Each week, we follow this rehearsal schedule: vocalists rehearse during the week, band rehearses from 1:30 to 2:45 on Sat., and then a sound check for vocals at 2:45. At 3pm, we begin the first of two complete run-throughs. In the first run trough, we do everything exactly as we would in a service (minus the message). Every preservice element, every song, every video (played all the way through), even the announcements. EVERY element, including and especially transitions between the various pieces. It’s not enough to have great elements in your services, you have to practice how you’re going to move between them.
I am a former worship leader and a musician by background, so I know the temptation that exists to use every last minute of rehearsal time tweaking the music side of things. You want the songs to be good. The congregation wants the songs to be good. But the service doesn’t exist for the songs – it exists to help people worship and learn more about the God who created them – maybe to meet Him for the first time. Worship music is one of the “hows” – it’s not the “what.”
Having a rehearsal structure like this allows the entire team to succeed, not just the worship team. Good stuff that reflects the desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) that it works much better than less structured alternatives. This concept is pretty prevalent across many of the churches I’ve seen – I ran into it on the Granger Church blog, as well: click here