Booking Bands

For the first 16 weeks of Oak Leaf Church, including our two preview services, we’ve been booking bands and bringing in people to lead worship.  I know a lot of people say that a worship leader is one of the most important people to get on staff early in a church plant, but it didn’t shake out that way for us, and we decided to just play to our strengths.  We’ve used about 6 or 7 different bands or individuals so far and it’s been working out for us. 

Here’s some reasons why we decided to go this route:

  1. The obvious reason was that we didn’t have THE person identified, and getting the wrong worship leader is worse than having no worship leader.
  2. It allowed us to have quality music from day one.  People checking out the church can see what kind of music we have right at the start.  Music still defines a lot of a church’s identity.
  3. Good music attracts good musicians.  We’ve been able to identify some players out of our group over the past 16 weeks.  It’s hard for a good guitar player to listen to a bad guitar player.   
  4. It gave us time to identify and begin to develop our own players without having to focus on getting something ready every Sunday.
  5. For the first few days, we brought in bands that had their own sound and lights.  We used their gear, which saved us some up front money. 

Now on to some tips for bringing in bands for your church…

  1. Find people that are definitely in your same mold.  Though we’ve used several different people with some different style, all of them were pretty close in style.
  2. We either brought in bands that played together all the time, or booked worship leaders who brought in their own musicians.  Either way, we had one contact person to work with.
  3. We tried to book people for a two weeks in a row for consistency.  Once we found someone we liked, we tried to get them once a month.  Now we have a pool of 3-4 guys/bands that we would use regularly.
  4. We peppered the lineup with our own guys, to get them some stage time and help them develop.  So our guys might have a month to get ready, practice, learn, etc.
  5. We found these worship leaders by contacting other churches.  Our sponsoring church has a band that leads on Thursday nights.  A local church in our area has a rotating schedule, so their musicians get days off, and I was able to get them for a Sunday.  I found one guy leading a local singles service.  I used Tenth Avenue North three times when they were coming through town. 
  6. There are so many bands and musicians out there.   I’d check with local colleges, check out any singles service or campus ministry, and call other cool churches.
  7. I pay pretty close attention to song selection.  These guys don’t know your church and your people, so I usually ask them for 5 songs, and then cut it down to three for them.  If you don’t like a song or don’t think it will fit, you have to be willing to make the call.  I have probably heard a song or two during sound check that I should have axed.  Most of the guys we work with are cool, so some time on the phone talking through the service works well and results in stuff that fits nicely.  We can’t integrate as much as we would like, but it’s still good.
  8. I have them send me lyrics to the songs as they will do them.  This is important to our computer people because everybody does the songs differently.  Some start with the chorus of "Here is Our King" while others start with the verse.  I send them a template and ask them to send the lyrics formatted the way we want them.   

We didn’t have a lot of money to spend on this…probably $400 – $500 a week, which is not a lot of money if you are a professional or a band.  This system has worked well for us.  We’re still wanting to bring a worship pastor or creative arts director to the team, but we’re able to take our time doing so.

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1 comment so far

  1. Gary on

    GREAT post that every planter should read.


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