Service Transitions

Weekly church services require plenty of planning. We spend time picking music, writing sermons and lining up all the different elements that go into building a meaningful service. But there’s one thing most churches don’t spend nearly enough time planning: transitions; the moments that happen between all the individual elements.

Nothing kills the flow of a service like a bad transition. If you disrupt the flow, you’re jarring your congregation out of a worshipful state. You see, poor transitions give people time to think about something other than worship. Whether it’s a major letdown after a powerful song or lag time as someone walks up to the platform, poorly planned transitions get peoples’ minds wandering. They’ll start to wonder, “Why aren’t we still singing,” or “What’s going on?”

While most worship services are made up of little pieces carried out by various people, they should always feel like one cohesive presentation. Flow doesn’t just happen on its own. It takes planning and practice, and it also means knowing exactly what you’re going to say. Even if the timing of a transition is smooth, flow can get chopped by a bunch of ums, uhs or ramblings.

Whether you’re a pastor, worship leader or volunteer, you’re in the business of communicating God’s story. You miss opportunities to help people become more enriched in that story if you’re doing things to take them out of the moment. Transitions are one of those things you can easily clean up with a little extra effort. I heard Whitney George, the Arts Director at Church On The Move, explain it this way: The difference between good and great is the last 5 percent, which means you have to sweat the small stuff.

And for me, that means as church communicators, we should never disrupt the flow of worship.

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