Summertime is here!
Many of us are preparing family trips, having cookouts, chasing down the ice cream trucks, and getting our tan on.
Did I miss anything?
Oh ya, our churches are about to be ghost towns!
Okay, I admit that “ghost towns” may be a little extreme…but there is some truth to it.
With so much going on during the summertime, it’s no surprise that church attendance is a little on the lighter side. During this time of year, most churches experience a 20-25% drop in their weekly attendance. This attendance drop is felt everywhere in every ministry that has volunteers. This is especially true in the worship ministry.
With people going out of town and being more active with their families, you may run into some unique challenges. Some of these challenges include:
- Not having a drummer for a couple weeks.
- Having nobody to run the lyrics on the screen.
- No sound man for practices.
- No female vocalists for the end of July.
No matter the size of your team, scheduling people and songs can quickly become a nightmare for these next couple months!
So how do I lead worship in the summertime?
Plan ahead BIG time-
Ask your people to give you their availability for the next 3 months. Many people will be able to do this because they have already taken those days off of work or know when they will have family vacations. This will enable you to know the weeks when you will be without key instruments, singers, and AV people. Knowing in advance that you will have no electric guitarist for the last week of July or no drummer for the first week of August will give you time to adapt your sets or bring in people from the outside to fill in.
Don’t be afraid to go solo [frequently]-
If your worship team is smaller, you may find yourself all alone for more than just one week during the summer. It’s okay. This is a great opportunity for you to spend some extra time storytelling in between songs and calling people to respond. If you’re afraid of lacking fullness in the mix, use a pads app like Autopad to help fill in the spaces. Don’t be afraid to crank the bass on your guitar or keys to what I call “INSANE PERCUSSIVE LEVEL”. Cranking your bass like this can really help you keep high energy despite being all alone.
Use your lack of instrumentalists/vocalists to your advantage. Try having no percussion one week. Another week have one of your instrumentalist’s dust off their mandolin or ukulele for a couple special songs. Start getting comfortable with playing your guitar in some alternate tunings. Playing in alternate tunings like DADGAD (my favorite) or open G can really bring a unique element to your worship.
Here’s a great video of Phil Wickham using no percussion while playing in an alternate tuning…
Play familiar Songs-
Summertime is not the best time to try to introduce many new songs. For starters, you may have limited or no rehearsals before a service. For your team’s sake, keeping it familiar is a huge burden lifted off of them. From a congregational perspective, playing familiar songs can help increase their participation in singing. The louder they sing, the less empty your room feels on those lighter attendance days.
Pro Tip: Summertime is perfect for pulling out some of the nostalgic camp sing-alongs. Just try to keep you “cheesines” level to a minimum (or not) 😂
Involve the students-
If you’re not already involving your students in “big church”, the summer break is the perfect time for it. With no school to go to, your students may be looking for something to get involved in. Seek out the singers. Find those musicians. Identify the computer whizzes who would be perfect in the AV booth. Maybe have one of them do a welcome or read a scripture during the service. Doing this will get your students pumped to serve and also bring forth more parent involvement. Maybe even have a “students day” in which your students run many of the aspects of the service. I’ve seen this done very successfully at both small and large churches.
Strive for simplicity-
Simplicity can save your sanity if you are down a few volunteers. By not stressing about having a full band or introducing new songs for a couple months, you can really enjoy the summer pace. Just remember, there is a difference between simplicity and laziness. Don’t be lazy 😜.
One last thing…
Enjoy your summer!