus after the 2nd verse and repeat it after the bridge …”
  • Do not close your eyes,  get lost in the wonder and burn up most of your rehearsal time on 1 song.
  • Also, don’t go overboard and micro explain every little thing. Let it be intuitive and easy to anticipate.

5. Plan to start and end the rehearsal with prayer.

  • I prefer to plug-in, tune-up, get a quick line check, then have a short prayer.
  • All of that should take about 5-7 minutes.
  • It is amazing how much better things go when we pause and pray first.
  • Leave enough time after rehearsal to have quality prayer. I confess I frequently have not  done well with this.

6. Plan to have fun.

  • Being tense, fussy, uptight or fearful just isn’t enjoyable for you or your team.
  • Playing and leading worship is one of the most joyful activities we get to do on this planet. So bring your “A game” and have a good time.
7. Debrief and Celebrate the Win
  • Encourage a culture of debriefing the rehearsal and service after each.
    • What was good?
    • What could be better?
    • Was anything unclear or missing?
  • Celebrate the win
    • Especially try to stop and pray with your team afterwards
    • Give thanks to the Lord for his grace that day.

These practices are simple and obvious. If you do them, it will go well with you and  you’ll enjoy heavenly rewards. 🙂

If you don’t, you just might have to endure The Rehearsal From Hell ….

Question: What would you add or change about this checklist? Leave your thoughts in the comments. We love comments!

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