28 Ways to Create Great Segues: #21
By Jon Nicol
We've been talking about the "pre-service." I suggested in the last post that the pre-service time is one big transition time - comprised of several of small segues - that moves people into our worship gatherings.
We can try to spiritualize this time, but let's just be honest: it's sometimes like herding cats to get our people into worship. We're competing with coffee and chit-chat in the foyer, people catching up at the kid check-in and the culture of the chronically late. Often our opening song feels like a sacrificial lamb--it gives its life to bring people into the worship center. And while changing the culture of lateness in our church might be achievable before Jesus returns, it's not the point of this series. We're dealing with current reality at the moment.
So rather than fight it, or get mopey about the fact that our first song is a musical martyr, let's just re-frame our thinking and call it the herding song - as in, it herds people into the worship center. Here are a few options for the herding song:
The Pre-Service Song: Time this song so it ends right at the beginning of the service time. Make it more of a "sit and listen" song for those already in the service. Also, give people something to look at: put the announcement graphics on the screen, or a countdown (or both, if you've got the technology). The one big issue with the Pre-Service Song is that people are still in your parking lot at "start time." So many aren't even there to be "herded."
The Opening Song: Again, get over the fact that this is a sacrificial lamb. But don't overlook that there will be people worshiping with this song. So pour everything you've got into this one, but don't throw your "high impact" song here. You know - that song we don't want people to miss. Save that tune for later.
By the time you're done with this song most everyone will be in except those with pathological tardiness and your youth pastor. I think Celebrate Recovery is developing a program for them - youth pastors, that is. Nothing can be done for the certifiably tardy.
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The Hybrid: Use a Pre-Service Song, but begin it about 2 minutes before the posted service start time and let it spill into your service. This means your service will actually start 2 - 3 minutes late. (Which actually might be early for some of you.)
"But," you ask, "isn't this enabling lateness?"
You betcha. But remember, we're dealing with current reality.
And this is my church's reality. At some point, we'll need a course correction. But it will probably require more than moving our pre-service song back a couple minutes. I'm thinking there'll need to be at least one or two good shunnings. At least that's what I'm voting for.
Before we wrap up this post, let me throw out a few options for your pre-service (or hybrid) song:
- Use a familiar, upbeat song that the worship team can play in its sleep. That way there's not extra work for the team. Plus they can relax and have fun with it. People will be drawn by that.
- Introduce a new song. When I introduce a new song, I'll run it 3 - 4 weeks in a row as a live pre-service song. This sounds like a lot, but the average church attendee will likely hear it twice. At best. And it gives my team the chance to play/sing it at least once, depending on rotation.
- "Pre-prise": Use a song that you'll be doing later in the service, especially if i's a new one. That will help get it in people's heads. Just don't do the opening song, or it will feel really long if you play it twice back to back.
Again, each of these pre-service segues are best used in conjunction with others. Try different combinations. And remember what works now, won't work for long. People can become as conditioned to a pre-service song as they are to Muzak in a department store. When's the last time your heard the music in JCPenney?
July 20, 2011Tweet