Planning the Practical – Rehearsal and Pre-Service

Last week we talked about some practical set planning ideas; this week we’re going to take a look at some things for being prepared for rehearsal or pre-service.

After Service

Striking the Platform

This may be responsibility of your production/sound team, but in a lot of small churches, these items may end up falling on the worship leader.

Let’s talk about what to do at the end of the service. Why is this first? Well, it will make sense later when we talk about setting the platform.

When you’re wrapping up for the day, return to platform to a predetermined baseline configuration. My personal preference is that the platform is cleared completely, all cables are wound (correctly, using the over/under method) and all equipment is put away.

Clearing the platform may not be practical for all, and it may be practical to settle on a baseline configuration. The baseline at my church is 2 Vocal Mics, 1 Instrument Line/DI, and the podium mic. This accommodates most needs without any additional setup. At the end the service, I prefer pull everything down and then re-setup the baseline configuration; this allows me to clean up all the cabling in the process.

Before Practice or Service

Arrive Early

Don’t be late. Don’t be on time. Be early.

Don’t waste your team’s time.

Don’t.

This applies to rehearsals as well. It may be advantageous to have an earlier expected arrival time for musicians. Keyboard rigs can be especially complicated and temperamental. Haven extra time to get these things set up is always an advantage.

Setting the Platform

This also may be responsibility of your production/sound team.

Since the platform was returned to the baseline configuration after the last service and you’ve arrived early, set up the platform for the configuration you need. Make sure everything is tidy, patched correctly, and line checked.

If this responsibility does fall to your production/sound team, be respectful of their time by listening to their direction during line/sound checks. If they’re not asking for you to play, keep quiet. It’s super hard to set EQ’s and compression on a channel when there’s 10 other people making noise. As the worship leader, communicate this to your musicians (Electric guitar players are usually most guilty — we love tweaking pedals during sound checks).

Help Others

Since you arrived early and have your equipment set up and everything in order before anyone on your team arrives, use the extra time to connect with your team and help them with any of their needs.

This is a great opportunity to build on the relationships you have with the people on your team. This also gives you an opportunity to check in on your team members to see how they’re doing; if someone is struggling or having a rough day, encouraging them and praying with them before anything gets rolling could really make a difference in their day and have a positive impact on the overall rehearsal as well.

Communicate

Before playing a single note, talk through the set with your team (including production/tech fokes). Discuss order of service, any notes on the songs (solos, alternate arrangements, etc…), and the plan for the transitions. Talking about this stuff before playing through the set will take save a ton of time during rehearsal and hopefully reduce the number of trainwrecks during service.

Be Nice, Stay Relaxed

I’ve seen friendships end over rehearsals. Trying to get everything set up and organized can be stressful, but there’s no reason to get bent out of shape. It’s going to be a lot easier to work through any problems that arise if you keep your head.

All Summed Up

When you sort this stuff out ahead of time, you free you and your team up to focus on ministering during the service. You also minimize  the potential for train-wrecks or distractions that could inhibit your congregation from worshiping.

Tony has been involved in worship ministry for nearly 20 years. After graduating from the Calvary Chapel School of Worship, he spent ten years as a church staff media director. He currently works as a software developer in the healthcare industry and serves in various capacities at Calvary Chapel Milwaukee, WI.

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