The first worship leader responsibility we are going to look at may tend to be the most tedious, but it is something that needs to be well thought through. Before the rehearsal and before the service, the leader needs to make sure they have planned and prepared for everything to come. How you prepare and plan will set the trajectory of how everything else will go moving forward. From praying for your team to picking song keys, you need to spend some quality time working to get things squared away for you and your team. Here are some things to think through as you as you are planning and preparing:
Prayer and worship
Above all else, make sure you are personally connecting with and worshiping God throughout the week, as well as praying for your team and the upcoming service. As leaders we should constantly be encouraging our teams to do this, which means we should be doing it ourselves. You can’t lead others where you first haven’t been.
Identify the songs you are going to be playing that week and make sure that you are familiar with each of them. If your church does not provide the songs weekly, contact your pastor or overseer to discuss what songs would be good to do that week. You want to pick songs that work well for your congregation, as well as for the overall mission of the church.
After you know the songs you are going to be playing, it is your job to pick keys for each song. The easiest way to do this is to sit down with a guitar or piano and play through the song to see what works best for whomever is leading the song. As you are trying to decide what keys work best for the leader, keep in mind that you want to pick keys that will also work for your team and the congregation.
Decide what recording you want to use as a template so that your team learns the right parts. When doing this, consider what instruments you will have. You also need to decide on a song order (Verse, Chorus, Bridge, etc.). It is usually best to keep the order close to the recording for your team and for the congregation. Again, think of your congregation when deciding how to structure your songs.
Unless you have professional musicians on your team with all the top-of-the-line gear, you will probably not sound exactly like the recording – and that’s okay! Set your team up to succeed by having realistic expectations for how they will play the song. This will protect you and your team from frustration when you get together to rehearse. Sometimes you may have to figure out how one of your team members can modify a part so that they can effectively play.
As you are thinking of your worship set as a whole, you want to look think through how to get from one song to the next, with the goal of better connecting your worship set. This will also help eliminate any awkward breaks in between songs. A transition could be as simple as strumming a chord on acoustic guitar or holding out a chord on a keyboard, reading a Bible verse, or praying.
Communicate with your team
Let your team know the songs, keys, rehearsal time/place, and any other things pertaining to the rehearsal. The easiest way to do this is either through text or email. You also want to be sure to point them towards resources that will help them better learn their parts, such as tutorials and chord charts.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Recall a time when you were apart of a team. Who was the leader of that team? On a scale of 1-10, rate how well you felt they led. Why did you rate them this way?
- Why is it important that you are worshiping and connecting with God in your own life? How do you worship God outside of church?
- How much time do you think you will spend each week on doing the tasks above?
- Out of all of the responsibilities listed, which one do you think will be the easiest for you? Which one will be the hardest? Explain.
- Do you feel that this is a realistic set of responsibilities for you to accomplish each time you lead? Are there any other responsibilities that you feel were not on this list?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.