Seven Questions To Help You Plan Rehearsal

Mark Cole shares seven questions you need to ask as your prepare charts for your team:

One of the keys to having an excellent rehearsal is preparing great worship charts. I have found that worship bands frequently go into rehearsals with haphazard charts. No one has taken the time to really think through all the details of the songs. Next level leaders are prepared and a big part of that preparation is working on excellent charts.

There are two main forms of charts: a) the fully notated SAT chart, b) the words and chords only. I prefer the full written out chart because it gives you more details. But whatever charts you use, ask yourself these 7 questions to make sure the charts are clear and well-thought through.

Great advice here for helping to make your worship rehearsals smooth and efficient. Read the whole list here.

Five Lessons For Worship Guitarists

Electric guitarists aren’t exactly famous for their humility, even in worship settings, but Taylor Webb has some tips and advice that can help:

Over my years of playing electric guitar in a worship context, I’ve been confronted with the truth that God wants me to die to myself to serve His church. When we realize this as electric guitar players, we can learn not to hold too tightly to our preferences and opinions.

Below are some of the things I’ve learned from years of playing for worship gatherings. Many of them I learned the hard way. Whether you are just beginning to play in a worship context, or you’re a veteran of many years, I hope that these principles can be a help and encouragement, and perhaps they can save you from making some of my mistakes along the way.

Taylor shares five aspects of playing the electric guitar with power under control. Check it out here.

Were You There?

As Christians, we live in the victory of the resurrection, but Good Friday is an excellent time to remember the suffering that made our salvation possible. This song has long been one of my favorite songs to sing on Good Friday.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble
Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

Were you there when the stone was rolled away?
Were you there when the stone was rolled away?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble
Were you there when the stone was rolled away?

Here’s a video of Johnny Cash and the Carter Sisters performing “Were You There?”

O Come And Mourn With Me A While

Easter is about Christ’s resurrection and victory over death, but there’s a time to remember the cross and mourn. This song is a great reflection on Christ’s time on the cross.

O come and mourn with me a while
O come ye to the Savior’s side
O come together, let us mourn
Jesus our Lord is crucified

O love of God! O sin of man!
In this dread act Your strength is tried
And victory remains with love
Jesus our Lord is crucified

Seven times He spoke seven words of love
And all three hours His silence cried
For mercy on the souls of men
Jesus our Lord is crucified

O love of God! O sin of man!
In this dread act Your strength is tried
And victory remains with love
Jesus our Lord is crucified

O break, O break, hard heart of mine
Thy weak self-love and guilty pride
His Pilate and His Judas were
Jesus our Lord is crucified

O love of God! O sin of man!
In this dread act Your strength is tried
And victory remains with love
Jesus our Lord is crucified

A broken heart, a fount of tears
Ask and they will not be denied
A broken heart love’s cradle is
Jesus our Lord is crucified

O love of God! O sin of man!
In this dread act Your strength is tried
And victory remains with love
Jesus our Lord is crucified

This is a nicely animated video of Jars Of Clay’s version of this song.

Why Your Setlist Matters

David Santistevan reminds us that even though we may get tired of it, building our setlists is one of the most crucial things that worship leaders do:

It’s kind of a tired discussion – setlists, songs, and how many new songs to lead. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just that my world revolves around picking setlists and finding songs. If I’m honest, I look forward to days I don’t have to pick out a setlist. It feels like vacation.

But this one activity we do day in and day out is something we can’t lose interest in or give up on.

Here’s why…

Great explanation of the importance of the songs we choose for our churches to sing. He also lists four principles to guide you in song selection. Read the whole post here. Good stuff.

Songs To Know By Heart

Great post by Michael Kelley about the songs of the church that he wants his children to know inside and out:

Music, it seems to me, has the unique capacity to reach us at an emotional level that few things do. And when you combine a beautiful tune with rich, God-honoring lyrics, music becomes not only something to listen to in order to pass the time; it becomes something we can actually look to in order to preach the gospel to ourselves day in and day out…

I’m grateful to serve in a church where we take seriously the craft and responsibility of music. It’s a church where we sing not only for the musical beauty, but also for the teaching it provides. As I look to the next generation – my own children – there are certain songs that have been so profoundly meaningful to me that I hope and pray they will be able to sing by heart…

He lists five songs worth memorizing. Check out his list here.

What worship songs do you want your children to know by heart?

Writing Your Own Song Parts

Kyle Lent shares some detailed, super-practical tips on writing your own parts for worship songs:

If you’re anything like me, every time you learn a new song, you sit there and stare at your instrument for a moment, dumbly. Then you ask yourself, “How am I supposed to write parts for this song?” Or in simpler terms, “How do I know what to play?” You’re not alone! Every time I approach a new song, I’m sure I’ve exhausted all the ideas I’ll ever have. How to construct parts for your instrument is an important aspect of making a song work, but a difficult one! I thought it would be worthwhile to start a discussion with some ideas on how to go about writing parts for songs. This is not by any means an exhaustive list, but simply a couple of ideas to get our collective, creative minds moving. Just a heads up: this will be an extremely practical post—not a lot of theory, or even theologizing, here.

Great advice here on using a collaborative approach to writing and arranging worship music. Click here to read the whole thing.

New Songs: A Two-Fold Approach

Branon Dempsey shares his two-pronged strategy for introducing new songs into his church’s worship catalog:

When introducing new songs there is a two-fold process in Rehearsal and in the Service. How do you do it?

Here are a few ideas I’ve learned in what to do and what not to do.

Psalm 149.1 says: “Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.”

The Bible makes this a command: sing to the Lord a new song. As we learn new songs as leaders, we also are to help the church learn them as well.

The difficulty is that most congregations don’t get it the first time. It may take a few rounds + a little patience on your part. In the end, your church will be singing full as long as you make it simple. Here’s a few things I do to prepare my team and church when teaching new songs…

Great advice for teaching a new song to your team and to your congregation. Check it out here.

Why You Should Get Rid Of The Music Stand

Here’s a scary thought for a lot of worship teams. Kyle Lent explains why your team should consider getting rid of music stands altogether:

Two of our primary “Foundations” as a worship ministry are Engagement and Excellence. We use these two Foundations (along with Togetherness, Development, and of course, the Word) as a means to help us understand our vision in leading others to exalt Christ in worship. This leads to many and varied reasons why we do or don’t do things in a practical sense. One of those things is the choice to not have any music stands on stage… I want to propose that you work towards abandoning the music stand permanently, for a couple of reasons…

He acknowledges that it’s not practical for every team, but it’s a goal worth considering. Check out his reasoning here.