One of the most un-talked about issues in Worship Leading, in my view, is how to prepare for rehearsal.
I mean if you’re able to say, “Let’s do this like Matt Redman’s second recording,” and everyone knows what you’re saying – more power to ya.
But for the rest of us — those who lead teams that don’t play together every week, who desire to be open to new people serving with the team (versus being an exclusive clique), there needs to be rehearsal preparation for the rehearsal to be clear (and timely).
So here are four questions to which I think every worship leader should have an answer before going into rehearsals:
What’s the Roadmap?
By “roadmap” I mean the flow of the song. For example… Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Chorus.
Refusal to establish a roadmap, in my view, is kinda selfish for a leader if you think about it. If you want others to be able to participate in worship leading with you, they need to know where you’re going — or at least what you’re thinking.
This is all about clarity and serving the team. They need to know what you’re thinking, leader. Do you really think you can go off on some new and random chord progression and other people can follow along? (If they can . . . well, that’s awesome and we all are jealous). It doesn’t have to limit you in a box – if you want to leave things uncertain, that’s okay! Just plan for some spontaneity so others can be spontaneous WITH YOU. Serve the team by telling them what’s in your head — however structured or loose that may be. Wouldn’t you appreciate that clarity from the leader if you were following?
For example, you might say, “We’ll do Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus – and then if I start praying we’ll play [designated chord progression] to leave some space for people to worship in their hearts, and I’m not sure what we’ll do after that.”
As a sidenote, for what its worth, my roadmaps are usually notated like this:
I use separate lines because it gives me little “chunks” to glance at and remember a “little chunk” at a time.
Uncertainty and Spontaneity is okay (and good) in my book. But not communicating what that means for those following you only because you didn’t plan ahead – that’s not okay.
How will the song start?
Again, this is all about serving others you’re leading. Don’t expect them to read your mind or understand the way Chris Tomlin did it in his obscure remix.
What does the band play? Is there a specific introduction?
Is it musically connected to the previous song in a medley?
What will the leader do? (Prayer? Spoken Challenge?)
How will the song end?
This usually just entails what chord the band needs to end on. But see the questions above regarding the song’s start as well!
Are there any specific “mid-route” details?
This is about communicating cut-outs, builds, diminishes, quiets, louds, etc.
For example, “When we do the bridge four times, we’ll start soft and build each one and be really big by the chorus.”
The only thing worth adding here is that I think this question needs to be explained to the team AFTER they know the road map.
For example – I would never say, “Hey we’re going to Seattle by car. We’ll head west and then somewhere halfway through we’ll be able to drive as fast as we want and then after that we need to turn right.” No No. I’d give specific directions and THEN add commentary. Like, “We’re going to get on I-90 and head west all the way to Seattle. When we hit Montana, we can drive as fast as we want, and be watchful in Seattle because we’ll need to head North on I-5 to get downtown.”
In the same way, we aren’t clear when we give instructions like, “We’ll get big towards the end” unless the team knows when “the end” actually occurs (hence, the need for the roadmap FIRST).
In summary, the worship leader (or at least the music rehearsal leader, if that’s a different person) must have thought through each of these four questions before rehearsal starts. Regardless of how thorough or cursory his answers are, taking a moment to provide clarity to others on the team is always valuable.
If you haven’t watched the video on creating an open sound, it’d be a good idea before you dig into this video. If you’re reading this on email or in an RSS reader, you will need to click on the title above to view this video on the cmiworship.com website.
Merry Christmas! My present to you is this great blog post I found awhile back:
Two things make a good drummer in a worship service: Steady Tempo and Consistency. Those are not the same thing. Carl Albrecht (who has played on more worship recordings that you can shake a stick at), has some great things to say about this. Check it in this video (you must follow the link).
6) We Worship With Physical Expressions
The list below is by no means exhaustive. Nor is this list prescriptive (you must do these things . . .) This list is meant to be descriptive (here are some things you can do . . .).
7) We Worship With Our Lives
This is taught in Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies [entire lives] as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
“If you are not a private worshipper, you will not likely be a public worshipper. You may go to church, and go through all the motions. But you will not likely really worship. Trying to worship publicly, not having worshipped privately, is like the dry heaves: You are trying to bring up something you don’t have in you.” – Paul Faulkner
4) We Worship God With Our Emotions
I wrote about this point a lot at my personal blog, www.adamdiehl.com on this post.
This point can be explained simply with some scriptures. As you read this, I challenge you to imagine these worshipful commands without emotion.
Romans 12:11-12 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
The LORD is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him.
Now remember, we do not worship God because of emotion – but we do worship God with emotion.
5) We Worship With Our Body
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
‘Nuf said there.
This post is the first in a series of blog posts about how we should worship. The first can be found here.
2) We should Worship With our Spirit, and . . .
3) We should Worship With our Mind (Understanding)
1 Corinthians 14:15 says, So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.
This distinction between worshiping with Spirit and Mind is, contextually, speaking about tongues. When we worship with our mind, its “God I praise you because . . .” and then we declare why God is awesome. When we worship with our spirit, it is not an intellectual operation, it’s something . . . deeper. Yes, this absolutely means worshiping by speaking in tongues. But at the same time I think it also is a “heart cry” out to God.
My church does the song, “From the Inside Out” from Hillsong. The chorus ends with the lyrics, “From the inside out Lord my soul cries out” and then is immediately followed by several measures of a musical interlude. That musical interlude is not a chance for the congregation to notice how wonderful we all sound (although, we do sound pretty good if I can that…wink wink nudge nudge). The musical break exists for a chance for our heart to cry out to God – however that may look. So we sing with our understanding, “From the inside out, Lord my soul cries out” and then we have a musical break to leave space for our soul to cry out to God.
This post is the first in a series of blog posts about how we should worship. Be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to receive email updates (in the sidebar to the right) so you don’t miss out!
1) We should worship with the “S” Word: Sacrifice
I call sacrifice the “S Word” because nobody ever likes to talk about it. When people discuss worship they often paint a picture of a bright sky with fluffy clouds – as if Christianity was always perfect and honky-dorey. If we want to worship rightly, we need to offer God a sacrifice of worship (this has little to do with music). Worship is about humbling yourself before God; breaking your pride. Jesus did not die on a cross just so that we could be comfortable – he expects a sacrifice of worship back to Him. Let’s see this in scripture:
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies [entire lives] as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Hebrews 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
1 Peter 2:5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
The question was asked:
“I would love to hear somebody’s thoughts on Christmas music and how to plan for it within the music-and-worship area of the church. Basically, I know how to get Christmas music together and have people play it and sing it, but what can we do to give the Christmas season more impact?”
The answer to this question comes from CMI Pastor Joe Chiarelli who leads worship at Calvary Christian Center in Pennsylvania. Check out their church here.
With Christmas Day falling on Sunday this year, here at Calvary Christian Center, we are planning to have our 1 hour, “traditional” Christmas Eve Service – Carols, Candles and Communion. This family-oriented service gives us an opportunity to sing traditional carols, alternating with appropriate Scripture passages, and it allows us to incorporate either a vocal solo or a special song presented by our Kids’ Ministry “Stick Team.” The candles create a solemn, yet relaxed mood for celebrating communion, and the Pastor closes with a brief encouraging word for the family.[The time frame is: 6:00 pm to 7:00 or 7:15 pm]
I realize this may not help to answer what to do to give the Christmas season more impact, but our direction is to slow down the pace from the hectic shopping and planning and parties that fill many people’s schedules during the season, which cause them to hardly realize what they’re celebrating. This change of pace gives our Christmas Eve service the “de-stressed” atmosphere we want to give to our congregation.
This year, however, with Christmas Day falling on Sunday, music ministers are faced with finding appropriate music and “elements” to add to the service to make an impact. May I suggest that the greatest impact is to stay true to the Incarnation message. After all, it’s not the style of music or what video you incorporate into the service that matters. We want to connect with God, corporately AND individually. We need to focus on Him, giving Him the honor, the thanks, and adoration that He truly deserves. When that happens, our Christmas season will be impacted by God Himself!
What would you like to add? What are you doing to make this Christmas season extra special in your church?
This tip comes from Jamie Brown of www.worthilymagnify.com. He discusses some very practical ways to include transitions in our worship sets. If you’re reading this in an RSS reader or email, you will need to click on the blog title, “Transitioning Smoothly” above to view this video in the cmiworship.com website.