How many times have you had a church attender come up to you and ask, “So what do you do for the rest of the week?” To the average churchgoer, it looks like the weekend ‘just happens’. We’re glad it looks like that, but… if only!
The fact is it does just happen, every six days (less for those with Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday services, and then there’s Christmas and Easter.) There’s a LOT that goes into making our gatherings ‘just happen’, there’s a lot that makes up the work-week of a worship leader.
Some have four-week days to play with, others only have three. Some take Monday off, others Friday. Here’s a rough general plan on what a work-week can look like:
Day One: Review the past weekend: what went well, what didn’t, what can we celebrate, what can we learn from, how can we grow? Who needs to be thanked or followed up on pastorally? Day one usually involves a bunch of church staff meetings (creative people LOVE these, thrive on these – NOT), go to your ‘happy place’, be a contributor, and be thankful that we also get lots of creative time too.
Day Two: Preview and prep the upcoming weekend. This involves lots of practice (so that we are ready to lead the rehearsal process and be the most prepared in the room.) The art of GREAT rehearsals is a whole other article. In short, we can’t underestimate the value of the rehearsal process or the preparation that goes into leading it. We need to be prepared spiritually and practically. We also need to be ready to lead our teams spiritually at our rehearsals as well as musically. Providing opportunity to worship as a team and invest with teaching from the Word allows us all to be ready for the important role of leading the church body in corporate worship.
Also, on day two, final tweaking of all the supporting technology happens i.e. pre-production in Ableton (or whatever platform you use), working in Pro-Presenter, checking charts and flow in Planning Center, and working through any spoken word transitions that need to be written.
Day Three: When/if you have a mid-week rehearsal and assuming it was the previous evening, spend the morning responding to any changes that come out of the rehearsal process. This could also be the day to have a creative planning meeting and discuss upcoming weekends and events. As part of and coming out of the planning process, upcoming weekend orders can be put together. It’s healthy to be at least a month out to allow for scheduling personnel, working on unique creative elements and song set creation. It’s important to have a matrix for how new songs are introduced, mapping the flow and energy of the service, and tracking how often certain selections are played and repeated. It’s a given that all of this should be covered in prayer and with an ‘openness’ to the Holy Spirit moving in and through the planning process.
Day Four: Final tweaks for the weekend. Making sure you ‘know’ everything! This includes the service order (so you don’t need a piece of paper on the floor), words and music (so you don’t need an iPad or music stand), and spoken transitions (so you’re not stumbling or over-speaking). Being this well-prepared allows you the best possible connection with the room as you worship together horizontally, and removes distraction, enabling you to personally worship vertically.
This is a basic list – by no means exhaustive.
Here are some important things to remember:
- Try to get the necessary things done in thirty-five hours. This includes two essential rocks.
- Pastorally caring for your team: emails, calls, texts, and most importantly personal connections i.e. lunch/coffee (your ministry will be defined by this!)
- Creativity. We have no business being creative leaders if we’re not being creative and inspired ourselves.
- Outside of these 35 hours, live a life of worship (this is the biggest rock) so what we do ‘overflows’ from our lives. Also be curious… go to new places, meet new people.
- Be planned and efficient in your work-week – if you don’t know what these words mean, don’t look them up! Rather, seek out a coach who can help you or be on the lookout for a mentor who wants to show you.
Day Five: GAME DAY! We don’t have to do this, we GET to do it. At the end of it all remember what an awesome privilege it is to lead people in worshiping our Creator and give thanks for that!
Day One: Start the process all over again!
So next time someone asks what you do with the rest of your week, you can spell it out for them.