Weekly Worship Team Schedule
The great thing about talking to and hanging out with other worship leaders is that we get to compare notes, swap ideas, and see how each other manages their worship teams. And without fail, someone always asks: “What’s the schedule for your weekly rehearsals?”
At COTM, we are always tweaking our rehearsal times. We’ve found that it’s prudent to take a hard look at those times now and then and make adjustments as our personnel changes. What worked well for one group of players and singers six months ago may not be the best setup for the current roster. Right now we have several of our musicians on staff in our Performing Arts department, and most everyone else has a fairly flexible work schedule. So, our weekly rehearsal schedule for our main weekend worship services looks like this:
1:30 PM // Weekend walkthrough with production team
This is a very important first step. Communication of all our ideas with our production team allows us to all start on the same page. They need to know how many singers and players we want on stage, if there will be any dramas or videos, and what the overall tone of the service will be. Our production director, Andrew Stone, spends 20–30 minutes with us as we walk out the service piece by piece.
2:30 PM // Band walkthrough of charts and arrangements (in rehearsal room)
We have a separate rehearsal space that includes a basic drum kit, keys and smaller guitar amps. In this “pre-rehearsal” we make sure everyone understands the charts and direction of each song.
3:15 PM // Electric guitars work on sounds (on stage)
Trying to find the right guitar tones can bring a rehearsal to a grinding halt, yet those sounds can make or break a song. We use this time to get our tones just right so we don’t use up valuable rehearsal time.
4:00 PM // Band rehearsal (on stage)
We’ve now moved everyone to the stage in the main auditorium. Our production team has the stage set to our specifications (as per our earlier meeting at 1:30). There are stage plots, lyrics, run sheets and extra charts at each position so that no one is left in the dark.
5:00 PM // Vocal rehearsal
I’ll take the vocalists to a separate room while the band continues to rehearse. We encourage our singers to get there as early as possible so that they can get a feel for how each song sounds live before they grab their mics.
5:30 PM // Full rehearsal with band and singers
We record this rehearsal and load it onto Planning Center so our team can review before the weekend services.
3:30 PM // Full rehearsal with band and singers
We expect each worship team member to to have reviewed the rehearsal online and come prepared to play through the set at least 2 full times before the 4:45 full service run-through. We also use this time to pay close attention to the transitions between songs, to make sure we have a good flow for worship.
4:45 PM // Full service run-through
This rehearsal is all hands on deck. We rehearse every detail – songs, welcomes, offering, communion, announcements, dramas, videos, transitions – to make sure everything works well together before our first service on Saturday night.
8:00 AM // Worship service run-through
This rehearsal’s not really for the worship team (by this time we’ve run the set at least a half dozen times), but for the new set of volunteers who are running cameras or working backstage who were not there the night before.
We’ve had success with this schedule as it allows us time to review our music and it gives our production team time to develop their lighting, sound, and staging cues. It gives us confidence to know we have put together a service that is effective, fun, and meaningful.