Worship Backup

Do You Have a Worship Backup?


by Don Chapman

Just as I was about to do a final track render for my latest Hymncharts arrangement, my computer crashed and would no longer boot. It had been acting weird for a few weeks so I knew a problem was afoot.

After determining that the hard drive was indeed dead, I spent all of last week buying, then installing a new one and restoring my backup. Thank goodness for backups!

Do you have a worship backup?

Worship leaders, maybe you’ve been there. You’ve got your amazing praise set all planned out, the band is rehearsed, the slides are ready to go… and then YIKES! Life happens. You’re hit with a sudden illness, a family emergency, or some other crisis that takes you out of commission.

This is why you need a backup plan. Somebody who can step in and lead worship when you can’t. Maybe it’s that eager guitarist who knows all the songs by heart. Or the keyboardist who’s been itching for a chance to lead.

But what if you don’t have a musical “jack of all trades” waiting in the wings? Here are a few ideas:

  • Start now and mentor a volunteer worship leader. Let them shadow you, learn the ropes. Pour into them during the week. Let them lead a song or two. If you need to bow out, they can take the reins.
  • Make friends with local worship leaders. Be ready to help fill in for each other in a pinch. This musical camaraderie can be a real lifesaver.
  • Have your setlists, charts and tracks organized. If you’re suddenly out of commission, your backup can grab your materials and avoid the last-minute scramble.

At one church where I was the worship leader, I had a simple backup set list prepared with charts, tracks, etc. of our congregation’s most loved (and most known) songs. Anyone on our team could easily fill in at the last minute with the least amount of stress as possible – it was worship plug and play! And if all else failed, our pastor was a fine vocalist who had no problem stepping in if needed.

With a little planning, your church won’t even know you’re gone. And that’s the mark of a great worship leader – it’s not about you. It’s about facilitating the congregation’s encounter with the living God, with or without you.

Bottom Line: Take a cue from my crashed computer. Make sure you’ve got a backup in place. Your team (and your church) will be glad you did.


Essential reading for worship leaders since 2002.


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