When we think about rehearsals and why we have them, chances are your mind goes straight to the obvious reasons. We have them to learn new material. But there’s a much deeper, more important reason to have regular rehearsals, even when you’re not necessarily learning new material. Each time you have a rehearsal all of your efforts should be directed towards one very important goal. And that is to learn that material like the back of your hand.
To illustrate my point let me take you back to when you first learned to drive a car. Remember how complicated it seemed back then? What was it, something like a 7-step procedure you had to memorize just to pull away from the curb? There were so many little details. So much to remember. It felt like you had to remember and pay attention to a hundred different things. Today though, driving has become second nature. We still do all those steps but now it’s so automatic-so programmed into us that we do them without having to think about it really. Nowadays you can be engaged in deep thought, spiritual meditation, prayer, even worship- all while safely driving your car. All because driving your car is something you don’t have to think about any more.
In a similar way, the goal of every rehearsal should be to learn and perfect the material so well that you can deliver it with that same kind of assurance. This includes every aspect of the music ministry, from the harmony to the actual song format to the music. That may sound like overkill until you begin to really understand how powerful that is to your ministry.
You see, anything that you’re unsure about takes your mind and spirit away from truly praising and worshiping God in song. For example, let’s say during rehearsal there was a part of the song that your group had a lot of trouble with. Patience was running thin so you decided to go with “close enough” rather than continuing to hammer away at it until everybody got it down.
Sunday morning comes, and the song is going forth. The Holy Spirit is moving and everyone is praising and worshiping God. Hands are raised, eyes closed and everyone is fully enveloped in the power of the song. But then the song starts to approach that one part everyone had trouble with. Everyone knows it’s coming and nobody’s really sure what their part is- or what’s supposed to happen. People get nervous and start scrambling to remember. Hands come down and eyes open as group members start searching for clues from each other, the director, band-members- anybody. But by then it’s too late and it’s time to execute. The group stumbles through the section ok but it’s not right and it’s noticeable. The song goes on and everyone finishes ok, but the spirit isn’t the same now.
In this example just one part of the song wasn’t quite nailed down. But there are times when groups or choirs stumble through entire selections this way. It may not even be that there is any noticeable mistake made in the song. Sometimes it’s just plain old uncertainty; the kind that comes from quickly going over a song once or twice and then Singing it the next Sunday.
Uncertainty can rob your ministry of it’s anointing and power. It’s very hard to really connect and minister spiritually when you’re not really sure the whole time what your part is, or what happens next in the song. So, as irritating as those repetitions are at rehearsal, it’s critically important to do them. Pushing past frustration is a tough thing to do, but the rewards far outweigh the frustration.
To understand the power of perfecting a song until there is no uncertainty, you need look no further than one of those old songs you’ve been singing for years. Just like driving, your choir, praise team or group has this song down so good you can sing it in your sleep. And every time you sing it God comes in and rains His spirit down over the congregation.
Why is that? Your first thought may be simply because it’s a great song with a powerful message. And you’d be correct. But it’s deeper than that. It’s because everyone knows every part of the song. And they know it so well that they don’t have to think about their part, or what’s coming next, or who does what at what time, or what the words are. So when the song goes forth there’s nothing to distract anyone or take their minds off worshiping and praising God in song. That’s a very, very powerful thing.
When you learn a song so well that you don’t have any doubts or any guessing about any part of it, you minister from a very pure place. God is then able to minister through you to His people because your entire group is with one accord.
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