Short version: Mostly my question is, without hearing a song played in a nice recorded format or even hearing a band play a song beforehand, what kind of strum patterns is an acoustic guitar player expected to perform at church??? Long version: So I started playing acoustic guitar for my church yesterday but I wasn't really expecting to. I had talked to the song leaders about playing with them on last sunday, so they said bring my guitar. They had not been using normal guitars at church, only a bass, so then one day they bring in both an acoustic and electric along with the bass so I was trying to be a part of it due to not really being able to help in any other way. Well, I brought it, and I just expected to practice with them and get used to their style. However, apparently, they don't really practice. One of the guys is a good piano player so he just grabs 4 random new songs, they run through maybe half of it before church just so the singers kind of know what it sounds like. They don't even play the full song or with a full band, one of the song leader just plays the basic chords on his guitar then the choir sings along. So then they just hand me the printouts with the chords on the sheets and tell me to head on up. This is a little different than I'm used to, mainly because I don't truly know how the song is supposed to sound, so I have no idea what the strum pattern should be, and I'm not real sure what the other guys are going to do. The song leader that leads the practicing gets up there and plays his electric totally different than his acoustic during the run-throughs. Then there is this bass player that plays by ear and is just all over the fretboard. Sometimes this other guy is playing his harmonica or his mandolin. There is a good drummer too. So I get up there yesterday, only hearing half of 2 of 4 songs, and having no idea what they're really supposed to sound like. One of them was a simple oom-pah sounding G-C-D pattern, so I start in on a bluegrass style pick-strum. Another one was F-C-Dm-B, which is the same pattern as Torn by Natalie Imbruglia and a Jack Johnson song, so I had to fight off the urge to play it with those patterns. One was a pretty good jam so I just made up something that I thought sounded pretty good by matching what everybody else was doing. The other one was awkward sounding so I just straight up played quarter notes. That whole song sounded bad in my opinion. Compounding this issue is that obviously I’m having to listen first, then either change my pattern, or not play anything for a short time while listening. I’d like to be ready to go from the first beat, but I’m not sure how to do that without practicing first. Another issue was that the chord sheets they have isn't the full version, so it would say things like "D2 (not 3)", which is obviously a reference to an alternate fingering in some tabs, but without these tabs, or a head's up to view them, I'm not sure what you can do on the fly other than just play some kind of D chord. I did this, but I could tell that it wasn't quite right. At least I wasn't amped up so I don't think anybody else could hear me, but obviously I'd like to figure these things out before I am on December 30th. So, as you can see, I'm not real familiar with the play-on-the-fly cold turkey type of jamming so I'd like some pointers in order to boost my confidence. I cam jam on the same level as these guys just fine... as long as I can practice. I wouldn't have asked to play along if I wasn't on that level. I mean, look up "love song for no one" by John Mayer on youtube.com, I can hang with that pretty good, and most of those chords aren't even standard. There is no way that I'm going to run into a church song that is on that level for an acoustic. So I'm not concerned about my actual playing skills, just the ability to pull something out of my hat, on the fly, at the last minute, and blend in with everybody else. Any tips would be appreciated.