What's up everyone. I recently (4 weeks ago) just took on a worship Pastor position in Virginia, My wife and my 3 month old son got in our SUV from San Diego and drove across the country to full-fill God's calling on our lives.
I'm beginning to develop my weekly routine of things I need to get done before Sunday's service. But I'm curious to know how more experienced Worship Pastor's plan out their week. So for you experienced worship leaders out there (When I say experienced Im talking to those who have done it longer than I, which is probably most of you) What does your Monday - Friday look like?
Worship leading is my second job so this might not be that relevant. But here it is anyway. We have a staff meeting for a few hours early in the week. Usually a 9:30 breakfast (my day job is time flexible) with myself, the pastor, the youth pastor, and children's ministry leader, and the church administrative assistant. We each take a turn talking about our area, getting feedback from each other, and talking about ideas for improving and extending our ministries. The pastor and I generally meet for lunch once a week to talk about worship planning, what sermon ideas she has coming up. We brainstorm ways we can make those sermons and the worship surrounding them more relevant to our congregation. We talk about new music we've heard that might fit. I spend some time each week looking over the scheduling of my team members. I like to have the schedule posted for at least 4 weeks out. I communicate with my team members mostly by email to make sure I've got their days they can't be there as accurate as I can be. I put together a music plan for the sermon series coming up and email it to the pastor for review and we work out the kinks. I like to write a weekly praise team email each week to keep the team updated on the scheduling, the music plan, other items going on that impact them (Praise Team BBQ,etc), some pep talk and review of last Sunday's worship, and something short to help them explore their faith. I like to make personal contact with at least one team member a week at Starbucks or Tropical Smoothie to talk. Before our Thursday rehearsal I make sure I've got copies of the music pulled and sorted onto their music stands. I create chord and lyric sheets for new songs. I make sure that our password protected praise team web server is up to date with lyrics, chord charts, and mp3 files of the songs we will be singing. I make time to run through the music myself and work things out before rehearsal. I meet our new budding bass player for an hour to help him work out what he will play (he plays two weeks on and two weeks off right now). I run the Thursday night rehearsal which includes some sharing time, prayer, rehearsal, and play time to jam. We run from 7pm to 9pm generally. I review the weekly bulletin, write in the songs, and leave that on the admin assistant's desk after rehearsal so she can edit and print the bulletins on Friday. I like to spend an hour or so in the sanctuary a few nights a week alone with the lights dim except for the cross to visit with God sometime with my guitar, sometimes without, sometimes in prayer, sometimes reading the word, sometimes just talking, sometimes singing. I attend a small group study that meets every other Monday evening to also be a learning member of our general congregation, not just leading. I log onto CCLI and do our copyright reporting for the week. I work with our media tech to make sure he has a good vision of what the Pastor and I want from the worship services so he can create and prepare appropriate backgrounds, video clips, song lyrics and routing, etc. I work with the youth leader and the youth band after church on Sunday for about an hour and a half helping them work on music. I exchange email with our traditional service piano player helping her select hymns for that service. (We have one traditional service, one blended service, and one contemporary service). I spend a lot of time on Facebook and Worship The Rock each week communicating with our church staff, my praise team, our congregation, and other worship leaders around the world. Right now I'm working with the senior sound tech for a large church in the area getting his help tuning our sound system and doing some training for our volunteer sound techs. I'm on the church counsel and I have to prepare for and attend those monthly meetings. I work with the finance committee to make sure my budget items are under control and planning expenditures like our recent vdrums acquisition. I spend time reading Worship Leader Magazine and reading online to try to stay current on worship style and creative ideas. Oh, and I lead worship for all three services every Sunday morning. Whew.... Did I say this was my second job? That's kind of frightening to see it written down like that and I'm sure I'm leaving something out.
I'm kind of there with Pete. Leading is the one of the 3 halves of my life. I work 40-50 hrs a week at my job. We have Sunday AM, PM and Wednesday PM services...and we're starting a twice monthly Saturday PM service for fun. We've got rehearsals on Thursdays (1.5 hours). Then there's Bible studies, baseball, and family that fills up the rest of the time...and I'm a part time student. I don't sleep much.
I'm more of a "let the Spirit lead you" kind of scheduler when it comes to song selections. I start generally praying and thinking about the next Sunday AM after the Sunday PM service. I get general ideas throughout the week and then usually shore up the list by Friday night or so.
I typically do all of my communication through email. Having my wife and our best friends on the team helps some too. A lot of the general worship planning (future directions, etc) can be done in a social setting rather than formally. I have no problem with delegating...most times. We use an electronic sheet music system that I can access remotely, so that helps reduce some time.
So - worship pastor is my title, and it is my only vocation - that being said, I think it goes without saying that there are a ton of other things that we do during the week other than the worship portion.
But on the worship side of things here are a few of the things that I do on a weekly basis.
Monday - Go over the weekend services, and make decisions. Basically look at what works, what doesn't work.
Tuesday is prep day for me - we have practice on Tuesday Nights (so there are charts, tracking, etc)
Wednesday - Catch up? Basically all the other hats take up this day, and then we have service on Wednesday nights where our other team leads (of which did an awesome job last night).
Thursday - Line -up development (songs for the next few weeks, uploading them to the site) emails, connection with leaders, communication and support. Also on Thursdays we get ready for the weekend (it's all about the weekend)
My full-time job is Worship Coordinator for the student ministry at our church. We have 5 weekly services that I oversee and lead worship at just one of them (usually!). Here's my weekly schedule:
9:30 - Meet with youth staff - evaluate last week, look at this week's services, discuss upcoming events, special services, etc.
11:00 - organize for the week - I usually double-check and finalize all my scheduling for the to make sure that all positions are covered. I also make sure that all charts, mp3's, loops, etc are uploaded and in the correct key.
Tuesday: work from home - I have a 2-year-old and my wife works part-time on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays as a hair dresser so I usually get stuff done during nap time like charting new songs, planning upcoming worship sets, etc.
Wednesday/Thursday - we have middle school program on one night and high school on the other but the schedule is almost identical
9:30: prepare for evening service - set stage, gather chord charts, prepare for worship leader meeting
1:00: lunch at home with my wife and daughter
3:00: return to church for final preparations
4:00: Worship Leader Meeting - we have high school students lead our bands so I meet with them each week before rehearsal for musical, technical and spiritual development.
4:00-6:00 - band rehearsal - 2 high school students lead this band and it is comprised of a rotation of high school musicians
6:00-6:15 - prayer with entire band/talk through final details
6:30-8:15 - SHIFT (middle school) or ALTAER (high school) - about 20 minutes of music - 3-4 songs - a little shorter for middle school/a little longer for high school, also includes games, small groups and a talk.
8:15-8:30 - power everything down, clean up stage, go home
THURSDAYS only: 8:30-9:30: dinner with high school students
9:30: go home
Friday: work from home - keeping my 2-year-old daughter. During nap time, I finish up any last minute details for Sundays services.
Saturday: I try not to do ANYTHING church-related on Saturday. It doesn't always work out perfectly but I try to maintain this boundary. I keep my daughter on this day and I really just spend time with her and my wife on Saturdays.
7:30 - arrive and church and setup for rehearsal
8:00-9:00 - band rehearsal
9:00 - prayer/breakfast/final details with worship/tech team
9:30 - the wire (middle school Sunday morning service)
10:30 - meet with band to discuss any changes or improvement for 2nd service
11:00 - SLAM (high school Sunday morning service)
12:00 - power everything down, set stage for Sunday evening service
12:30-2:00 - d-group with high school guys - go grab lunch together and spend time in Bible study & prayer
2:00 - prepare for rehearsal
3:00-5:00 - Epicenter rehearsal (young adult service) - This is the one service that my wife and I lead worship for weekly. It is the only service where we use adult musicians - everything else in the student ministry is student-led.
5:00-5:30 - prayer with entire band/talk through final details
5:30-7:00 - Epicenter service - 30-45 minutes of music, 45 minutes teaching, small groups at the end
7:00-8:00 go out for dinner with Epicenter small group
8:30 - arrive at home and relax!
As you can see, I have a pretty crazy schedule. Here are a few things I've implemented to keep it under control:
I try to stay 1 month ahead on band scheduling and 1-2 weeks ahead on set lists. The more time I can build in to prepare, the easier it is deal with any difficulties.
Having one day to do absolutely nothing church-related is essential!
Hope this helps!
Thanks for the inputs, its really good to hear how others are preparing not only for Sunday but for future events. Like I said, I'm just starting to get a feel for how my week is going to go. I'm sure you are all this way, but Im the type who does not like to waste time. In fact I want to figure out a system that works for me that allows me make the absolute most of my time.
Right now Im taking my Mondays to get everything I need to get done for the upcoming Sunday Service. Monday:
- Making a set list, which can take the most time in some instances
- Printing out or copying chord charts
- Making CD's for the band/singers of the songs
- Put together all the worship media slides
- Announcement media slides
- Put all music in musician folders
*This will take all day for me, sometimes I wont finish all of this Tuesdays:
- Finish Monday's work, if any
- Prepare Set List & Music for Upcoming Wednesday night service
- Meet with Pastor about upcoming Sunday service and future events. Wednesday
- Make sure stage and mulit-media and music is ready for Wed night service
- Work on event planning (Easter, Christmas, upcoming outreaches, Special Services etc..)
- Make any contacts needed via e mail, phone, etc
- Plan set lists for next 2 weeks. Thursday:
- Make set list for Sunday night church.
- Make sure everything is ready for Thursday night Rehearsal
- Make sure everything is set for Sunday morning service
- Finish any last minute work
Friday & Saturday OFF
* This is not exactly how it goes because Im still in the process of setting the foundation of the music ministry which is taking some time. But this is my goal, and how I think I'd like my weeks to go. Im open to Any other suggestions if you think I could change something or add to it to make it better. Thanks again to those who took the time to explain their week planning.
I am certain there are several consumer services that do re same thing however have u ever tried the planning center online? I absolutely love it. It has saved us so much time and money on resources. Our team has grown from 3 people to about 70 over the past year and making CDs all the time or printing out the same charts simply adds up. With an online tool (whichever one you would choose) you have scheduling capabilities, service flow, song center where your singers and musicians can listen online or download music. They can see in the schedule weeks ahead for new songs. Just an overal blessing to be honest.
+1 for planningcenteronline.com - if you don't like wasting time, planning center is incredible for helping with those tasks you do every week - worship set planning, distributing music to musicians, etc. It is great for helping with long range planning as well!
Monday - My wife has the day off so we take care of the house and yard, spend time with each other and our two kids and other errand stuff. I teach guitar lessons from 5pm-8pm.
Tuesday - I substitute teach in the local schools then more guitar lessons from 5pm-8pm.
Wednesday - More subbing, then worship team practice from 5pm-6:30pm
Thursday - no baby sitter so I stay home with the kids while my wife is at work.
Friday - More subbing, then small group at 7pm
Saturday - I work as a raft guide on a local whitewater river, pretty much all day.
I also have a design business (Next Mountain). As the summer progresses I will sub less and guide more. I'm not sure when I plan the worship sets. Usually I use a spinning dart board with songs on it. Seems to work pretty well. ;)