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WORSHIP + PRODUCTION MINISTRY GUIDELINES

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Audition process

Depending upon the desired position, the worship and production directors will want to determine your best fit in the following ways:


Vocalist –


There are three categories of vocalist. A choir vocalist is someone interested in being a part of the choir, which is assembled only on occasion. An audition is not required for a choir vocalist. A group vocalist is someone who is part of the rotation of vocalists that sing from the front of the stage, providing unison and harmony parts in support of the lead vocalist. This lead vocalist is someone who is capable of taking the lead part of a song. This individual is capable of leading through strong vocals and an ability to direct the congregation.


Anyone auditioning for a group vocalist or lead vocalist position will be asked to perform the following:

  • The main melody part of a song of the individual’s choice (accompaniment can be provided if necessary).
  • A harmony part of a song chosen by – and performed alongside – the worship director.



Instrumentalist –


Anyone auditioning for an instrumental position will be asked to show the following:

  • Ability to perform a song of the individual’s choice (other instrumental or pre-recorded accompaniment can be provided if necessary).
  • Ability to play a lesser-known song chosen by – and performed alongside – the worship director by reading off of a chart.
  • Ability to play with click and backing tracks.
  • Ability to come up with unique parts (other than what has been played on a recording) based on the direction and suggestion of the worship director.



All Other On-Stage Positions –


Anyone auditioning for any other position that may creatively contribute to the stage will simply be asked to demonstrate both why and how their abilities would enhance the worship experience.


***Note – Auditions for all on-stage positions may be recorded in some format for future reference.



Sound Engineers –


Anyone seeking to join the production team as a sound engineer will be invited to a Thursday evening rehearsal and asked by the production director to demonstrate proficiency in the following:

  • Balancing instrument and vocal levels into an overall mix.
  • Identifying parts that are not blending with the mix.
  • Knowledge of EQ and effects, and how they can be used to enhance the sound.



All Other Production Positions –


Anyone interested in serving in any other production role will be asked to simply demonstrate an ability to follow direction, learn new skills, and pay attention to details. Previous knowledge in areas such as ProPresenter, stage lighting, and video is helpful but by no means required.



Personal Interview:

The audition or tryout will not be exclusively performance-based. The individual will also participate in a personal interview that may include any or all of the worship director, production director, and other current team members. This serves the purpose of determining whether or not the individual would be a good fit for the team on an interpersonal level. The interview also gives the leadership a chance to ask any questions that are not a part of the application.


Within a few days of the audition or tryout, all individuals will receive a follow-up email from the worship or production directors as to the results of the audition. If the result of the entire application and audition process is that the individual is determined to be a good addition to Cornerstone’s worship ministry, an invitation will be extended to join the team.

guidelines

Agreement:


These guidelines have been put in place to promote unity within our team by getting everyone on the same page. This is done in an effort to ensure the health of the worship ministry at Cornerstone.

If a team member displays a pattern of disunity, or shows continual disregard for these worship ministry guidelines, it is at the discretion of the worship and production directors to ask the individual to step down from his or her position, either permanently or for a set time period.


Planning Center:


We use Planning Center for all scheduling, rostering, and organization of charts and other media files. It is essential that you have regular access to Planning Center (website or app). Please respond to schedule invitations as quickly as possible.


If you have any questions about using the website or app, or even just how to get the best use out of it, feel free to ask the worship director, the production director, or others on the team with experience. It is a great resource for our team and we would love to help.


Rehearsals:


Initial rehearsals are held at 6:30pm on Thursdays. Please respect everyone’s time by arriving on time. This includes coming early if you require any kind of instrument or equipment preparation, tuning, etc. We should be generally ready to start at 6:30.


An additional rehearsal and run-through takes place at 7:30am on Sunday mornings. Once again, this means being completely ready to start at 7:30. We have a small window in which to run through the songs.

When considering your availability for a particular Sunday service, make sure to take into account your availability for that Thursday’s practice as well. Practice is mandatory for all team members. In some cases an exception might be made, but it is completely at the discretion of the worship or production directors.


Preparation:


Team members should come to rehearsal already familiar with the songs and, as much as possible, with parts prepared. Rehearsals are an opportunity to put the full arrangement together and make adjustments, not to learn the songs. There are some exceptions to this, of course, as we may try out a brand new arrangement or original song on occasion.


Team Building and Training:


In the case of an additional team building event, please make every effort to participate, as these events are the catalysts for growing and improving our ministry.


Communication:


If a team member is unable to make it for a practice or Sunday morning worship service, they must give the worship or production directors sufficient notice so that any necessary adjustments can be made or substitute can be found.


Systems:


We use an ALLEN AND HEATH ME-1 IN-EAR MONITOR system on stage. If you do not have professional-level earbuds, that is ok, you can get by with regular earbuds as long as they do not have a built-in microphone. It is preferable that you do not use large over-the-ear headphones or muffs. We do have some lower-level earbuds available for anyone who does not have their own. It is recommended that eventually you at least look into getting professional-level earbuds. They make quite a difference in being able to hear all parts clearly.


We play with a CLICK TRACK (metronome) that we can hear in our monitors. It may take some time to adjust to this, but it is worth the effort. Although the click mainly functions to keep us together, we also use it for entrances and transitions, as there is a count-off that leads us into each section. For instrumentalists, using the click and keeping it audible in your mix is mandatory. For vocalists, it is less essential but still highly recommended, as it becomes very easy to drag the tempo without it.


Scheduling:


Some team members will be scheduled more often than others, sometimes out of necessity and sometimes by preference of the worship and production directors. If you feel you are not being scheduled enough, please express that concern, but also please understand that we are seeking the best overall mix of musicians and production team members for each week. So while some positions will operate on more of a pure rotation, some will be weighted more heavily based on ability and the needs of a particular service.


Sound Mix and Music Style:


While creative input is very much encouraged by all team members, please understand that the overall sound mix and arrangement of each song is the result of a great deal of planning and vision cast by the worship and production directors. Do not be offended if you are asked to try playing or singing a different part, or if you are asked to change something that is not working. These suggestions are simply a matter of trying to create the best atmosphere and sound that meets our vision. It is also understandable that different people have different preferences when it comes to musical styles, but we ask that our musicians and production team members be willing to adhere to the overall sound mix and style that is being encouraged by the worship and production directors.


Improving Your Craft:


It is always beneficial – and additionally is a great contribution to our team – to continually develop your skills. While there is no requirement of taking lessons or having formal training, it is desired that each person would be willing to seek improvement in areas that are lacking. The worship and production directors are always available as resources for additional practice and/or training.


Personal Conduct:

In general, be aware that you are a representative of Cornerstone as a part of the worship ministry. We must be above reproach as leaders (2 Corinthians 6:3, 1 Peter 3:16). It is vital that we are conscious of what we say and do both inside and outside of the church building.


Be especially mindful of what you follow, say, post, and like on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). It is possible that unintended messages can be communicated through a picture or comment that has been isolated from its original context.


Team members are expected to be intentional about maintaining a life of moral integrity and good character (Romans 12:1-2). This includes having appropriate boundaries in male-female relationships, avoiding drug and alcohol abuse, refraining from coarse or harsh language, and generally guarding against actions that are not conducive to a life that has been redeemed by Christ.


In all circumstances, we must strive for UNITY within our team. Encourage and care for one another, show respect even when disagreeing. Ephesians 4:2-3 says “Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” A unified voice coming out of the worship ministry (a ministry typically prone to having varying opinions and preferences) will go a long way in promoting overall church unity.


Ultimately, the only way for us to be people who are constantly above reproach and fully unified with one another is to remain personally connected to Christ through prayer and time spent in the Word of God. We must all be purposeful about growing and maturing in personal worship.


Church Involvement:


By being involved in Cornerstone’s worship ministry, we are also communicating that we are involved in the mission and work of the church as a whole. Team members should be willing participants in church activity. Though it is not required, becoming a member of the church is strongly encouraged, as is being a part of a community group.


It is also important to participate in our Sunday morning services in other ways than just being on stage or in the production area. Be present and involved, even on Sundays for which you are not scheduled. Make sure to sit in on the sermon during at least one of the two services.


While there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to level of church involvement, it should be understood that any team member who seems to remain disconnected from the life of the church is not a good fit to serve as a leader in Cornerstone’s worship ministry.


Dress Code:

All team members should be thoughtful to avoid clothing that can be considered inappropriate for a Sunday service at Cornerstone:

  • Nothing containing offensive writing.
  • Nothing low-cut or revealing.
  • Nothing too casual like sweatpants or athletic clothing.
  • Nothing tattered, worn, or dirty.
  • Shorts are ok but should be at least knee-length.
  • Dresses must be no shorter than 3 inches above the knee.


For anyone serving on stage, there are some additional dress code items to consider so as not to become a visible distraction:

  • No large writing on clothes.
  • No flashy jewelry.
  • No ripped jeans.
  • Women – be mindful of the material of your clothing. There are certain materials that become sheer in the bright stage lights.
  • Everyone – be mindful of how your clothes fit when you move around. We want to encourage being active and expressive on stage. Tops or bottoms that might become revealing with movement (raising arms, bending over, etc) should be avoided, or at least covered up.


Stage Presence:


Body language and stage presence are a huge form of communication. When you are on the stage, your presence is as important as your musicianship. It sets the atmosphere for worship just as much as the music does.


Do not let the congregation determine your level of expression. Sometimes they will not be engaged, but as leaders, we have the opportunity to set the tone. We should be examples of how to express oneself in worship. We should be leading the way in teaching our church what it looks like to worship through song. Many times, people simply need to see it happening before they feel comfortable joining in.


Here are some tips when it comes to effectively leading from stage:

  • Know the songs – The more prepared we are when it comes to having music, lyrics, and song structure memorized, the more we can focus on the message we are actually communicating. It is also more visually engaging to have team members who are not covered up by music stands and buried in their charts.
  • Pay attention to posture and expression – We communicate a great deal through body language and facial expression. It is important to be intentional about the messages we are sending in that regard. Our posture and expression should show that we mean what we sing and that we are happy to be leading our church in song.
  • Move around – Even if it is not your natural tendency when singing/playing, action from the stage (raising arms, using the space around you, swaying, etc) goes a long way in connecting the congregation with the music. When there is no movement, the stage looks stagnant and we come off as disinterested.
  • All musicians engaged – Instrumentalists, sing while you play. Move to the music. Vocalists, sing even when off-mic. The more we can do to visibly display our passion for worshipping through music, the more we invite our church to develop that same passion.