One week to leading…SERVICE FLOW

If you are a worship leader…then hopefully you are involved in the planning of church services. Check out the thoughts below…

At Disneyland California Adventure…there is a roller coaster. You step into the seat, lock down the levers and it slowly rolls you out to the start. Zero to sixty in no time and on to the loop…a time to catch your breath and then an awesome decline that pushes the drool to one side of your mouth. It’s a smooth ride that leaves you at the end wanting more…and so glad you stood in line for hours.

In Idaho…there is one of the world’s largest wooden roller coasters. You step in…strap on the cloth seat belts and it slowly…but aggressively pulls you up a huge incline. You can feel the chain grabbing the coaster underneath and you sense it might fall apart before you reach the top. Down a huge decline and you brace yourself for the quick turn. Up and down you go…shaking the entire way until you gladly reach the end. It was fun…but your physical body can only take so much abuse.

When planning a service…you want to focus on creating a service that resembles the Disneyland roller coaster and less like the wild wooden one that you need a massage after. By not thinking through the transitions…hand off’s (transitioning people on stage) and musical beats per minute…you may leave the church attendees feeling a bit beaten up when they leave.

I like to think of service flow outlined on a graph. I made a few examples of a typical church service below. The red line flowing through the service is supposed to represent the run time of a service from beginning to end. Below each graph are some thoughts.

1. This has a typical high energy start with smooth transitions bringing the song speed down to a more reflective mood into communion. Choosing a more medium paced song to play before or during offering can bring the energy back up so that the pastor can start his message more comfortably.

2. Why not start the service with a slow song? Bring the energy back up after the announcements and then slowly curtail it back down into communion. The rest of the service is like the first. I like to use this flow every once in a while to just throw people off and engage them differently. Be careful to go from slow song to crazy happy announcement person though 😉

3. The flow is similar to the first one but the transitions between songs are awkward and the hand off’s are clumsy. The flow is constantly disrupted and you will lose momentum. At the end of the service…you will probably be asking…what just happened? And so will your church.

CHECK IT – Your services may look drastically different than the ones I showed you but the principal is still the same. Create an environment for people to easily connect to God with little distraction. Think through your transitions and think ahead…trying to find areas in the service that might be awkward. When you are throwing out suggestions for the service…quickly jot down the flow on a piece of paper and see if it makes sense. Stay within your churches value system and enjoy the ride.

Peace. Jesse.


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