Creating Flow

Good worship leaders know how to create the all-important flow between songs and elements in a worship set, but I wanted to give some ideas for improving flow throughout the entire worship service.  Transitioning between elements is something that is often over-looked, but if you sweat the details, you’ll have a better service.  Here’s some ideas.

1.  Acknowledge what just happened.  When a person gets up on stage, he or she should acknowledge what just happened.  If it was a high energy worship song, he could say “man, you guys sound great.”

2.  Direct people.  Dont’ assume that people know to stand up when the music starts.  Don’t just turn down the lights and show a video without warning.  Give people clear directions.  If you want them to stop by the lobby and pick up something, hold it up for everyone to see.

3.  Tell people what is about to happen. If you’re about to receive the offering, say “in just a few minutes, ushers are about to come pass some buckets down the aisles.” If you are transitioning from a welcome to some worship, tell people what they should do.

4.  Control everything in the room.  Whoever is on stage is in charge of the entire room.  From time to time, the person handling the offering will direct the ushers.  “Guys, go ahead and send those buckets down the aisles.”  A good speaker will own the room.

5.  Have personality.  You don’t have to rocket through the information or the element.  If you’re on stage, let your personality come through (and don’t put people on stage that don’t have a personality).  From time to time, I will interact with the worship leader and make jokes.  I’ll ask people how they are doing.  I’ll drop in quick stories about my kids.  These personality moments make your service personal for people, and not just something they watch.

6.  Use the pause.  Great speakers are experts at the pause.  They will say something dramatic and let it sink in for a minute.  Pauses can build anticipation.  I’ve seen people get up after a great time of worship and stand still for 10 seconds…as if they are allowing the room to breathe.

7.  Be prepared.  This is the most important this for us.  It’s why we wrote an official guide to the welcome and an official guide to the giving talk (I’ve posted those before if you want to check them out.)  If you are going to be on stage, you need to plan out what you are going to say, and you need to have an understanding of everything else that is happening in that service. Prepare your transitions just like you prepare the elements themselves.

What else would you add to this list?  Have you ever been in a service with a terrible flow?  What do you do?


2 comments so far

  1. Andrew Conard on

    Michael – Thanks for your guidance and suggestions in this area. Excellent suggestions. I want to make an addition to number 6 that pauses can also kill the flow of a service.. Pauses can be used for good dramatic effect but pauses where it is not clear what is happening or it is obvious that someone is not ready for the next element are not effective. Thanks!


  2. stricknine on

    Great blog, especially number 4 and 5, these ideas work for any church, I am an elder at my church and one area of my responsibility is the large group experience, this will help us to manage the flow of our service. Thanks for the ideas!!!

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