worship band

Abrupt Worship

Recently I was visiting a church with a non-musical friend and he commented the music wasn’t that great.

It wasn’t – and I explained to him why.

The band was good – above average, actually, but the problem wasn’t musicianship – it was worship flow.

The praise team led three songs and we only knew two of them. The first song was a slow, meandering ballad. I couldn’t tell you the name of it or what it was about except to say it dragged on for what seemed like ten minutes.

After the song finally finished the band suddenly started a super uptempo, full band rocker. The rocking continued with driving guitars through the ten second intro, then dropped down to a light groove with bass and drums. All momentum came to an abrupt halt.

After being jerked around for two songs the team concluded with a popular praise song. The congregation enthusiastically participated, as if to say “finally, a song we know!”

Each week, analyze your flow. Where are you going? How are you getting there?

If you only lead three songs in your set your options are limited: you can start fast and end slow, or start slow and end fast. For people to engage you should do at least two familiar songs. And 90% of the time I recommend starting with two upbeat songs followed by a ballad. Early Sunday mornings are not a great time to kick off with a sleeper ballad.

God inspires us to select songs for worship. But like any other creative process, worship flow is a skill that can be honed with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.


Essential reading for worship leaders since 2002.


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