I was honestly surprised at the reaction that the blog “5 Rehearsal Killers” got from many of you. Several made comments about whether or not to use devotionals – one of my favorite parts of choir – so I thought I’d follow up with this.
So, just how do you lead an effective choir devotional?
- Keep it short.
That’s probably all I need to say. But if you’re not careful you can turn something positive and make it a negative by making it too long. I would say 10-15 minutes is probably as much time as you would want to use in a devotional. And, plan for it in your rehearsal so you avoid the “when will this end” feeling at the end of the rehearsal.
- Share at varying times in the rehearsal.
Why only share a devotional thought at the end of rehearsal? It is very effective to drop in scripture – with thoughts or reminders – in between songs or even at the very beginning as you are starting. You can really set the tone for a great night with a worship moment and scripture right at the very beginning.
- Connect the Dots.
This is very important. As you go through the rehearsal plan, strategically put scripture (or reference major themes) explaining why you selected the next song. Let the choir in on the selection process and how the new material fits into the overall themes of the church or with your pastor’s next series. You will be adding meaning to the songs themselves enhancing the singers experience as they sing it for the church.
- Use Special Guests
Occasionally, invite someone that is not part of the choir to come and share. A great option would be to invite someone that has told you recently how vital the choir’s ministry has been to them and let them share directly with the choir.
WARNING: Make absolutely sure this person can respect the time of your people and will not extend your rehearsal unnecessarily, If needed, plan a shorter rehearsal so your people can enjoy the testimony.
BEST IDEA: Invite your pastor to come two or three times a year to share with the choir. He can express his appreciation, share his vision for the shared ministry he has with the choir as worship leaders, and give spiritual leadership to the team of folks that literally, ”have his back.”
- Teach your people to pray.
Teach your choir to pray for the ministry they are part of in choir. Don’t let this turn into a long time of prayer requests followed by a short prayer – have the requests submitted ahead of time and lead your choir to pray – in small groups, as individuals, and as a total choir. Make prayer a primary focus of your devotional time.
One of my favorite things to do from time to time is to have the choir divide up and move through the worship center praying for the church and the services that are coming up – especially before a significant event or series of concerts.
As a leader, you know full well that apart from God’s power, you will not accomplish anything. Help your choir realize that by spending time praying together.
Remember, you are called to be far more than a music leader – you are a spiritual leader. And don’t neglect to lead your choir spiritually even as you prepare them musically.
You will be ministering to your choir so God can minister through them.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.