Preparing music for Sunday can be a lot of work. In some cases we play as many as 6 songs on a Sunday morning and in some cases, as many as 2 of them might be new to the specific musicians playing them. So it takes time to prepare. The setlist has to be selected. Hopefully we are listening to the songs ahead of rehearsal and getting a good idea of how they go. We have to rehearse as a band and come up with our specific arrangement (since we rarely play songs just like the recording), we have to sound check on Sunday mornings, we run through a few things before the first service….all in all, a good bit of time goes into the music on a Sunday morning.
But honestly, I would say this musical preparation is less important than preparing our hearts. I know this is an incredibly churchy phrase; some people will read that and hit the “x” at the top of their browser immediately 🙂 But this is incredibly important.
This will be shocking information but part of the reason we sing songs at church is to provide space for people worship. We want to encounter God when we gather together on Sunday mornings and we know that experiencing his presence will literally change us. We can’t help but worship. I pray that there is a moment every Sunday morning where the people stop thinking about music, and the congregation stops thinking about what the band is playing. They all just worship.
Ultimately that is what I hope we do as a worship team. This is part of the reason musical preparation is important. It’s hard to stop thinking and just play or sing when you are staring at a chord chart or straining to remember how the song goes.
But it’s even harder to just stop and worship when your heart is totally unprepared. One of our goals in the worship team is to lead people in worship (worship leaders) and, as many people have said, it’s hard to lead people somewhere if you are not going there yourself.
Pray for Sunday mornings. Pray that the Holy Spirit would move among his people. Pray for you would encounter God. Pray that WE in the band would encounter God. Show up with expectancy. Prepare your heart beforehand to serve people in their encounter with God.
Yes we want to play well and do everything with excellence. This is a huge deal. But at the end of the day, people don’t come to church to see or hear us play music. They don’t come to be impressed with our musical chops or arranging skills. Those things are not ultimately what we are about.
We want to shine a light on the glory of God and his son Jesus and get out of the way so people can worship.