I’ve been on a worship flow crusade lately. You visit these famous megachurches and expect to be wowed by their expertise and it isn’t necessarily so.
On several occasions I’ve sat in a congregation of thousands only to see the worship leader and band sing a song, come to a complete, dead stop, then start another random song, come to another complete stop, sing another random song, etc. What?!
All that to say, don’t think megachurches have the corner on the music market. With planning and leadership, ANY church, no matter what size, can create a meaningful worship experience that will touch people’s hearts and lead them into God’s presence. The principles of worship flow apply to everyone, whether you have a full orchestra, a rocking band or just a piano and acoustic guitar. Quality is what counts, not quantity.
One thing you can do to promote healthy worship flow is to look at the keys of your songs.
I was talking to a worship leader about his praise set. He had a song in Db and followed it with a song in G. I asked him why he didn’t do the Db song in D. His reply was that Db is the original key.
You don’t have to do songs in the original key! In fact, I would advise NOT doing songs in the original key. In this artist-driven world of contemporary worship, the artist, typically a tenor worship leader, will record the song in a key that best fits his voice. This key is usually not singable by the mere mortals in your congregation.
As for the Db song, the flow would improve greatly by changing it to D since D and G are related keys. And do you know any guitarists who like playing in Db?
Here are a few songs from one of our typical praise sets at Brookwood Church:
Marvelous Light in B
Awesome Is the Lord Most High in G
Made to Worship in A
Tomlin originally recorded Made to Worship in C. Somehow our chart made it to A. Our worship leader has a great tenor voice and he can sing the song with no problem, but I suggested we do it in G. It’s a friendlier key for the average person, our worship leader still sounds great on it as it’s only a step lower, plus worship flow is helped because we can now flow smoothly from Awesome in G to Made to Worship in G. See how a little tweak can make a big difference?
Adam Fisher, our guitarist, has found a great little program for free called Chord Chart Wizard (Windows, Mac and Linux.) He creates all the charts in this program and can instantly change the key while keeping spacing intact. This is also handy for creating guitar capo charts.
This week, take a look at your praise set. Can better flow be achieved by changing the keys of the songs? Balance these three things:
Playability – is it in a hard key for guitarists to play?
Range – can the average person in the congregation sing it?
Flow – are the songs in the same or related keys to help smooth transitions?