Yesterday I shared a summary of the first thing I pressed my church’s worship team away from at our Monday tune-up night: sameness. The second thing I suggested we should “say no” to is winging it. Here’s a summary of what I said:
Say no to winging it!
The goal is not to be scripted, flawless, flashy, or impressive. The goal is to be ready.
There is a difference between being expectant, open and obedient to the spontaneous direction of the Holy Spirit – and being unprepared, under-rehearsed, and messy. Not being controlled by a script is wise. Not being ready is foolish.
When we “wing it”, we can end up doing things the same way we’ve always done them, sacrificing the level of excellence, raising the risk of distractions, and increasing the amount of stress and anxiety. Sometimes this is unavoidable, and we just have to do our best, humbly and prayerfully. But most of the time, we’re winging it by choice.
Let’s choose to say no to winging it, and step up our pursuit of humble excellence across the board. Here is how this might look:
Before the weekend:
– Musicians: rehearse at home. Once the songs are posted (Thursday night at the latest), make time to listen to them and practice them.
– Sound engineers: listen to the songs (either once they’re posted, or download them somewhere). Get a feel for their arrangements, and if the song is mixed well, let that influence your mixing once the weekend arrives.
– Start on time: Rehearsal shouldn’t start 15 minutes after it was scheduled. Technical volunteers should arrive early enough to have equipment set-up, plugged in, and turned on by start time. Musicians should arrive early enough to be able to start making music at start time.
– Start earlier: Unless we give ourselves enough time to rehearse and prepare, we won’t be ready. To avoid “winging it”, we need to have longer rehearsals.
– Rehearse fully: After figuring out arrangements, we’ll aim to run through each song once, with the lyrics operator running lyrics, and sound engineer finalizing the front of house and monitor mixes.
Pursuing a “stepping up” of excellence in all areas – musical and technical – requires a sacrifice of each of us, namely our time.
I always want to honor and value all of the various volunteers by not burning them out or taking their precious time for granted. If either of those things start happening, please let me know! But just as we slide towards sameness without being pressed towards growth – we are also at risk of sliding towards sloppiness without being pressed towards excellence.
Let’s go into our services ready, rehearsed, and prayed up – listening for and responding to the leading of the Holy Spirit.