Worship Media Arts

Tech Rehearsal: Why it Should be a Non-negotiable


Twenty to twenty-five minutes – that’s how long it can take to regain the attention of someone who has disconnected after a distracting moment occurs in worship. According to numerous studies, the average disruption takes about 20 minutes to recover from. Whether in the workplace, at a live performance, while watching a movie or TV show or while in the live worship setting, distractions create disengagement.

As a culture, we have a sort of collective Attention Deficit Disorder. It doesn’t take much to get us off track. An awkward transition between elements in worship, a muted or feeding back microphone, a misspoken line, a poorly timed graphic, a miscued video or worse, can all break the awareness of the presence of the Spirit in worship.

Recovering is tough, and in some instances can be impossible. Distractions mean missed opportunities for engagement in worship. Since worship ultimately leads to personal faith development and a desire to engage in mission, missed opportunities have a huge consequence.

When it comes to worship, our job is largely to get out of the way and to remove distractions. When we do that, people can experience God in an unobstructed way. We have to be intentional about how we go about that task though. It doesn’t happen automatically.

If we’re really honest about it, weekly worship is a production. Some readers will bristle at that idea, but in many ways worship has always been a production. Fusing the elements of preaching, music, liturgy, scripture, media, drama, and more together in the same hour requires preplanning, pre–thought and attention to order.

The act of ordering the elements; deciding what happens when, how to get from one thing to the next, who is saying what etc, is what in the theater or on a movie set would be referred to as “producing”. An “Order of Worship” is basically a production plan.

Most churches work on an Order of Worship ahead of time. In other words, they know at some level what is happening when and in what order, but there is another step that is often missed. Of course since you read the title of this post, you know I’m referring to a tech rehearsal.

Tech rehearsal can all but eradicate those awkward transitions and distracting moments, leaving worshipers with a more powerful and transformational experience.

This summer I’ve been doing a lot of traveling as a teacher, producer and consultant. As I’ve experienced worship in large and small venues, I’m realizing again just how important tech rehearsal is. Regardless of size (attendance, sanctuary size, etc.) tech rehearsal is a must.

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