28 Ways to Create Great Segues: #25
By Jon Nicol
For our last four segues, we'll be looking at elements we've already discussed but using them to transition to the message. #25 is prayer.
Prayer before the message does a few things: 1) It gives time for people to prepare, both in their hearts and head. 2) It invites the Holy Spirit to work through the text and message. 3) It helps the pastor center in on what he's about to do.
We've used prayer a few times to segue between various elements. And that almost sounds crass -- no, it does sound crass. I'll just admit that writing through a series like this I've had to ask myself more than once, "Am I more concerned about segues or the Savior?" Am I using prayer - communicating with a Holy God - just to connect to the next thing in the service?
And that's something we all have to wrestle with. I go back to what I wrote in the introduction: transitions will happen whether I plan them or not. But good transitions move the congregation along from one segment to the next, hopefully without detracting from what the worshipers just experienced, or are about to experience.
With that considered, prayer (as well as reading scripture, etc) is an act of worship, something that can stand on its own as an expression of corporate worship. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be woven into the tapestry of the gathering in such a way that it moves our hearts and carries our attention to another moment of worship. And that's what prayer does here.
Consider a few things as you use prayer to segue to the message:
- Who prays? Is it the preaching pastor? Or worship leader? Or does an elder get up to pray? Regardless, have a plan. As the previous element is ending, the person pray-er needs to be getting in place before it concludes.
- What is prayed? Is this the lengthier "pastoral prayer" that some churches practice, a time to pray for missionaries and the head deaconess's sick cousin in Akron? Or is it simply an "open the eyes of our heart" kind of prayer to prepare for the message? It's good to define this, especially if you've got someone other than the preaching pastor praying. The pastor will start to get a little twitchy if the prayer starts rambling into the message time.
- What else is going on?
- Whenever you move from a musical element, I'd say underscore that prayer with soft keys or acoustic guitar. That adds another layer of connection in the segue.
- Is this a time for the music team to quietly exit the stage? Some churches are into this. Some aren't. But regardless, have a plan to get the team off the stage with minimal distraction.
- If the teaching pastor isn't the one praying, he/she should be moving into place.
This transition to the message might seem like a something that can just be done on the fly. After all, it's a time that everyone knows is coming. But the movement to the message is a turning point in the service. We are deliberately opening God's word to hear what He has to say to us. So a segue of prayer is a fitting preparation for this.
August 4, 2011Tweet