One of the things that’s not often talked about for worship leaders is time management. We are given leadership over a large time portion of our church’s meeting. It’s also often the start of the meeting, so what we do with the time affects everything that follows.
START ON TIME, END ON TIME
Whatever time your leadership wants you to start, whether it’s right on time or 5 minutes late, try to make that your go time. I understand that some Sundays “just go weird” and stuff happens, but as a general rule don’t let “right on time” become five minutes late or “five minutes late” become 10 minutes late.
But you can start on time and still mess up the rest of the schedule if you don’t end on time. If you are asked to end at a certain time, then make sure you get done. A lot of this happens in our planning beforehand. You don’t have to be a worship leader that long to learn how many songs you need to fill the space. I can look at a set list and know by song title whether it’s too long or too short. Generally the first thing I look at is the number of songs, but you can have two different set lists, both six songs each and one would be too short and the other too long because of song length. Another factor is unique to ourselves as worship leaders. I know leaders who could take the “too short” set list and make it go overtime by stretching songs out, having long prayers between songs, etc. That’s why ultimately it’s up to us to keep our eyes on the clock.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE CLOCK
We have a nice big clock in the back of our sanctuary. I keep my eye on it as the service goes on. Maybe I’ve camped out on a song in the middle of the set and I need to cut one of the last songs, or only do the chorus or something else to get things back on track. Maybe something is really working and I look up to see we’ve got some extra time so I know I can just sort of pause in this moment without the restraint of a time concern.
Worship times aren’t static. The set list is a guide more than a hard and fast rule. It’s possible that God the Spirit will move in a certain song which means that I need to cut part or all of another song. Part of being an effective worship leader and a good part of your church’s ministry team is developing good clock management in your worship leading. It might feel forced or awkward at first, but over time it becomes natural and seamless.
YOURE NOT THE ONLY THING GOING ON