Are your worship team's rehearsals closed to the general congregation?
Are your worship team's rehearsals closed to the general congregation? (Lightstock)

Worship leaders are an incredibly important part of today's church. But from time to time, I take them to task, as in this post on What Katy Perry and Taylor Swift Can Teach Church Worship Leaders.

Today I have a different issue. I've visited a number of churches this year that on Sunday mornings allow the worship team to continue rehearsals after the doors are open for the congregation. As a television director, I understand the need to tweak rehearsals until you get it right. But here's why—for most churches—it's a mistake for the congregation to watch the rehearsal:

The difference in attitude. During rehearsal, your attitude isn't on worship; it's on getting the music right. As a result, you're thinking about audio levels, the mix, the band, the monitor levels, and more. You're fine-tuning the music so once the real worship service starts, you can focus on God.

But most of the congregation doesn't understand this. So when they watch rehearsal and see you stop and start, walking around, and adjusting things they assume your attitude about worship is flippant and shallow. Plus, when they see the dramatic difference between your rehearsal attitude and your worship-service attitude they may think it's hypocritical.

Obviously, many in the congregation or audience today understand the difference. But from experience I can tell you that enough don't that it can create perception issues that grow into real problems.

And that's not all—in one church, one of the men wore a wife-beater T-shirt during the rehearsal, and a woman did it in curlers. Not exactly the kind of look that gets church members into an attitude of worship.

Worship leaders, be the leader of your team. If they need to start rehearsal earlier, then do it. Think about the image, attitude and spiritual demeanor you're projecting when people are watching. In most cases, the worship team is the first step a congregation takes into the presence of God.

Don't let your team's desire to sleep late hurt the worship experience for the very people you're trying to reach.

Phil Cooke is a filmmaker, media strategist and the author of One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do. Find out more at

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