When it comes to planning worship events the important things to do can come to mind pretty easily: i.e. the musicians you want to play, the set list you want to build, how you want to transition between songs. You can have meetings, and discuss stage lighting and directions for the congregation and band. All of these things can just be a given “duh” moment for the seasoned worship leaders out there. You may find yourself in virtual cruise control as you plan and rehearse for the next worship night. If so, then this may be the post for you to read.
Here are three important ideas that you can consider adding into your regularly scheduled to do list as you are preparing:
Get The Right People
Find people not involved in the event to commit to praying in advance, and during the event. Find a person who is willing to pray with fervency, perseverance, and with zero personal commitment to the event aside from praying. The reason why you should consider having it this way is because as someone outside the event they tend to have less personal interest vested in the outcome. They will not be worried about their cue, their task, or their riff, only God and His presence in the event. While it is great to specifically ask them to pray for you as the worship leader, or pray for the pastor as the teacher, explain that the event, and God’s presence and glory is their priority. Consider asking an usher who is not scheduled for the event, or a small group leader, or the congregant in the third row who you’ve seen coming for years but never reached out to. Ask as many people as possible. But try not to be impersonal and put out the request on the list of announcements for Sunday or at a staff meeting. Make eye contact with a fellow Christian, tell them all of the concerns and responsibility of their prayers, and be willing to trust in God’s relationship with them. They will intercede to God on the behalf of the event. And you may be surprised at how much of a burden is released off of your shoulders.
Prepare For The Unexpected
In order to promote even further peace of mind consider having one full acoustic set as a back-up option for every event. Sound systems do give out, and not everything will go as smoothly as you think it will. But do not rely solely on yourself, or just a few members for still playing when something goes wrong. Have a rainy day set list posted on planning center that everyone on the band can learn. If you do not have the time to practice with everyone at least tell them what it is and set up a minimum of people who know the set list. Print out chord charts and leave them in a folder somewhere close to the stage. Practice it, and run it a few times on an off day if you can. Having the ability to play no matter what happens is awesome. Your goal should be to make sure all of your band members can do it together, or are at least aware that there is a plan. I do not mean to say that band members should not learn what to do in the middle of the set when their instrument gives out. They can always move into just singing with the congregation or doing intercessory prayer. However, most musicians just want to be able to play something, rain or shine, for God.
Check Your Expectations
Most importantly, have a correct attitude of expectancy. If you set your expectations of the event too low you will find that you work too little to benefit anything more than your low expectation of the event. And if you set your expectations too high you will find that no one worked hard enough, the congregation was too prudish or rude, and you just could never seem to get your sound mix quite right. The only healthy balancer of our expectations for anything is Jesus. The love of Jesus and knowledge of Him creates the healthiest expectations. When your heart honestly expects His power to be present at the event you will work your hardest to prepare an atmosphere that speaks of Him and fluently praises Him. When your heart honestly knows that Jesus does have the final say over everything… No outcome matters other than His plan being accomplished, no matter how organized yours was.