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Are you giving your musicians enough time to prepare to lead worship with skill?

We don’t always think of church music in terms of good or bad execution, but it could be helpful.

This idea of execution makes sense on the football field and in the business world, but, in church music, we aren’t performing. We are worshiping.

So, why should we think about executing well?

Think of Psalm 33:3. “Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.”

The word “skilfully” means “to be good, be pleasing, be well, be glad.” It also is used to communicate doing something well.

Based on this passage, we should work at presenting to the Lord music with skill.

And, logic compels us that, if we are singing to the God of all things, we shouldn’t be slipshod in our music.

If we spend too much time planning, and don’t make decisions early enough, we rob people of the time they need to prepare for the services.  We don’t give them a chance to execute well.

Last year, as we began the music season, I knew that I wanted to do a better job of executing.

Here’s where I was failing.

I would spend so much time trying to craft the perfect schedule, taking into account every angle, every factor, that I wasn’t giving the people on the schedule enough time to prepare.

I would be putting the schedule together during the last week of each month, or worse, after the first Sunday of the month.

Many times, the first Sunday of the month was full of last minute, thrown together music.  I would be calling / texting people last minute to sing.  I wasn’t giving them a lot of prep time.

Then, I was changing the schedule at a moment’s notice.  It was very frustrating.

There’s a balance here.  There are extremes to avoid.   We can either be too stuck to a schedule, never budging, or we can be too flexible, never sticking with the plan.

My point is that we need to get schedules out there early, and do our best to make the plan happen.

Peoples’ schedules change.  Life happens.  Children get sick.  Schedules have to be adjusted.

But getting the plan out there to your volunteers early gives more time to work out the snags in the schedule and allows more time for better preparation.

Here’s what we did. (We’re not masters at this, but it’s helped.)

We put all our musicians on a rotation, committed to the musicians to have the next month’s schedule to them by the 15th of each month (credit to Lancaster Baptist in Lancaster, CA for this idea).

I miss this deadline at times (the 21st this month), but rarely by more than a few days.

This allowed them more time to plan and rehearse.

It freed me up to spend more time preparing and helping the musicians execute.

We also did our best to stick to the plan, understanding that adjustments are sometimes unavoidable.

We still have last minute changes.  There are times I ask someone last minute to sing (in fact, I did last weekend).

I have a long way to go in many ways.

But, as a rule, we send the plan early, do our best to make it happen, and adjust as necessary.

Decide early. Execute well.

ACTION: Get ahead on your plan.  Send out the schedule earlier than usual. Give the musicians time to prepare.

You tell me…

Do you spend too much time planning and not enough time executing? What helps you execute well? Comment here.