Can red thes yo?

Have you ever read a book and the pages were out of order? What about a web page that didn't load correctly? Ever try to order off of a menu that had the wrong prices with the wrong items? Frustrating, right?

Ok, I may have only ever experienced one of those, but man is it annoying! It's kind of like being in a worship service on a Sunday morning when the words on the screen aren't the same as what the Worship Leader is singing.

As Worship Leaders our job is to minimize distractions so that the focus is on God, and when the words are out of order, misspelled, or not even there at all, it can be distracting.

 Over the last 14 years we have found a niche as the “fill in” worship leader which gives us the opportunity to be in a different church almost every Sunday. We have had the opportunity to visit churches, big and small, and getting the words correct seems to be an issue with many of the churches we have been to. Since we are with different ministry teams and tech people each week we try to make it as easy as possible for whoever is running the words for us.

Here are a few tips we have discovered that can help everybody stay on the same page:

  1. PLAN!
    Decide how you are going to sing the song (verse – chorus – verse – chorus – bridge –chorus – etc.) BEFORE you sing it on Sunday morning. This doesn't mean you can't leave room for the Spirit to move, but if you have a plan going into the service it will help! That way the you, the band, media team and anyone else involved in the music part of the service are always on the same page.

  2. INPUT!
    Put the words in the computer in the EXACT order you plan to sing it. It doesn't matter what program you use (ProPresenter, EasyWorship, MediaShout or PowerPoint) you have the option to put the song in the order you will sing it. This makes it easier on the tech person running the computer so all they have to do is push the space bar! If you do the bridge 3x or repeat the chorus twice at the end, put it in the computer that way! (Again, this doesn't mean you can't let the Spirit lead, we will cover that in a bit!) Also, don't forget to check the spelling as well! 

    1. VERIFY!
      Check the words in the computer BEFORE the service. We all know that just because we save something on the computer doesn't mean that it stays that way! Also, as the worship leader, sometimes you may not be the one who inputs the songs into the computer. I know many churches who have a media team that takes care of that, so it is important to communicate with the media team the flow of each song and even more important to check the words in the computer on Sunday morning before the service starts.

      1. DEFINE!
        Make sure person running the computer for the service KNOWS what their ROLL is! Just because they are in the back behind a desk does not mean they are not a part of the worship team. They may not be on stage, but everyone knows when they mess up. However, MOST of the time is it not their fault! If the words are not in the computer in the order that you are going to sing them, and the media person is having to guess what comes next, of course they are going to mess up! We as Worship Leaders need to make sure we give the team every opportunity to succeed. It is also important to make sure they know that they are an integral part of the worship experience.

        1. TIMING!
          Make sure slides are switching ON TIME! Sure, the words may be in the computer correctly, but if the media team is switching the slides late, it won't really matter! One way to help make sure this happens is to communicate with the computer tech to go ahead and switch the slide WHILE you are singing the last line. If they wait until you have sung it all the way through, it will be too late! Your congregation is smart. They can remember the last few words as the slide changes. It is also a good idea to make sure that the media person is not being distracted by people talking to them or by their phone (email, Facebook, games etc.)

          1. COMUNICATE!
            If you do find yourselves in a situation where you do need to change up the flow of a song or even the order of the set list, don't be afraid to communicate from the stage where you are going or what you are about to sing (see previous blog post “Turn it Up Man!” for more on this subject). When you do feel the Spirit moving or things in the service change at the last minute it is a good thing to communicate what you are doing so that the band, media team and even the congregation know what is happening. You may feel like this is “unprofessional” or “amateur” but people will appreciate your realness and authenticity if you just communicate what is going on.

            We all want our services to be excellent, and many times we skip over this little detail, so if we want to do all we can to minimize distractions, we need to make sure that we look at every aspect of the service!

            I hope this helps a little! I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment here or on our Facebook page. Thanks for hanging out with me today!

            AuthorJustin Graves