Maximizing rehearsal time in light of the limited time that most churches have with their volunteers isn't an easy task, but is possible.
It’s hard–marriage, dating, college, kids, full-time jobs, practices, games, music and dance recitals, yard work, laundry… whew. It’s called life, and, as you know, most churches couldn’t function without the faithful support and benefit of their volunteers. Most of us are volunteering, and that requires great effort on our part. So how do you show up prepared and ready to deliver on weekend services? It’s a combination of leadership as well as the volunteers/teams doing all of their parts with excellence.
Below are a few suggestions. Not an exhaustive list and not everything will suit your ministry, due to differences in size, resources, availability, and time, but just take and apply what and where you can.
Churches are putting on a mini production from week to week and rarely if ever, get a break to reflect, celebrate, or recover. It’s like the Energizer Bunny, it just keeps going. We as church leaders, need to be planning weeks, even months, in advance.
Practically, that looks like having the music selected, knowing who’s singing and who’s singing what. Introducing the songs in a timely manner, keeping all volunteers in the know with follow-ups, and having well-organized rehearsals. Planning is vital to success.
We as individuals, and organizations, have access to some of the most amazing technological tools in the history of mankind. They range from free to not so free, but there is definitely something for everyone out there.
If you’re one of those people who refuse to use technology, you're really missing out on some great time-savers. Don’t be afraid to utilize new technologies!
This is a great follow-up to “technology” because with tools like Worship Artistry, Planning Center, and others, you can have the next few weeks of music planned out within the hour. The earlier your team can start listening and getting familiar with the music, the better. If they know the songs a week, two, or three in advance, then tweaking will be a breeze. If they’re coming in cold turkey, the week of (or day of!) it’s gonna be difficult to deliver your best.
The benefit of a tool like Worship Artistry is that the parts are broken down into lessons and parts. In practice and loops sections, each part is spelled out and is a game-changer when practicing.
Remember we’re in the business of servant leadership, so the better equipped and prepared you make your team, the better outcome for you, your team, and the entire church.
As soon as you have sets selected, start rehearsing those songs weeks in advance. You don’t have to spend an hour on a song when you’re 4 weeks out from using it, but just listening, running through it, and letting people get familiar with it will help people a ton. You can save the major tweaking for a week or two out.
If you have a midweek rehearsal and have the space, I suggest always having the band and vocalists rehearse separately, then bringing everybody together near the end of rehearsal. This way everybody’s ready to deliver when they rejoin as a team.
If you’re limited on space, have the band come in early to prep, then have the vocalists join later, or vice versa. Maybe have the vocalists rehearse on a separate night from the band, then everybody joins together on the weekend for a solid rehearsal before service.
Get creative! Everybody has different access to resources, so make the most of what you have.
The creatives tend to be the weird ones in the bunch–which is awesome! So take it and run with it. Be creative! Don’t let dead ends or the fact that your ministry doesn’t look and sound like some bigger ministry down the road discourage you. Stop following the crowd and utilize the creativity that’s inside of you.
Stay alert, look for talent, and new ideas, and harness that God-given genius placed inside you. You may make major goof ups along the way, but what about all of the hidden treasure and possibilities yet to be unleashed simply because we’ve been doing what everybody else is doing.
Excellence is what I continue to strive for as a musician. Sometimes, however, in the process of being the overachiever that I am, I do too much. That looks like oversinging or overplaying.
Remember, simplicity is not bad! It actually is a highly effective tool. Great organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs, usually excel at one specific thing and dominate. So start honing in on your strengths, your musical skills, your team members, your organization, and be exceptional at those specific things.
In the process, if you need to not use as many singers, instruments, songs, etc. for the time being– so be it. Make the most of what the Lord has given you, and knock it out of the park. Learn to manage and maximize the little you have, and I think you’ll be shocked at how much God will use you and your team.
If the leadership has done well in planning, providing, songs, resources, efficient rehearsal space and time, and maximizing their efforts, it’s on the rest of the team to do their part. Learn the music, learn the part–we’re working together for a common goal, as individuals, and as a community to seek, know, worship, and serve the living God. He’s worthy of your best, so let’s give it to Him.