Behind the Curtain – The Hour Before

This post is part of series of blog posts from a variety of bloggers on this topic. The concept is the brainchild of Rob Rash. Go check out the other posts in this series here.

You arrive early.

Unlock the doors.

Sort through music.

Double check song lyrics in the computer.

Worry about what you’ve forgotten to do in the past week.

If you lead worship in any capacity at your church, you understand what I’m talking about.

I tell people not to tell me anything on Sunday morning that they expect me to remember on Monday. Sunday is SUCH a hectic day. It is a full-on work day, full of stresses and pressures that few fully understand.

So what does the hour before worship look like in my world?

First, for those of you that do not know me personally, let me give some context.

My position at my church is Minister of Music and Outreach. I am responsible for all of the worship arts ministry activities and planning, as well as the outreach and technology aspects of our church. In other words, my work week points directly to Sunday morning. The rehearsals, planning, and organization of the week prior result in the Morning Worship service attended by a few hundred people on Sunday.

So the hour before “go time” is crucial.

(To be clear… by the time the hour before worship rolls around, I have already been at the church two hours. I’ve made the coffee in the café, turned on the sound and projection, warmed up, rehearsed the orchestra… and then the hour begins.)

The beginning of this hour is the end of our orchestra rehearsal and sound check. We (the tech crew and I) then sound check any featured music for the day, as well as any video elements that are scheduled for the morning.

After we have wrapped up preparations in the Worship Center and have rolled the announcements and background music, it is time to make sure everything else is in place. Sometimes that means making changes to the platform. Maybe I need to make changes to my platform notes (which I will be writing about in the next week… stay tuned). Yesterday morning, I needed to rehearse a tricky passage in one of the morning’s songs. Then there are times that I choose to go to the foyer and make myself available to greet those folks arriving for Sunday School.

And sometimes I just need to grab my binder, go to my office, review my music, and pray through the day.

Fifteen minutes before we start, a couple of our deacons pray over the staff and the service. After that, the choir assembles and we briefly run through the music for the day and get lined up.

I think the most important aspect of this post, as well as the posts of the other worship leaders that are writing on this topic today, is the fact that we ALL need to worship BEFORE we get to church. I know that we say that a lot in church. But I don’t think many get it.

If we as leaders are relying on Sunday morning to keep our spirits fed for the whole week, we are doing our respective walks with Christ a disservice. It is IMPERATIVE for every believer to have a DAILY walk with God. And that goes double for those of us that lead on Sunday.

I heard a stat this week that said that the average vocational minister spends THREE MINUTES in the Word each day. THREE MINUTES. There are a number of reasons why this stat is true. But none of them are valid.

There are so many pressures and responsibilities. But take heart. As Fred Heumann said at the National Worship Leader Conference last week…

It is a BLESSING to do what we do. We get to usher worshippers of Almighty God to a place where they can glorify Him with uplifted voice and outstretched arm.

Do you lead worship? What does you Hour Before look like?

What is a Behind the Curtain post? Click here.

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