Planning for The Summer
(guest post by Chris Gambill)
Being a worship leader comes with its own unique set of responsibilities. Some are more challenging to manage than others. For me, more than picking songs, communicating with a team, managing congregational expectations, planning a weekly service, or special events, the greatest challenge has always been scheduling.
Especially when the summer season hits.
All of the sudden, the normal challenge of juggling volunteer availability is now multiplied by summer vacations, weekend camping, community special events, summer camps, and who knows what else.
And all of the sudden you find that the only people available are you and Grandma Betty.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found that high caliber team members/musicians are also the ones who are heavily involved in other interests. This is a great thing as they are involved in the community, but challenging when trying to maintain a weekly worship team during this busy time.
The scheduling nightmare can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are other options besides curling up into a ball in the corner of your office or deciding to take your sabbatical from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
The summer season can be a great time to do some different things while still facilitating God-honoring corporate worship.
Allow me to offer some ideas to prime the pump. Not all of these may work in your particular context, but hopefully will provide a glimmer of hope that the summer scheduling conundrum won’t sink the ship.
-Is there a Christian college in your region or that your church is associated with? Ask them to schedule a music team to come to your church on a Sunday morning. Many of them send out teams during the summer to minister in churches in exchange for being able to speak about the college. You can have a fresh expression of worship, and perhaps encourage some high school students in your congregation to consider attending the school.
-Do a different style on one (or more) Sundays. Instead of having your regular sized band, do a stripped down team. Do an acoustic style set with just keys, acoustic, a little percussion, and one or two vocals. Or go completely old school and have just a guitar or a piano with one vocal.
-Have a guest worship leader/band come in. This can take any number of forms from bringing in a group (if your church is larger) to having someone local come in. If you're not sure who is available/reputable in your local area, ask other churches or a denominational office you are affiliated with.
-On a related note, see if a larger local church would provide a worship team for a weekend. They may have extra people willing to minister in other churches.
-Take the (sometimes) more relaxed summer months to rotate new people into the worship team. Maybe you have a less experienced drummer in the wings. Give him some opportunities when your regular drummer may not be available. This is a great way to give young people some experience.
-Speaking of young people, if you have a youth worship band in your church, have them lead for a Sunday (or two).
-You could join with another church in your area and do a joint service with a joint worship team between the two (or more) churches.
If none of these ideas work for you, you could also beg people to change their plans or guilt them about their commitment level. I wouldn’t recommend that, though, or else you might find your scheduling problem will extend well beyond the summer season.
In the end, let me encourage you to take a deep breath and relax.
The scheduling challenges are not your fault, and people aren’t going to hold you responsible. Keep your pastor informed about the challenges you’re facing and some of these ideas of how to meet them. Have him help you in validating whichever options you end up using with the congregation. With a little explanation, I’ve found that most people are very gracious and will often appreciate the variety.
Whatever you end up doing to meet the challenge, remember that in the end the Lord will still receive worship and be honored. Do the best you can with the situation you find yourself in. Seek the Lord for wisdom in prayer.
Trust that the Holy Spirit will still work and draw people into worship.
Oh yeah, and don’t feel threatened when people comment on how much they liked the different expression. But that’s another post…
How have you handled scheduling challenges in your context?
Chris Gambill is a worship pastor in Alabama. Check out his blog: JourneyofWorship.comComment on Facebook Comment on Twitter
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