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How to Kill Your Worship Rehearsal


My worship team rehearses on Thursday nights.  We start in the evening after a full day for the team members and myself.  To be honest, there are times where we’re all going through the motions and just want to get home.  Over the past few months I’ve really felt that God was asking more of me as the leader of this time.  Whether our title is worship leader, worship pastor, creative director, or whatever, it’s our job to shepherd the musicians we work with.  Over the coming weeks, I’m going to be writing up some suggestions on how to really make our practice times fruitful but first we’ve gotta get through the things we need to stop doing.  Here are three ways to kill your worship rehearsal:

  1. Don’t start on time.  I get it, it’s been a long day and you’re good friends with the electric guitar player.  You want to catch up with him and it’s a great conversation but by not starting on time you’re telling your team that they don’t have to worry about being prepared in a timely manner.  Encourage your worship team to come early to hang out with each other.  If that guitarist has a particularly large rig that he has to set up, make sure that he knows he should be ready to play at start time.  Make sure you have everything you need ready to go when people start showing up.  You’re always the first one there, right?
  2. Don’t spend time in the Word.  I’m looking right at myself on this one.  Don’t neglect the value of treating your worship team as a small group.  Work on binding your hearts together in love for God by hearing from Him.  Give members of your team the opportunity to share what God’s put on their heart.  Help them grow in the knowledge of why we lead worship in the first place.  Have you ever asked your worship team to simply define the word “worship?” You may be surprised by the result.  Pray together and intercede on behalf of your congregation. 
  3. Don’t worship.  In Matthew 6 Jesus talks about the value of praying for the right reasons.  He tells us that we should take time to get away from everyone to pray.  To do it in secret.  The idea is that we have to check our motives.  Translate this to worship ministry and our rehearsals are really our closet time with the Lord.  We’re together as a team singing out the same songs that we’ll be leading others in…but we have no audience.  Pray with your team that God will soften all of your hearts through the rehearsal.  Pray that He would truly be honored through the praise.  There will be mistakes and technical details to go through but God doesn’t care…I promise, He doesn’t care, He wants you to worship.

Check out the next post in this series, “More Ways to Kill Your Worship Rehearsal”.

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19 Responses to “How to Kill Your Worship Rehearsal”

  1. Love this. God’s been stirring me on these exact things these past two weeks. Its really easy to hurry up through the practice for my team due to lack of time. We only meet on the day of our services, due to everyone’s schedules this is the only time we have. So I really need to allow that short time to be used as you’ve posted here. Thank you

    • The team I directly work with has to swap out with another team in about 15 minutes to get ready for the service on Sunday morning, it’s definitely stressful. We’ve been getting together for an intentional devotional from one of the team members just before we go in and it’s been huge for getting our hearts in the right place.

  2. Great article dude! I feel the same way when I run our rehearsals. Good stuff 🙂

    • Thanks Wes! I think we’ll often feel like a service didn’t go as well as it should have without looking at how we actually got ready for it. On another note, we need to hang out next time I come down south!

  3. Thank you so much for the sharing about “worship” i am really concern about it, for God seek those who worship Him in Spirit and Truth. That is why God called David as a man after God’s own heart, because all his desire is to Worship God. The message that i have been read encourage me so much. God bless

  4. Might I add:

    Worship leaders who don’t give out music on time, or not at all, or missing instruments in the recordings (tracks with piano only), and expect musicians to have their parts down, but complain excessively that the musicians are not playing correctly, creates hostile practice environment.

    Musicians who don’t know the material, have not practiced, or regularly don’t practice places a burdon on everybody.

    Musicians who come in trained and ready who are treated poorly because they play busily, but only in comparison to the untrained regular worship team, and are treated with hostility.

    Practicing each song 10 times, either it can be played, or it can’t.

    Worship leaders who don’t like how new members sound, because they don’t play like the regular musician.

    Worship leaders who ask much, expect multiple practices a week, but don’t pay their musicians for the extra time.

    Musicians who are not personable, only talk about them self, don’t talk about what God is doing in their life, and who don’t reach out to new musicians but rather ignore the new person.

    Worship teams who do not go deep in their personal lives, only meet for practice, and are not involved in any other ministry. Music ministry can be used as a cop out so as to never have to talk to people at church.

    Telling musicians that there is room for improvisation, when the worship leader just wants chart reading.

    Telling a musician (especially new member) they don’t know how to submit to authority, when you don’t pay them.

    Just a few things I have seen in some churches I have played in.

    • Good stuff Ian! I’ll be putting out another post this week that touches on a couple of your points as well as others.

    • So how do you deal with a volunteer who never comes to rehearsal prepared? (We say “Practice is what you do at home; when we come together, it is to rehearse.”)

  5. Awesome article. I’m usually guilty to number two. Our team only had time to rehearse right before service so it’s critical that we start on time and know our stuff. We should visit you sometime since we’re only in Stockton. God bless you and the wonderful work that you do.

  6. Ryan, great article man. Its nice to have a place where worship leaders can come and be encouraged, especially with all of the effort and passion that goes into the planning. Love this blog and your ministry. Keep them coming!

  7. Awesome! I’ll be sharing this one with my followers.

  8. I agree . Definitely feeling this burden

  9. Laura Blankenship February 22, 2015 at 12:38 pm Reply

    Great, great reminders!!

  10. Thank you, these directives help to keep the focus true and keen


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