It’s the time of year when music ministries in many churches go into another gear. Those lingering days of November bleed into December and the countdown clock to the Christmas programs at church are staring us down. It can be a wonderful time, or an awful one.
Here are three points of focus that might help.
1. Keep Christ in the preparation of the Christmas program. As rehearsals ramp up, make an intentional effort to maintain a positive atmosphere, full of levity, kindness, and spiritual focus. Don’t allow pressure to mount on you or anyone else. Remember, musicians are performers at heart and will degenerate to a performance mentality quickly. No one’s ego should be on the line here.
Instead of a constant focus on the production, focus on Christ – His Word, His presence, His glory.
2. Love the families of the people you lead – including yours. Plan your rehearsals for maximum impact but minimum disruption to the families of your people. Consider breaking them down into sections of the program instead of requiring everyone to be at everything and mostly sitting around.
Think about kids and their homework. Think about people’s work and the hectic build-up almost everyone feels as the year winds down. Every person you are leading has other responsibilities and priorities. Do the hard work of preparing rehearsals ahead of time that are fast paced and effective. Don’t fry your people physically leading up to the program and then expect them to be at their best, physically or spiritually. Build “breathing time” into the schedule.
Cancel a rehearsal if it gets too much. Your people will love you for it.
3. Pray. Do a quick evaluation of how you are doing things now. How does prayer fit into your preparation? We say we believe in prayer and we say we understand that unless God moves, our work is in vain. Does the way you treat prayer in your rehearsals reflect this?
If not, it’s not too late to make a change. Spend quality time in rehearsals praying together. Develop a prayer guide for your team. Enlist a prayer team that is focused on specific aspects of the program. Constantly call your people to prayer.
Most of all, remember the words of Paul in Romans 11:36 –
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.” (CSB)
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.