Reflections on “The Rehearsal”

There is much to reflect on after our experiences at the worship weekend in Atlanta sponsored by NOBTS and Celebration Church, NO.

I’m sure you didn’t miss the depth of research that went into Dr. Sharp’s and Steele’s presentations. Their presentations serve as reminders of the importance of the reading you are doing. You can’t work in overflow if you haven’t spent a good deal of time in books. Was there some reference that Dr. Sharp or Dr. Steele made regarding their study of biblical text or other sources that totally blew you away. If yes share. Something interesting you picked up in an instrument class is fair game as well.

22 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Craig Kurimay on October 5, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I thought the worship weekend experience was very beneficial. John Frady’s “The Role of the Leader” identified key areas that worship leaders need to give time and attention to as they seek to lead the people they serve. Dr. Steele’s passionate presentation of the material “Lord, Help Me Worship You!” was both enlightening and encouraging. There were a number of statements made during this session, but one that stands out is; “If there is no obedience, then there is no worship.” Worship is a response and we worshsip God when we demonstrate obedience to His revelation. The drum session was very educational in learning how to better understand the non-verbal interactions that take place among the rhythm section. Finally, it was helpful to watch Celebration’s band rehearse and to observe their interaction as they worked through various issues from setting monitors and vocals correctly to working through the lead-in to a song.


    • Craig or anyone, what aspects of band rehearsal were helpful?


      • Posted by Benjamin DeCou on October 8, 2010 at 3:52 am

        I enjoyed the band rehearsal and the comments mentioned as far as holding a worship rehearsal. As a conductor I look for techniques to better myself with leading a rehearsal. The non-verbal approach to leading is very beneficial in leading a choir. I saw it in ways as very beneficial also in the band rehearsal (e.g. quick comments for sound, non-verbal demonstrations, allowance of other members to explain something without the leader having to talk). The less you can speak in a rehearsal of any sort, the better. Time is precious when you typically only have an hour or so a week to prepare. Less is more when dealing with talking during a rehearsal.

    • Posted by Benjamin DeCou on October 8, 2010 at 3:42 am

      Everyone spoke so well. It was very nice to hear Dr. Steele after reading his blogs for a class I have with him. In concerning his take on worship as obedience, isn’t it great to learn about our God who honors our obedience in worship? It’s obedience and it’s total sacrifice (Romans 12:1). And, the more we give of ourselves, the more we are blessed.


    • Posted by J. Robinett on October 12, 2010 at 1:32 am

      I really love the quote, “If there is no obedience, then there is no worship.” This quote should be printed out and posted on worship leaders’ refrigerators, mirrors, desks, etc. I did not attend Dr. Steele’s (I attended Dr. Sharp’s) breakout session, but obviously he was to the point about becoming a serious worshiper. When we worship we are obviously being obedient to him. Dr. Sharp’s breakout had many young worshipers in attendance, so if Dr. Steele’s group had younger worshipers as well, then his message was an important one for them to hear. The Celebration worship team rehearsal was also very beneficial to watch. As we could tell, not everything ran smoothly, but that is what practice is all about. Worship team practice is a time to work out all of the “bugs” and make sure elements run as smoothly as possible.


    • Posted by Brooke Newsom on October 13, 2010 at 8:44 pm

      Craig, the quote about “if there is no obedience, there is no worship” is one that really stuck out to me too. I have found myself praying since then that God would help me to be obedient and pure before him in my worship. How can we expect to lead others in a “response of obedience to God” if we are not obedient ourselves??? It was an amazing session and truly impacted me!!


  2. Posted by Robert Boaz on October 5, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    I was really suprised when I walked into the “LEAD SHEET” section and found they were talking about a sample I had sent in. Iwas just trying to find out how I would fit into the classes without me being able to read music! if anybody wants a sample of the templets I use please contact me at and I will Send them to you!

    I am looking forward to anymore such sessions as this past weekend! There was something for everybody! I wish that I could hav attended some of the other classes! It would have taken another day for me to have attend all that I would have like to have attended! Everything was very well presented and was total open for questions! Thank you all for a thoughly enjoyable and enlighting seminar!

    Robert EARL Boaz


    • Posted by Ed Manning on October 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm

      Robert (or do you go by EARL?), I completely agree. I would have really loved going to all the sessions, but the ones I did attend I found very useful. Ronald Laitano’s vocal lab was engaging and informative. Along with instructing us on the importance of proper breathing, he also discussed the difference between range and testiura, key principles for mic use, some differences between a choir and a praise team, among other things.

      He also encouraged us to have a real big picture of the awesome God we sing to, about, for. This is so important, because our understanding of God is what breaths life into our worship. It is what we respond to. Robert also said that freedom is gained through rehearsal not performing. In his introduction of The Rehearsal, Dr. Woodward alluded to this same idea, “To produce excellence you have to be in the rehearsal room.” How true is this, not only musically but spiritually. During the “Master Class” Celebration rehearsal lab, the female vocalist affirmed this by saying that it all comes down to a daily walk with the Lord. I believe it was her that said, “Worship has got to come out of the overflow of the heart.” So, the idea of rehearsal can really be taken far beyond the practice room.


    • Posted by Cliff Lewis on October 13, 2010 at 1:25 am

      Earl, It was amazing to see the effort that you put into your music notation. I was inspired by your degree of commitment and passion to get it right, no matter what it takes. I’m sure that the worship team that you play with is all the better for having someone that takes worship leading as seriously as you do.


  3. Posted by Daniel Corbitt on October 7, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Yes, Craig! I liked what you were talking about in regards to the quote by Dr. Steele that you cannot have true worship without obedience. The book of Malachi is an example of this as well as the passage where the Lord says to take away the noise of the songs and that He despises the New Moon festivals. The lips may be close but the hearts are far. “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22.


  4. Posted by Benjamin DeCou on October 8, 2010 at 3:36 am

    The Rehearsal was a great experience for me as a worship leader that is fairly new in the ministry and as a student in the planning and leading worship class. I thorough enjoyed going to the lead guitar class and the bass and drums class. They both were beneficial to me and they both followed the same principle–each instrument is to complement the other, not imitate. The lead guitarist is not to play the exact chord as the rhythm guitarist in the even the same rhythm. The bass should not play exactly reoccuring rhythm as the drums, even though they should certainly be in sync with each other. In both cases, the music may become too pulsive and eve monotonous. I attended Dr. Steele’s “Lord, Help Me Worship You!” His outline is one to cherish as a worship leader, or even just as a worshipper. What stood out to me from his class was that we will not be able to worship until we free ourselves of all distractions as pertaining to resolving ourselves of unconfessed sins in our lives. How true it is for us to be distracted by these sins before worship. He mentioned that a church-wide revival would sweep through the nation if we would actually humble ourselves, and confess our sins against each other and forgave each other. I believe it. God bless.


    • Posted by Ed Manning on October 9, 2010 at 5:52 pm

      Benjamin, thanks for sharing. I attended Dr. Sharp’s “Creating a Devotional Plan,” which was very good, but from all that I hear about Dr. Steele’s presentation, I wish I could have gone to both. Ah well, only so much time. But, what you said about everybody not doing the same thing is definitely a principle that was emphasized last weekend. Greg from Celebration (I think that was the leader’s name) said, “Notice that each part plays something different.” He said that when a team all plays the same thing, or sings the same melody for that matter, everyone doing the same “muddies it up.” Each member then is to strive for compliment not prominence. The only way to really do this, we learned, is to listen to each other. Dr. Woodward has talked a lot about this. I really got a lot out of these simple thoughts on effective team unity and leadership.


  5. Posted by Brooke Newsom on October 8, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    There were many things about the “worship weekend” that were beneficial to me. My first session was the songwriting session – with Dwight Fitch. I learned so much about where I have to be in order to hear from God. The key is to make yourself available to hear from God at any time. When we stay close to Him in our relationship, we are going to hear from him much more often. And if we make ourselves willing and available, he will give us the words and the truths we need to write. Dwight also gave some other great practical tips to help a beginning song writer get started. I also took the keyboarding session (with Dwight – I am not a keyboard player – at all, but would like to be) and I was blown away by some practical beginning steps that will help me to improve my skills. Basically, If I could just follow Dwight around, I could learn everything I need to know! 🙂
    I also took both Dr. Steele and Dr. Sharp’s sessions in the afternoon. Dr. Steele really spoke truth to us about the fact that worship is just an act of obedience to God and that we cannot truly worship without obedience. Everything else we do is just – well basically junk. I was so moved by the presentation by Dr. Steele and have been reflecting on my heart and my approach to worship since then! Thanks Dr. Steele!!! And Dr. Sharp really challenged me to begin to start my own bible studies with God’s guidance. He gives an amazing plan for ways to chart a course of study. No excuses anymore like… “I just don’t know what to do next!”
    It was a great weekend and I learned so much and am so grateful for the opportunity!!!


    • Posted by J. Robinett on October 12, 2010 at 3:03 am

      I wish I had gotten the chance to hear Dwight talk about songwriting. He is so musically gifted, it would have been a treat to hear his thoughts on songwriting. I agree with what Dwight told you all about being close with God to write songs. Some songs that I have written came during my private devotional times. I would read some scripture, and just start playing melodies on my guitar until the words started to come along. So, Dwight’s advice about being willing and available are so true because if we make ourselves available to God, He truly will let the words just flow out of our mouths. I think if we all followed Dwight around, we would all become better musicians! I would love to get a transcript of Dr. Steele’s breakout session. It sounds like he really brought some honest, blunt, truth that all worship leaders need to hear. That’s also why I really like and admire Dr. Steele. He does not hold back from telling us all how it really is. He gets to the point and is honest about worship and us as worshipers being obedient to God.


      • Posted by Craig Kurimay on October 12, 2010 at 1:07 pm

        Dr. Steele’s breakout session was just that, J, blunt, honest and to the point. I guess I could also describe it as a sesssion where “the water hits the wheel.” It was very practical, applicable and relevant. Not much pie in the sky theoretical ideas, rather down to earth, in the trenches, get with the program thoughts and ideas. I wish i had audiotaped/videotaped the session. I have been to many conferences over the years and his session ranks as one of the top sessions I have ever attended. Dr. Steeles passion and sincerity was impactful. I took some notes on the hand out that I can clean-up for you if you would like.

      • Posted by Brooke Newsom on October 13, 2010 at 8:47 pm

        I think the main thing about Dr. Steele’s session that was evident was that what he was sharing was an apparent overflow of God in him. The truths he shared were what he has come to realize as a worshiper and things he has experienced himself. I have some notes too if you want me to share.

  6. Posted by Chris Burton on October 8, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    I attended a similar type of conference as a teenager and it was an invaluable experience for myself and the guys that I played with. I believe that this is a very good and important thing to offer this kind of conference to surrounding churches. Not only do visitors get a chance to learn how to be better musicians, but they also get a healthy helping of basic theology (which is severely lacking in churches today).

    I attended the Drum and Bass sessions. They were very informative for me because we not only talked about playing but we listened to recordings and talked in detail about what was going on and how we can accomplish that. We also talked about all kinds of common pit-falls that young musicians (or even experienced but over-zealous musicians!) may encounter (like playing way too much, or playing syncopated rhythms) and how to encourage them down better musical roads.


    • Posted by Brooke Newsom on October 13, 2010 at 8:48 pm

      I agree with you, Chris. I think this is an awesome thing for young musicians and churches in the area. I have never been to anything like this. It had a great impact on me and I can definitely see the benefit of doing this on a regular basis.


  7. Posted by J. Robinett on October 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    As a worship leader, I found The Rehearsal helpful. The two sessions that I found most helpful were Greg Finch’s drum breakout session and Dr. Michael Sharp’s session about the devotional life of a worship leader. Greg Finch did a great job explaining different ways to easily communicate with a drummer if someone may not know a lot about drums. One question many seemed to ask was how to keep a drummer on the correct beat. Greg’s answer to the question was for worship leaders to think about buying or allowing a drummer to borrow a metronome. A metronome will give a drummer the correct beat that he or she needs to follow, and it will also not allow them to speed up or slow down the tempo. Some drummers do have a problem playing slower or faster. Greg told us in the session that something easy to help drummers is to tell them to either lean forward to help play faster or lay back a little to play slower. Greg Finch did a great job explaining his tips. His tips were easy to understand and worship leaders that may not know much about drums can now relate to drummers easier.
    Dr. Sharp had an outstanding presentation concerning the devotional life of a worship leader. Sometimes worship leaders get so involved in planning worship sets, working with bands or choirs, or administrative work that they tend to mistreat their own devotional times. Dr. Sharp told us that we needed to be prepared musically and spiritually. He said it’s like a good workout; you must work out all the muscles to be in good shape. Worship leaders need to have a personal spiritual growth plan. A spiritual growth plan can help a worship leader dive into the Bible and really understand the meaning of the scriptures. A worship leader can choose a scripture and decided how long they want to dwell on the passage. Basically, you need to find a focus. Find different parts in the scripture to study. Then, you need to figure out a way to connect each of the parts to certain tools. The tools Dr. Sharp mentioned were praying, serving, witnessing, and resting. A successful personal spiritual growth plan finds a way to connect those tools to the main focus that you pick out. I loved how Dr. Sharp gave such a great template for all worship leaders to use in their spiritual formation. The personal spiritual growth plan is intensive and can help anyone strengthen his or her relationship with God.


    • Posted by Craig Kurimay on October 12, 2010 at 1:15 pm

      J., I also attended the drum session and felt Greg Finch did a great job explaining different ways to easily communicate with a drummer. I have just left a ministry where the drummer was absolutely fantastic. In fact, I had planned a jam session with the drummer just so I could videotape the different drumming techniques he uses so he could describe them to me. I planned on studying this videotape so that I could better communicate with him in the future if I wanted hiim to play a particular pattern. Unfortunately, I had to leave the church before we could get together. However, when I watched DVD’s of a church I am in process of going to serve, I noticed the drummer did not keep a steady tempo. Greg’s answer about buying or allowing a drummer to borrow a metronome to give a drummer the correct beat that he or she needs to follow was a good idea. I too liked Gregs suggestion to tell drummer to either lean forward to help play faster or lay back a little to play slower.


  8. Posted by Steven McMorris on October 12, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I thought The Rehearsal conference was helpful and had a few good elements. First, John Frady’s session on The Role of the Worship Leader was very well done. He and Dr. Sharp did a good job of taking a wholistic approach to worship leading and helping us see the “bigger picture”. I was impressed with John Frady in this session as well as in the general session he lead at Celebration. He did a good job of pointing out some small things that make a big difference. Even the simple things like encouraging worship leaders to clean up their mouths and not use words that have become acceptable even in church. I appreciated his challenge to holiness. Dr. Steele’s session was very well done. He had some great things to say and was very passionate in his delivery. It was refreshing to sit under a man and just sense his devotion and love for God. Oh… and the Koz’s sandwiches were great too!


  9. Posted by Cliff Lewis on October 13, 2010 at 1:18 am

    I enjoyed “The Rehearsal” as well, and really wished I had brought a few members of my worship team to Friday’s sessions. The lead sheet session by Dr. Ferrington was great. I’ve been creating my own chord sheets for more than 10 years, and I know there are times when my vocalists and pianists want more written music. I feel confident in my music reading skills, but have not found a program that makes it easy to write. I will most definitely buy some version of Finale after seeing how easy it is to create lead sheets. The other session that I was greatly impacted by was Dr. Steele’s “Lord, Help Me Worship You.” I have not yet had the privilege of taking one of his classes at seminary, but his obvious passion for the heart of the worship leader was personally convicting and encouraging. I also want to say a word of thanks to my classmates in the Friday “Planning and Leading Worship” workshop. Several of the individual presentations that were made were practically very helpful. I used some of Ed’s research on the requirements of a worship team to edit a worship covenant that I gave out this past Sunday.


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