Have you been there before?
After leading a powerful worship set, you come to the end of the final song. It’s a quiet moment of worship and the congregation fully engaged and focused on God, when . . .
. . . the “announcements guy” comes out with a big laugh and smile, and sets a completely different tone from the one you just created.
On their own, there’s nothing out of the ordinary about either of these worship service elements. But back to back in your worship service, the light and fun announcement time quickly jerks the congregation out of the moment like going from 1st gear to 3rd gear without pushing in the clutch.
Last week we kicked off this new series on Five Questions every worship leader needs to ask each week to help them develop their Music Plan for Sunday.
Your music plan is more than just your set list… it’s your map for making sure that the Sunday service isn’t just “three songs and a sermon”, but is a powerful, transformative time of actual worship.
Today we’re going to look at the 2nd question for developing your music plan, and this one is all about creating the right “flow” in the service:
How does this worship set connect with the rest of the worship order?
There’s a temptation as a worship leader to focus only on the 20+ minutes of music in the service on Sunday. Not what comes before or after… just the music.
The problem is that if, like the opening scenario above, you’re taking the service one direction and all the other elements of the service are heading another direction, rather than create a service that effortlessly moves the congregation from beginning to end, you can actually take people about of the moment where God is working in their heart.
So – as you create your music set list each week, you must do so with an eye on everything else that’s happening in the worship order and how the set you’re selecting fits into it.
Here are 3 principles to keep in mind when planning your set:
#1 – What’s before the song or set?
If it’s your opening set, and you use a video clip pre-service to set up the topic of the day, you probably want to start with a quick introduction to that days topic, and then make sure your first song fits into that theme as well.
If your final song of the day is after the message, talk with your Pastor to see how he’s planning to end the message. Not every song after the message has to be “reflective”. Sometimes your Pastor will want to end the service with a challenge, so you’ll want a more “motivating” song. Sometimes, he’ll end upbeat, so you’ll want a “let’s stand and celebrate” song. Knowing what comes before your set, will help you keep the mood that’s already being created.
#2 – What’s after the song or set?
Recently at The Journey we ended our opening set with a very quiet moment of worship. And like the story above, our welcome time is very upbeat. So rather than pulling people out of the moment at the end of the set, I worked with one of our pastors to come out at the end of the song, say a few words to connect the song to the topic of the day, and wrap-up with a prayer for what God wanted to show us. A simple idea, but one that allowed us to create a great moment in the service, rather than a great distraction.
#3 – What’s the Big Idea?
Finally, make sure that wherever your set falls in the overall worship order that you’re planning songs that will keep the theme or topic of the day on track. Check out last weeks article to learn more on this.
Remember – It doesn’t matter how great the worship set you have planned, if it doesn’t take into account what’s before it, what’s after it, and what the big idea of the day is, you (and your congregation) will leave the service wondering why all the pieces didn’t quite fit together today.
So — how are you doing at connecting your worship set with the rest of the worship order? This week ask, “What is before and after the set and how can I choose music that fits into the overall flow?”
Your partner in ministry,