Not every tool I've used over my 10 years of worship leading has been essential. But there are some that I've started using and don't plan to stop anytime soon because I truly credit them with improving my quality of life.
Ok, that's a bit dramatic. But you worship leaders must know what I mean. Here are some of the tools you should consider adopting and some products I recommend you try.
Worship Team Scheduling
This one will depend on the size of your team and what your band looks like week to week. I lead worship at a ~150 member church with our Sunday worship team consisting of a 5-piece band and 4 vocals.
Before I took over the team, we had about 3 bands that would rotate weekly. That worked for a while, but it didn't foster collaboration or build the collective team. Although each team on its own was gelling well amongst themselves, the result was three very different sounds and styles. When I took over, my goal was to turn the bands into one team. I started by mix and matching musicians and vocalists week to week.
This is where a scheduling tool came in very handy! I was able to set a template for what positions I’d need each Sunday and schedule people weeks in advance. Without a scheduling tool to help me, I was sure to forget someone more than another person. I’m also able to view their availability and scheduling preferences as I’m planning–it’s a dream!
Recommendation: Planning Center Services
Digital Chord Charts
If you are still printing out your chord charts each week, what are you doing! Making 5 copies of a 4 song setlist every Sunday is a ton of paper. Plus, having to reprint in case you decided to change the key during rehearsal is such a hassle.
A couple of years ago I decided it was time to go digital. But before I sprung this change to the whole team, I decided to test it on my own. I started by purchasing an ipad and finding a tool that’ll display chord charts well and used it anytime I’d lead from the keys. After a few weeks of testing, I decided it was a good system to introduce to the rest of the team.
I didn’t want this change to cost an arm and a leg, so I found a few used iPads that cost a fraction of a new one, set everything up, and shared with the team. It took a couple of weeks to get comfortable with it, but now there’s no going back!
Song Friendly Presentation Software
Communicating your setlist to whoever is running slides is an important part of service prep. Fostering an environment where everyone in the congregation can participate is the reason we do all this anyway! It’s one thing to communicate the song order in the setlist, but it’s another to actually double check the correct arrangements are being used.
Having a software that integrates with where I store my setlist and is accessible from my laptop at home has been a huge help! Faithlife Proclaim integrates with Planning Center so I can import my setlist and lyrics as part of my weekly Sunday morning worship prep. I do all that home and don’t even have to approach the computer in the sanctuary, it’s all ready to go for whoever is running slides that morning! It’s a win-win for everyone.
Recommendation: Faithlife Proclaim
All of these tools (in addition to Worship Artistry!) have helped me week to week and have cut my planning time in half! Now, it’s time for you to do the same, go ahead and help yourself.
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