Say No to Sandbagging

As I was reading through some reader comments on my last blog, one phrase caught my eye. John M. mentioned “musicians and vocalist that ‘sandbag’ until the ‘real’ worship service” begins. If you don’t play golf you may not be familiar with the term. It refers to a player who deliberately performs at a lower level than they’re capable of, causing you to not see how good they are until you’ve lost a few dollars to them.

We say “no” to sandbagging during our rehearsals for several reasons.

1) If a player or singer does not put forth maximum effort, there’s no way for me or our sound guy to know exactly what we’ll be getting come service time. Peak volumes need to be accounted for and dealt with. If you sing at one volume during rehearsal and another during performance, you completely wreck the mix.

2) If the song is not rehearsed with emotion, how in the world can I discern how it will feel in a room full of people? As a service producer, I’m managing the moments in our services, making sure that everyone fits together and tells a story. I can’t to that accurately when my team just goes through the motions in rehearsal.

3) Do the songs not mean anything just because there’s no one in the room? Every time we go through the songs, they should be done with purpose and excitement.

I don’t let our singers in particular save their voices for service time. They need to show me they can consistently hit the notes with emotion and sell, sell, sell the song. Go time is too late to show your best stuff. I encourage you to evaluate your system of service preparation and close the gap between rehearsals and performance.

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Andy Chrisman
Worship Pastor
Andy came to Church on the Move in 2005, having been in the music industry for over 25 years. He's dedicated to raising up the next generation of worship leaders, and even though he spent many years with the group 4him, he says he's "having more fun now than I ever did on the road."