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February 14, 2014
March 21, 2024

4 Ingredients to Better Transitions in Your Worship Set

Too often transitions bring about distractions within a worship set. The stopping and starting, random key changes, and non-rehearsed transitions are things that need to change and change quickly. Each song within your worship set should flow into the other.

Here are 4 key things to think about when planning your musical transitions within your set lists:

1. Tempo

Be ok with changing the tempo if it needs to be changed. Playing a song faster isn’t always best
Speeding up certain songs can be a huge distraction and can cause people to hyperventilate, but if you slow it down the meaning of the lyrics seem to effortlessly stand out.

2. Key

Songs don’t need to be in the same key for the best flow, you can easily do a few things to make that transition sound good. Ex: go from 1-5 and stay on the 5 because it’s also a chord found in the next tune, and then go to the dominate chord for the next song. Next thing you know, you have yourself a smooth transition.

3. Mood

Don’t get caught up in trying to make a worshipful mood.
We’re wanting people to actually worship the savior, they can do that to a loud, soft, slow, modern song or traditional hymn. God is the one who moves hearts, not you. Trust and ask Him to move greatly.

4. Lyrical Transitions

Who besides the pastor is on the stage the most?
Who besides the pastor says the most words on stage on a given Sunday?
Who besides the pastor prepares something that last more than 20 minutes?
Who besides the pastor leads on Sunday? You do.

Every word that comes out of your mouth should be understood as having the same weight as if the pastor was speaking it. Some of us are good at this and others are not, either way we should all practice these things. Know what your going to say before you say it.

I’ve heard some people say some crazy things on stage. If your reading anything – has that reading done something to you? Are you just making things up on the fly with uh’s and um’s all over the place? These types of transitions can still be spirit led, but if you’re just relying on the spirit to do the work in the moment I think that’s laziness on your part. Yeah, the spirit does move in different ways at any given service, but He also moves during the week. Asking him to move during your preparation gives you something concrete to start with, but allows you to continue to rely on the Spirit on Sunday if things need to change.

For example: Do you think that your pastor just gets up and tries to let the spirit just move when he gives a sermon? Heck no! The Spirit has already been at work in him during the preparation. The same goes for us as worship leaders.

If you’re ever going to get up on that stage and say something, I encourage you to prepare for it like you’re going to be preaching a sermon.  Which, by the way, your not preaching the sermon. Some of us actually talk too much, yup, I said it! There is no need for you to give a sermonette before every song especially if what you’re talking about is centered on you. We need to be pointing people to Jesus throughout our entire set.

All of these things matter; tempo, keys, mood, and spoken words are all important parts of transitions and taking people on a Journey. We all need to practice these things. We need to practice going from one song to the next. We need to practice what we’re going to say in between songs. I pray this encourages all of us to work on our musical transitions to ultimately lead people to Jesus during our worship sets every Sunday.

Article Details

Jimmy McNeal
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Austin Stone Creative
worship leader blog
worship transitions