I LOVE my job! I sincerely hope that this post doesn’t come across like I’m complaining about what I have/get to do each week, but I’ve gotten some really funny responses from people regarding me resigning from my nursing job. Seriously, the most common response I get is, “Well, what are you going to do then?” Hahaha. I want to say, “Well, do you see what we do here each week? We don’t just throw this together on Sunday morning!”
Have you ever thought about what goes in to planning a worship service week after week? I’m going to try and give you an idea of what goes through my head each week as I plan and create and then plan some more.
What Is the Vision?
This is the question I ask myself everyday. It’s so easy, as a musician, to get caught up in the music that I like, but it’s not about me. It’s not about anybody else but Jesus. I have to make sure that I get real very quickly with God and search out His heart for what He wants to accomplish. I ask Him each week to give me vision and purpose for that particular week’s service.
Side note: How would our daily lives be different if when we woke up each morning, we asked God for His vision for us for that particular day? I think may help us find the purpose in our lives so that we are not bogged down with the mundane in life, but rather, excited and zealous to search out God’s heart each day.
Initial Set List
Creating an initial set list may just be like editing a book. You have this raw, rough copy, and then you refine it until you just know it’s right. I try really hard to have set lists done a few weeks ahead of schedule just so the band can know what’s coming up, but as sure as the sunrise I usually change it the closer we get to that week. That goes back to finding the vision each week and asking God what He wants to do.
Prepping for Rehearsal
Our rehearsal are on Wednesday evenings at 6:30, and by then I have a good set in mind. I spend a lot of time on Wednesdays simply in prayer and in personal worship just making sure my heart is in tune with His.
There is also this task of discipleship that I take very seriously. I didn’t really know what to make of it when our church leadership decided to put “pastor” in my title, but the more I ponder that word the more I realize that I have a huge responsibility to teach my band about worship and to ultimately teach my congregation about it. I am not called to simply get up on stage each Sunday morning and sing a few good songs. If that were the case, it would be a pretty empty calling. I am called to help prepare the hearts of the guys and gals in my band so that they can also be effect worship leaders. Each person on our stage plays a part in leading our church in worship. It’s never just about the music!
Also in prepping for rehearsal, there is the charting of the chords. I use a lot of good websites to help lay the groundwork for a good chord chart. Feel free to message me if you would like to know what sites I use.
Finally, there is practice, practice, practice. I rehearse hours and hours before our band ever comes together for rehearsal. Practice is vital. There have been many people who would brag and say that they never had voice or guitar lessons, and yes, I believe natural talent is important. But refining your gift is also incredibly important. It connects you with your craft and your Creator in a powerful way. Here’s my own personal example: Before I came into my job here at Hope, I typically sang all of the Kari Jobe-like songs, which were incredibly high and a bit airy. I love those types of songs. Unfortunately, not a lot of regular people can sing that high all throughout a worship service. I had to work incredibly hard at increasing my vocal range in order to engage with my audience. I would get frustrated and want to cry, because I couldn’t sing more Brooke Fraser type stuff. Over the course of the last year, however, my range has increased dramatically. (I mean, last week I sang How Great Thou Art in the key of E)! I’m thankful for the time and the persistence that it takes to grow as a singer. Practice may not make you perfect, but it definitely makes you better and more connected.
Band and Vocal Rehearsal
We spend several hours on Wednesday evenings in rehearsal. I work with some of the best musicians and singers I’ve ever met, and they all volunteer their time and their talents. It makes me so proud! We work diligently to create music that reaches our congregation and transcends denominations and generations. We believe that our calling is to our local church; that we are servants to these people. And we desire so much to provide opportunities for them to connect with the God of the Universe. It’s such a profound thing to think about; that we can actually have audience with God Himself in all of his holiness and perfection. The fact that He uses us as conduits for that is mind boggling.
We are also starting up rehearsals on Sunday mornings before many people even wake up to start their pot of coffee. And we do it joyfully, because we love the presence of God!
Oh, we’ve only just begun on this journey of understanding.
To be continued…