I have been a "professional worshiper" now for over half my life. Music, charts, arrangements, and playing instruments are second nature to me. I have been able to walk into a service without much preparation and put something together on the fly and make it sound and look like I have spent hours and days getting ready for it. As I get older (and hopefully wiser) I am realizing that just throwing it together isn't the sign of a leader or musical genius, it's the sign of a lazy person relying on the past and not growing their craft.

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I was recently appart of a service where I thought I would be able to just walk in with little preparation and just pull it off. There were many moving parts and all I had to do was follow the script given to me and everything would be fine. Well, when we got there I realized there was way more going on than I had thought. Sure I had put the song charts together and had glanced over the music to make sure I was at least familiar with the tunes, but what I hadn't done was make sure the charts were correct and that the words that were going to be projected were the same words I was singing 

and I had not taken the time to clearly go over the service and fine tune every detail. In the hour or so we had to set up and run through the service I was a wreck. I had not prepared well, so that ment that Michelle was not prepared either and I was scrambling to make notes and changes so that we wouldn't totally mess the service up.  

When the service started I wasn't sure if we were going to pull it off and if things fell appart it would be all my fault. Thankfully God granted me grace and the service went well. However, I must tell you, I am still painfully aware of how I felt leading up to the start of that service. I certainly don't want to feel that way again. Michelle and I have talked many times about concerts or speakers we have seen and it continues to become clear how much work they put in to make it look so natural and effortless. The best of the best spend hours, days, weeks and even months preparing so when they perform, it will come across as natural and just a part of who they are. 

I am fully aware that as a worship leader I need to leave room for God to change things in the middle of the service and be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. However, I also know that God is a God of order and being prepared and being certain of what you are doing before you dive into a service will allow you to change things on the fly or move things around and still feel confident and secure that what you are doing is from God. I know this means that I will have to spend more time preparing and not just relying on the past to get me through. I can't count on the fact that I have done this forever to get me by anymore.

So, I am not a New Year's Resolution maker, but I am going to make sure from now on that I am fully prepared BEFORE the service. By doing that I will be able to communicate clearly to my team and to the band so we all know the plan and I will not be second guessing myself when it comes time for the service or event I am leading. This type of preparation does not come naturally to me so I am asking for your prayer as I work to make this a part of who I am. 

I would love to hear how you prepare and what helps you when getting ready for a service or presentation. Feel free to post your comments here or on our FB page www.facebook.com/justingravesband Thanks for listening! See you soon!

AuthorJustin Graves