Keeping Your Worship Rehearsals Fresh And Exciting
Has your worship team rehearsal time become stale? Do you ever feel like you’re just showing up and doing the same thing over and over again? You meet on the same day of the week, do a devotional, run through some songs, pray, and go home.
There’s nothing wrong with having a routine – it’s actually the healthiest way to sustainably pour into your worship team. However, there are powerful moments to be had when we intentionally step OUTSIDE of the same pattern.
You, as the worship team leader, have the opportunity to facilitate those powerful moments for your team by intentionally breaking up the routine of your worship rehearsals.
So let’s take a look at five simple ways you can keep your worship rehearsals fresh and exciting!
1. Move It Outside
One of the simplest ways to make something feel new without changing much is to change the ENVIRONMENT you do it in. What if you held your worship rehearsal outside?
That’s right! Instead of setting up on stage in your worship space like you normally do, you could take your team outside to get some fresh air. You wouldn’t even have to plan anything different and use the same structure you always use. Just the simple fact that you are in a new environment could be enough to stimulate your team.
Changing our environment has a way of sparking our creativity. You can do the same thing but do it in a new space and develop some amazing new ideas. That’s the opportunity you can facilitate for your worship team!
I can hear your objections already, so let me address them quickly.
“We need to be in our physical worship space because we need to use tracks and make sure all the technology works,” or “what if this happens…?” or “what if that doesn’t work…?”
Let me remind you that this isn’t a permanent move. You’ve been rehearsing in the same space for the past eight years. You can go ONE WEEK in a different environment, and everything will be okay. Head to a worship team member’s back patio, find a park pavilion that you can use for an hour, or use the church lawn – just try having rehearsal outside this week!
Have people bring some acoustic instruments. Maybe bust out a cajon or a djembe. Ditch the tracks for this Sunday. If someone needs an amp, find a way to run an extension cord outside. You’ll find a way to make it happen. And I promise the change of scenery will be worth it!
2. Utilize A Different Space
Let’s say you’re not completely sold on the “move it outside” idea. You can still change your environment without ever leaving the four walls of your church. Try simply setting up in a different space in your church then you normally do.
You could set up in your church lobby, find an empty classroom, or move your rehearsal to your multipurpose room. If it’s Halloween, set up in your church’s spooky basement that only a few people have ever been in, and most people in your church don’t even know it exists! Okay, maybe that last one is a stretch, but you get the point!
Take the extra half hour to set up some simple sound gear in a different room. Or you could just go acoustic.
There are two main benefits of setting up in a different room:
- Different rooms have different acoustics. Your worship team is accustomed to being hooked up to in-ears or listening through floor monitors. They’re used to hearing things a specific way. When you change up the environment, you force them to listen to things differently. As a result, they’ll end up hearing things they’ve never heard before!
- Small rooms give a more intimate feel. Chances are your worship space is the LARGEST room at your church since it’s designed to hold the most people. So, when you meet in it for rehearsal, you and your worship team are a few small fish in a VERY large pond. However, when you gather in a classroom or your church lobby, people feel closer to each other because they ARE closer to each other.
3. Set up in a circle.
Don’t want to change your environment? I get it. It’s hard when your team relies on technology. So what if you met in the same space you normally meet but changed the configuration of how your worship team is positioned?
Something as simple as setting up in a CIRCLE can be enough to keep things feeling fresh.
Think about how your team usually sets up during rehearsal – on stage facing toward where the congregation will be on Sunday mornings. Everybody is facing forward, and you can’t see each other.
But that’s not how you’d set up if you were gathering with friends to play music. You’d be set up in a circle so everyone could SEE each other, HEAR each other, and ENJOY the experience together.
Setting up in a circle allows your worship team members to interact with each other while they’re playing. It strengthens their musical relationships. Something special happens when they can make eye contact with each other.
The best part is – it’s easy to set up in a circle! Often all it takes is turning the front line of musicians around (vocalists, guitarists, or whoever else is stage front).
You Need A PLAN For Your Worship Rehearsals!
I want to make it very clear. While it’s great to change things up every once in a while during your worship rehearsals, all of these ideas come from the understanding that you do indeed have a REGULAR rhythm to your worship rehearsals.
If you’ve been flying by the seat of your pants every time you gather with your worship team – you need a plan! You need something that you do regularly to help them lead well. It can’t just be “let’s show up and run through our songs for Sunday.”
That’s why I want to give you The Worship Rehearsal Blueprint! It’s a FREE step-by-step guide that will teach you how to run the perfect worship rehearsal that leads your team well musically, spiritually, and relationally!
It’s literally everything you need to ensure your worship team is led well and constantly improving their worship leading.
4. Invite People Into The Room
Okay. Let’s say you don’t want to change the environment or the configuration of how you run your worship rehearsal. What else can you do?
You can invite people from OUTSIDE your worship team to your worship rehearsal. That’s right! I’m talking about normal people from your church coming to your worship rehearsal.
I bet there are at least three to five people in your church (maybe more, depending on the size of your church!) who would love to join you at your worship rehearsals, even though they have no intention of ever joining your worship team. They would love the extra opportunity to worship corporately throughout the week.
You’re probably picturing these people in your head right now – every church has a handful of them. Invite them to join you and your worship team!
Make sure to let them know that this isn’t a “standard worship event.” Things will be raw and unpolished, and you may start and stop in the middle of songs. But they will have the opportunity to worship with you and your team.
There are so many benefits to doing this:
- It gives people in your congregation additional time to worship corporately.
- It allows your team to practice LEADING worship and not just playing songs.
- It allows for building relationships with the people of your church outside of a Sunday morning so that you can lead them better on a Sunday morning.
- It gives you an avenue to show your church that you and your team take worship leading seriously! (most people don’t even know you practice during the week).
So get over the self-conscious thoughts of “what if we mess up and someone sees that we don’t always play the songs perfectly?” and invite someone who isn’t on your worship team to your worship rehearsal!
5. Host A Training Night
Perhaps the best and biggest shakeup to keep your rehearsals feeling fresh is not to rehearse at all.
Instead of using your precious rehearsal time to run through your songs for Sunday, pick some pieces your team already knows well and use that rehearsal time for a training session.
So often, we get caught up in the weekly grind of learning and preparing songs for Sunday that we never have the chance to develop other areas of our worship leading. But, as you know, those other areas are often MORE important than simply learning how to play a few songs.
Think about how your team could improve. What do you wish you could teach your team but never seem to have the time to focus on?
Do they need to understand the theology of worship better? What does your team need to realize about worship that they don’t already know? Did you just get in-ears, and you need to train people on them? Is there disunity between your tech team and your worship team? And you need to have a time when the sound engineer steps out from behind the soundboard and the bass player steps off the stage, and they hang out for an hour while playing a board game?
Or maybe the MUSICAL side of worship IS a big concern for you and your team, and you need to spend time with your team working on some new songs they’ve been struggling with.
Whatever it is, you can sacrifice your normal rehearsal time to focus on the bigger picture!
What is the bigger picture in your worship ministry that you haven’t had the time to develop? Focusing on that for a week will pay much bigger dividends than learning four more songs for this Sunday.
A steady worship rehearsal ROUTINE with minor SHAKEUPS
As I’ve mentioned plenty of times, none of these ideas are meant to be utilized regularly. You need a PLAN that regularly develops your team musically, spiritually, and relationally.
That’s why I want to give you The Worship Rehearsal Blueprint! It’s a step-by-step guide that will lead you through running the perfect worship rehearsal.
Once you have your routine established, you can start implementing some of the ideas you just read about.
About Spencer Cormany
LeadingWorshipWell.com is an online resource created by Spencer Cormany to help worship leaders lead themselves well, lead their churches well, and lead worship well. Through weekly training on the Leading Worship Well blog and Leading Worship Well YouTube channel, Spencer equips worship leaders with the tools to point people to the worthiness of God AND how to develop worship teams spiritually, relationally, and musically consistently. Spencer has been in worship ministry for over 15 years and is currently serving as the Director of Worship at Salem Church in Chambersburg, PA.