28 Ways to Create Great Segues: Segue #15 (part 1)
By Jon Nicol
"We'll be taking the offering in a few moments." [hint to ushers: please come to the front]
Some off the cuff announcements, then, "And now, as the ushers come forward, we'll be giving our tithes and offering." [hint to ushers, PLEASE come to the front].
Pause. The pastor looks back to see the one usher give the sideways head jerk to two other ushers still in their seats.
"Alright, AS THE USHERS COME FORWARD, let's prayer for our tithes and offerings." [a slightly stronger hint.]
Pause. As the ushers come forward.
They've arrived. The pastor's chest starts to untighten just a little. "Let's pray."
For each person a segue depends upon to flow smoothly, the chance for a derailment increases. Exponentially. The segue to the offering is one of those transitions. Here are all the potential people involved:
- The music/worship leader ending the song
- The pastor or elder stepping up to pray for the offering
- The worship tech turning on the pulpit mic or pastor's wireless
- The ushers
- Whatever element you're using to fill the time as the plates are passed:
- video - then you have worship techs to depend on
- musical element - soloists, band, accompaniment tracks to cue
With all those moving parts, it's no wonder that, for so many churches, this is the segment that grinds momentum to a halt. Here are some ideas to create smoother movement in and out of the offering:
1. Script out your services.
Don't just make a list of the service elements in the order they occur. Plan out the details of how we're getting there and who is getting us there. A few thoughts about scripts:
- The act of writing it out is at least 75% of it. It forces you to think through all the details.
- Get other eyes on it before finalizing. Forgot to put in the "dismissal for kids church"? Your kids' ministry leader or a mother of preschoolers would've caught it.
- Put it in the hands of everyone involved. And put their names in the area for which they are responsible.
2. Keep a musical bed going throughout.
Rather than stop playing at the end of the song, the guitar or keys can underscore the verbal transition and prayer to the offering. The musical bed, while hardly noticed by most, will be a constant thread from the previous song, throughout the prayer and prep for the offering and into the next element.
3. Keep comments brief and focused on the offering.
Often pastors and lay leaders will use this time to add or augment announcements. If you want to keep a worshipful flow in to and out of the offering, take the advice of Red Leader: Cut the chatter, Red Two. (sorry, inner Star Wars geek leaking out.)
4. Prep your ushers.
These are good guys just waiting to be told what to do, and willing to do it. So don't wait till the prayer before the offering to give them instructions. Also, create a "default mode" for them that will work 99% of the time. For instance, instruct them that they should be getting into place during the song (or whatever the element is) before the offering. As the pastor or leader steps up to pray, they walk forward. No verbal cues needed.
5. Cue up whatever is next.
Whether you're watching a video, singing another worship song, having a special number, etc., make sure that element is ready to launch as soon as the prayer finishes. Again, keeping that musical bed up until this next element will further connect the pieces.
In the next post, we'll continue talking about how to make a great segues in and out of the offering, and even ideas on how to "do the offering" in a way that creates flow.
March 18, 2011Tweet