It is time for your weekly rehearsal again. The music is printed and ready for your instrumentalist to receive. You have studied the music and know the flow and instrumentation of each song. You know exactly how you will lead your music team through the rehearsal. But, have you considered how you will pastor them in your rehearsal?
We must prepare for the music on Sunday morning! It must be excellent, but does our pursuit of musical perfection get in the way of our ability to really care for the souls of those that God has placed on our teams? More often than I care to admit, I have been more concerned about the quality of music that has been produced by those I have lead. A few years ago I knew something needed to change in the way that I was leading rehearsals, but I didn’t want to make changes at the expense of being musically prepared for Sunday. Therefore, I committed to these four practices which have helped our teams be better prepared for Sunday and given me greater opportunity to lead them pastorally during the rehearsal time.
1. Be Prompt
While it seems simple, being on time is a pastoral issue. This is a substantial way that we can communicate to the team that we care about them. Being on time doesn’t mean a leader is simply present when the rehearsal starts; it means he is ready. Nothing is more frustrating for a team or threatens the worship leader’s pastoral integrity like a group of musicians watching him set up his equipment while they are ready to rehearse. Being on time means being ready on time!
2. Be Prepared
No one should be more prepared at a rehearsal than the leader. After all, it is hard to lead a team that is more prepared. Preparation takes time, so we should budget for that in our weekly responsibilities. The more comfortable we get with our team the greater the temptation will be to just “wing-it” in the rehearsal, but we must fight this temptation because our lack of preparation can also communicate a lack of care for our people. If we are prepared and structured with our time, we will allow for more time to address spiritual issues.
3. Be Intentional
One of the most difficult challenges to overcome in pastoring a team during the rehearsal time is budgeting time for pastoral moments (devotion, prayer, etc.) and time for perfecting the music for Sunday morning. However, perhaps we don’t have to separate the two categories as much as we might think. There are many pastoral moments within and around a rehearsal, but we will need our pastoral antennas up to notice them – we must be intentional. Many of these happen before rehearsal begins and after it ends. If you arrive early and stay late you will have many more opportunities to serve your team members. Also, being aware of the lyrical theology in the songs that you are leading can provide an opportunity for saying a brief word about the Gospel truths that the church will be singing on Sunday.
4. Be Authentic
We can lead and serve our teams by living openly before them. They need to know that we are sinners who have been saved by the same grace that they have experienced. This doesn’t mean that we confess a litany of sins to begin each rehearsal, but that we live openly and authentically – with wisdom – before them. It is our human condition to want others to think more highly of us than they ought, but we must fight against this this desire for honor. While we may have more education than many on our team or may be more musically skilled, we are just as sinful and just as saved. We need to believe that and live authentically before them.
It ought not be that we fail in our pastoral responsibilities at the expense of producing good music. Let’s be resolved to serve and lead our people while also producing good music. This investment is sure to produce fruit that extends beyond the rehearsal.
Andrew Lucius is the Associate Pastor of Worship at Throne of Grace Community Church and Instructor of Church Music and Christian Worship at Boyce College of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is married to Rebecca and is the father of Molly (2) and Matthew (9 months).