Worship Notes

"Transition,
Transition,
Transition!!!"

The more I travel to other churches, the more I notice the lack of ability to make smooth transitions in service. As leaders in our churches, we should all be aware of the importance of transition in a 21st Century church service.

When you look at a typical Order of Service for a contemporary church, you will probably see something like this:

1. Welcome
2. Praise & Worship (perhaps with the listing of songs)
3. Offering
4. Offertory
5. Special Song Presentation
6. Message
7. Altar Call
8. Close and Dismissal

Now, while this list may show an orderly way in which to present ministry to the congregation, the biggest question in our minds should be, "How are we going to implement this in a smooth and polished manner?" The answer is "transition".

You should be thinking of a smooth way to transition from the Welcome into Praise & Worship. Sometimes this is tricky because the person doing the Welcome may not be the Worship Leader - so we are not only transitioning between elements of the service, but we are transitioning between people as well. Work together to find the best way(s) to do this. Rehearse it if you need to. Come up with clever ways to open your service in a fresh and exciting way...then work on how to smoothly transition into Praise & Worship without disrupting the flow of the service.

During Praise & Worship, transition is particularly important. Too many contemporary praise & worship teams neglect to spend enough time working on this area. They start and stop their songs in a very choppy manner. Don't think of your Praise & Worship songset to be Song #1, then Song #2, then Song #3, and so on. Rather, think of it as Song #1, then Transition, then Song #2, then Transition, then Song #3, and so on.

I have had many people comment that there is a quality about our Music Ministry that they really enjoy, but can't quite explain it in words. After listening to them, I realize that it is simply our ability to execute transition well that impresses them. It's another way to implement a Spirit of Excellence in ministry. Work with your choir and band on this during your rehearsals.

Learn how to transition from Praise & Worship into the Message, and vice versa. Music and the Ministry of the Word are not supposed to be separate things. They are supposed to flow as one! Worship Leaders, learn how to flow with your Pastor. Pastors, learn how to flow with your Worship Leader! Learn how to read each other - learn how to transition together.

Transition forces us to always be a little ahead of the game during service. We should always be thinking ahead, not just to the next song, but to the transition to the next song, then the transition afterwards. Don't let elements of the service sneak up on you. Don't get to the place where you don't know what to do, where to go, or what to say. Rehearse this if you need to.

As I said in my articles on Excellence in Ministry, an excellent presentation of ministry makes our anointing so much more easily received by those to which we are ministering. Transition is a most vital key in this process.

With these thought of transition in mind, let's look at our Order of Service again:

1. Welcome
1a. Transition
2. Praise & Worship Song #1
2a. Transition
2b. Praise & Worship Song #2
2c. Transition
2d. Praise & Worship Song #3
2e. Transition
3. Offering
3a. Transition
4. Offertory
4a. Transition
5. Special Song
5a. Transition
6. Message
6a. Transition
7. Altar Call
7a. Transition
8. Close and Dismissal

If you haven't already done so, implement these ideas into your churches. I guarantee you will see results!