Roger Davis is the head of a ministry organization that runs hundreds of student conferences each year. As such, he has the privilege of constantly working with some of the most talented worship leaders in the world.
Being around so many of these worship leaders, when Roger says, “You know what sets apart the good worship leaders from the great ones? Their transitions.” You listen.
Have you ever been sitting in a congregation on a Sunday morning, and during the songs there was this 10 second pause(and let’s be honest, it felt like 5 minutes) with nothing happening. It tends to disrupt the momentum that was building during the musical part of the worship service. This can lead to distraction of the audience and band from worshiping the Lord, and honestly, that is not a good thing.
If you are like me, one of your main goals in leading singing in any setting is to not distract people from the worship of our Lord and Savior. So, over the years of watching other song leaders and leading people through songs myself, here are a few practical suggestions to try to keep from those awkward pauses during worship:
End a song a cappella- Not only can this be a sweet time of worship for the church to hear the voices of the rest of the congregation lift above the music, this can open up room for the rest of the band to get ready for the next song (i.e changing capo position, tuning instruments, changing tap tempo, changing the click, etc...).
Drum solo- This by no means gives your drummer the right to live out his childhood dream of being the “rock” drummer, but transitioning through songs by starting with drums can be a great moment for a worship service. Think of how Hillsong United used the drums to start Hosanna. The groove of the song helps to not lose focus, but keeps people feeling as though the service is still moving.
Plan songs in the same key- For me, this is the most practical transition in worship. Playing songs in the same key allows you to move from song to song without any break at all. You can have the “pads” continue between song. The song might be near the same tempo so you can just combine them. There are several different ways to move between them, but if they are in the same key it makes it so much easier to transition.
Trashcan ending- This does not mean you play badly. This does not mean you have trashcans on stage to hit. This is when the drummer is hitting the cymbals and kick, the guitar players are strumming the tonic chord in no set pattern, it is the end of the song that makes it sound like the ending of the song. This allows for you to swell back in with the next key, but with no silence.
Pray- This might seem very simple, but even in the silence a prayer is never awkward. Praying between songs can draw peoples attention back to the whole reason we are together. Jesus is the reason. Period.
I am sure there are many other ones that can be used, but here are 5 practical ways to help keep the “awkward” out of the auditorium, and keep people’s minds from being distracted from singing songs of worship.