Yesterday, I gave you some of the backstory regarding our recent worship order changes. That’s all well and good, but inquiring minds want to know just what stuff exactly got modified!
Before we get into it, you should know that I’m not into what’s known as “environmental projection.” This is a relatively recent development wherein churches are using projectors to color or paint their buildings with motion graphics, scripture, images, etc.
I’ll certainly admit that environmental projection is cool, even helpful for lots of churches. However, I think it creates more problems than solutions. However…lately I’ve been seeing how many of our people at Bethel are gifted when it comes to art and color. Because of that, we didn’t just change our song list. We did some other stuff, too.
NUMBER OF SONGS: This wasn’t a huge change for us. A typical Sunday is only 5 songs for us (with one closer, usually an abbreviated instrumental version of something from earlier in the set.) But pulling back to four songs created some practice and prep space for our drummer. The quality of playing got even better with the four song set. Eventually, we’ll probably be adding a fifth song to the end of the service, but for now, four is plenty of work.
FLOW OF SONGS: We also eliminated some of the breaks in between songs. If I’m not careful, I’ll talk too much during worship. Concentrating on some transitions breathed some new life into our sets. For scripture readings, we used some videos or I would read them from the stage. Doing songs in this flow has made us use our brains when it comes to key changes, intros/outros, etc. While it makes the song set shorter, I think the end result is a bit more pleasing to the eyes and ears.
SONG PROJECTION: Since I’m not down with shooting pictures all over our walls, I decided to loosen my grip a bit and allow our team to start building custom backgrounds and fonts for each specific song. Lots of churches do this, but I’ve always been a one background, one font guy. However, the response was pretty good. Not only did the songs have a stronger thematic push, but the reformat gave our projection a much more “live” feel. Instead of one static slide, now lyrics are larger and more kinetic with the song we’re singing.
GREETING: We moved the corporate greeting time to after the song set. In the new order, after the fourth song, our Senior Pastor steps up and welcomes people. He gives a brief hint or preview of what he’ll be preaching and then encourages people to say hello if they haven’t already. This takes a little of the pressure off.
GREETING CONTINUED: Instead of the band trying to jam while they greet one another, we now have our communications guy front-load the announcement video with 90 seconds of instrumental music. The tech team fires the video as soon as the greeting starts and doesn’t have to watch the preacher like a hawk for the “cut-off-the-music” signal. Ten seconds before the music fades, a counter pops on-screen so folks can start making their way back to their seats.
That may not seem like a lot of change, but believe me…IT IS! One unforeseen challenge was the projection. While we’ve got some talented artists who can do that, we’re finding that projection formatting in this way takes a ton of time and our artists aren’t always available. For the time being, I’ve been doing most of the formatting with help from some staff.
I’ve received positive feedback so far, which is always nice. We’re only a month in, but it’s been a pretty easy switch. Our sanctuary isn’t the ideal place for some of these artistic/projection choices, so we’re still learning what colors and motions to avoid.
Any of you made a worship change recently? How did it go?