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Why No One Wants to Rehearse

Kade Young
Kade Young
Chief Audio Guru

As a worship leader, one of the most important things you can do is streamline rehearsal time. There is nothing more frustrating for a worship team than to go to practice after practice, and get nothing accomplished.

In my late teenage years, I participated on a worship team as a vocalist. I can remember going to rehearsal, working on the same song for the fifth time, and the band still wasn’t ready to introduce it to the church.

The vocalists would argue about what part to sing, when most of them didn’t even have the lyrics memorized yet. We would get lost on the roadmap of the song almost every run-through, and everyone was ready to pull their hair out.

Have you ever been in this situation? Well, I have since found the way out.

Step One: Improve Communication

We all know that communication is important. However, it is extremely easy to let communication failure continue week after week.

Ask yourself these three questions to find out how good or bad your communication is as a worship leader.

  1. Are band members asking for copies of music and lyrics on rehearsal day?
  2. Are you providing MP3s and chord charts of new songs less than 3 days in advance?
  3. Do you have band members missing rehearsal because they didn’t know what time it started?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it's time to improve your communication.

I recommend using an online tool, like Planning Center or WorshipTrac, to get your worship team on the same page. This enables you to easily provide chord charts, lyrics and MP3s, and make it all available to your band 24/7.

The worship team can then pull out their phone or computer and have access to everything they need to practice on their own before rehearsal.

You can also schedule each service, giving scheduled team members the opportunity to either accept or decline so you know if they are going to be there or not.

Planning Center can improve your communication tremendously, so don’t be afraid of the learning curve. It will take about 1-3 months for your team to get used to the new system, but it is well worth the time invested.

Step Two: Turn Up the Heat

We all work with volunteers, but this is no excuse for them to be lazy. It only takes one lazy team member to kill the motivation of the rest of the team.

Be very clear that it is expected of every team member to hold their own weight. This means that everyone should learn their own part, on their own time, before rehearsal.

It only takes one lazy worship team member to kill the motivation of the rest of the team. Tweet Quote

Rehearsal is not a time to learn individual parts, but a time to put parts together. It is a time to work out the kinks, and smooth the transitions. A time to work with the sound tech, and pull together a powerful and anointed sound.

If your team members are not learning their part before rehearsal, either you have not provided them with the tools to do so, or you have not communicated the expectation.

You see, I thought that I had clearly communicated this with my band, but week after week, they came to rehearsal unprepared. It wasn’t until I adopted Planning Center, and turned up the heat by only allowing one rehearsal for each new song, that things began to turn around.

Actually, it's pretty funny how the team responds when they know that a song will be introduced the same week we rehearse it for the first time.

Even when they don’t learn their part before Thursday rehearsal, its like something magical happens on Friday and Saturday, and they show up completely ready for the song on Sunday. I suppose they just don’t want to be embarrassed like they were at rehearsal, when everyone else knew their part.

Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from discovering something great.

There are many things that make rehearsal better, and I am still learning myself. However, most of them will be specific to your situation. So, don’t be afraid to step out and try something new. If it doesn’t work, admit it, and then try something else.

You might also enjoy: How to Increase Productivity During Worship Team Practice


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7 comments on “Why No One Wants to Rehearse”

  1. I tell my team a month or more in advance of new songs and put them in planning center with mp3's and chord charts. A few days is not enough notice for adults with full-time jobs and other responsibilities. They may literally not have a single hour in a few days before to sit down and hash out a new song.

    1. A few years ago, I would have agreed with you. But, after giving the 6-day-notice strategy a try, I found that it worked really well - even for working adults. Turns out, they actually prefer it now that they are used to it.

  2. Thank you for this article and information. we totally need this information right now. God bless!

  3. Good write-up, brother. I definitely learned some things from the perspective of a leader as well as worship band member. I will say, I'm in agreement with Mike's comment. Although, 6 days may be a "sufficient" amount of notice, it's definitely not a generous amount. Considering my own circumstances, full-time work, raising two little boys(picking up from school, doing homework, cooking, playing, etc), attending church services and/or volunteering, appointments, other misc life needs that require my attention, 6 days can barely be enough sometimes. As a leader, I like to be respectful of my team's time and sensitive to the rest of the world affairs that require their attention. Whenever possible, I set out the worship set several weeks in advance for everyone to become familiar with the songs, parts, and have the 'tune' in their heads and in their hearts so they really 'know' the songs. At worst, I do 2 weeks notice. I just don't want other areas in their life to suffer nor do I want them stressed out about ministry and worshiping the Lord. They arrive defeated when they feel that way. Just my .02 cents. Blessings!

  4. Love your blog. This one was especially helpful. We are just starting to use Planning Center. I'm looking forward to the improvements! Thank you.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Andee. You guys are going to love Planning Center!

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