Worship Leaders: Planning, Information & Communication Are Keys To Preparation

One of the passions of my life is preparation. Whatever you are doing, if you prepare carefully and methodically, there is a great chance you will be successful. In the area of worship, preparation is crucial. We have to prepare our hearts and minds spiritually and we have to prepare our gifts as well. Whether we are singing, speaking, operating technology, painting, dancing…..whatever it is, we need to be thoroughly prepared to offer the very best gift back to God that we are capable of. (Read Colossians 3:15-17)

Many times, as worship leaders, we do not equip and empower our teams in the area of preparation. I have certainly been guilty of this in the past myself. If we want our teams to be prepared there are a few things we need to do ourselves.

First, we need to practice preparation in our own lives. You’ve probably heard the old saying “You can’t lead someone to a place that you have never been….” That is especially true in the area of preparation. How can we expect our teams to be prepared for rehearsal when we, as leaders, aren’t prepared? There was a time, much earlier in my ministry, that I would get really frustrated because people were showing up to rehearsal without having listened to the songs ahead of time, or not having looked at the music. I took a long look in the mirror and realized that they were, in part, a reflection of my leadership. I made it my mission to be ultra-prepared for rehearsals….knowing the songs from top to bottom and knowing all the little nuances of what we were going to do with each song. I developed a plan for rehearsals and made sure that my team knew that there was a plan. That made a huge difference for me.

Secondly, we need to have a plan and we need to communicate that plan to our teams. Below you will see a document that we have been working from at MPCC for the last couple of years. We call it a Song Road Map and we do one for every single worship service that takes place around here. The plan is talked about, developed, written out and uploaded to Planning Center Online the week before the service takes place. We also provide music folders for our team each week and they all receive a copy of this Road Map, in addition to the service outline. The expectation is that they are up to speed with this plan when they arrive for rehearsal. It gives them every piece of information about each song and includes notes for our technicians as well.

What about the leading of the Holy Spirit? Great question. There are times when the Holy Spirit leads us spontaneously, and those can be beautiful, breathtaking times of worship for your team and congregation. As worship leaders it is crucial for us to be listening for that still, small voice and to have the courage to follow that leading. To balance that, the guidance of the Holy Spirit is also available to us when we are writing our plan. It takes hard work to learn to hear His voice. Sometimes it comes spontaneously. But, He can lead our preparation as well, as we stay on our face before the Lord in prayer over our plan and services.

Lastly, work the plan. The time and effort that you put into planning will have a dynamic impact on your rehearsals and services. Having a structured plan will also help your team to trust you and your leadership, while also setting them free to follow you in those spontaneous moments of worship. It will also inspire them to be prepared. When they see how hard your are working they will work to reflect that back to you.

A healthy process will, almost always, lead us to a healthy product.  Remember that as you lead and care for your volunteers.

Song Road Map :: Mount Pleasant Christian Church

2 Responses to “Worship Leaders: Planning, Information & Communication Are Keys To Preparation”
  1. Nathan Stewart says:

    Thanks for the post & encouragement! We do a similar road map within our “worship outline.” Planning now for new worship songs for this semester for congregation, choir & orchestra… lots of fun, but always have to pair down that list to not overwhelm our congregation. Over the years I’ve learned about how many songs I can teach within a given time frame. It’s about one a month, but can get away with more when they are songs people already know from the radio.

  2. Charles Bradford says:

    Brian – Your post is “spot on” for all worship leaders. Things we all should be periodically reminded of to keep us grounded. Thanks particularly for addressing the role of the Holy Spirit in planning and occasional spontaneous worship. We never want to get so structured to ignore His leading…..

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