There are a number of things we as worship leaders/planners can do that harm our times of worship. Today I will outline a few key hindrances:
Talking too much will cause a break in continuity or progression. Too often worship leaders will lead a song, then talk for a lengthy period of time, then lead another song, then talk for a lengthy period…you get the idea. Some verbal transitions are helpful, but less is usually better. Short Scripture passages are best. While it may take more planning and preparation, linking songs in musical and textual ways for seamless flow can be a much better experience.
Blank spots. Build musical bridges between songs. If you stop a song abruptly, the progression will stop and have to start all over again. Planned times of silence can be meaningful, but blank spots to serve the purpose of musicians not being prepared to move on to the next song in the flow of worship is not good.
Teaching new songs. When new songs are first introduced, the people have to take their eyes off the Lord and concentrate on the task of learning the new tune (see a previous post, New Songs: A Worship Enhancer or Worship Killer.) There are ways we can introduce new songs that reduce the negative impact and promote the tremendous positives. Read my previous post on Introducing New Songs to learn how to do this in a way that does not negatively impact our times of worship.
Announcements or introductions of guests interfere with the flow of worship. This is one of my pet peeves. We can have an awesome time of worship leading up to the sermon, then someone steps up and talks about the car wash on Saturday or the senior adult trip to the great restaurant–what a killer. Or you have a guest speaker, and the wonderful flow of worship is interrupted when someone gets up to read the speaker’s pedigree–going on and on about where they were educated, where they have served, the names and ages of their kids, their hobbies, etc. Instead of embedding introductions and announcements within the worship service flow, why not do this at the very beginning of your worship time? You could introduce the guest speaker at the beginning and simply indicate that they will be speaking later in the worship service. Announcements can come at the beginning of the service as well, or they can be placed at the end. At the end can flow well in that many announcements give the congregation additional opportunities for service and commitment.
What are some other things that hinder the flow of worship? I welcome your comments.