OK, so let me start by saying that best practices are subjective in terms of who is speaking and who they are speaking to. That said, when it comes to our teams, I’ve heard enough people saying the same thing, that I feel fairly confident that as you sort through the following you’ll find some ways to improve the experience for your teams and your congregation!
PREPARATION FOR LEADERS AND TEAMS
Preparation for Worship Team Leaders
Requesting block out dates from your team with lots of lead time is the foundation to planning. In turn, load balancing your teams and giving them lots of advance notice of when they’ll be rostered is key to being respectful of people’s time. Creating a master spread sheet that documents the keys that your worship leaders lead songs in allows you to think about transitions at the same time you start selecting songs for a service. In turn, the sooner you can post the songs, charts, and audio files in the correct keys to PCO (Planning Center Online), the sooner people can start practicing them. PCO makes it super easy to transpose audio files, which means your BVs (background vocalists) can show up for rehearsal ready to sing their actual parts. We all have busy weeks, but as a leader you should be the most prepared person at rehearsal. This allows you to think about dynamics and arrangement instead what the next line is.
Preparation for Tech Team Leaders
Getting in sync with your Worship team counterparts around PCO enables you to share assets like songs and lyrics with your team so they can live with and learn the material they’ll be mixing – and not be chasing down lyrics on Sunday morning per Pro Presenter etc. Dropbox is great for asset management, and with some crafty file naming, you can set your media peeps up for success by uploading the slides using a 01_FileName, 02_FileName, 03_FileName naming system so they automatically load in order inside Pro Presenter or whatever application you’re using for projection.
Preparation for Team Members
Practice is what you do at home, rehearsing comes next. We all lead busy lives and there are weeks where we don’t have the prep time we need. But, when possible, showing up prepared for rehearsal means you already know the parts and the arrangements so you can rehearse as a team.
I’m amazed at the number of teams who don’t do a proper sound check, especially if you aren’t using in-ear monitors. Drums, then bass, then keys, then guitars, then vocals on the chorus of the loudest songs ensures your vocalists can hear themselves while preventing level overages on the board. Muting the mains during sound check is also a good idea.
DOING LIFE TOGETHER
As we’ve talked about before, creatives long for the connection and community that are built out of doing life together on the six days between services. At the very least, get your worship and tech peeps together once a quarter to do something fun like a BBQ or bowling.
WORSHIP PASTOR OR CREATIVE ARTS DIRECTOR?
The reality is that creative teams need care and feeding. If you lead a team and your title doesn’t include the word Pastor, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a need with your name on it. Jesus was busy too, but look at the fruit that came from the care and feeding he provided for the twelve. It mattered to Jesus, it needs to matter to us.
Out of relationship leaders earn trust and are afforded a lot more opportunity to ask more of the people in their care. Everybody wants the team to get better, and this starts at the individual level. By setting attainable goals and checking in with people’s progress becomes the norm individually and corporately.
SUNDAY PRAYER, PLAN, AND RECAP
Gathering the worship and tech teams for prayer and a run through before the service, and a recap after is a great way to foresee bumps in the road and deconstruct them so they don’t happen again!
One last thought. When asked, most of us know one or more areas where we can raise the bar. Setting goals and seeking accountability from a team mate is great way to ‘get there’ in these busy times.