Are You Skipping This Key Element of Preparation?

Jon Nicol explains a worship team’s dress rehearsal is a run-through.

It’s that time we play through a song, or full set, or even the full service just like we’re going to do it in the service. And just like the dress rehearsal, it gives us confidence to know that we know the music and transitions. And it can also reflect back to us that there are moments that aren’t prepared as well as we think.

My team is currently running staggered rehearsals. The band comes in on Thursdays at 6:30pm and rehearses till 8pm. The vocalists join us then, and we do a full run-through of the songs. After that, the band leaves and the singers work out any parts that they didn’t get figured out during the run-through.*

So we essentially get two run-throughs. Besides our run-through at the end of the Thursday night rehearsal, we also do run-through after Sunday morning sound-check.

The Thursday night run-through is about making sure each song is ready. The Sunday morning run-through makes sure the whole set is ready: we practice transitions, scripture readings, prayer, etc.

When It’s Skipped

For a particular service few weeks ago, we had fewer songs. At the Thursday night rehearsal, the band had finished rehearsing all the songs by 7:30. I didn’t anticipate this. So rather than make them wait 30 minutes for the vocalists, I dismissed the band and just ran a vocal rehearsal when they arrived.

Our first service that Sunday was a mess.

The band was forgetting transitions and vocalists were missing cues for when to come in. By the second service, it came finally together. Why is that?

We missed our run-throughs.

Our Sunday morning warm-up became the run-through we missed Thursday night. So instead of working out cues and transitions and other service elements, we were making sure the songs were right.

Because of that, our first service essentially became a “run-through.” We were practicing all the different elements of the set—in front of the congregation.

Not awesome.

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