What’s My Line? – Lyric Projection in Worship

Jimi Williams —  October 13, 2008

I’m constantly reminded how much the success of our worship services hinges on the small things that most people don’t notice. Unless, of course, they are not done well, then everyone notices!

Nobody thinks much about lighting until the stage goes black in the middle of a song. Very few people compliment the sound tech if the sound is perfect. And nobody thanks the lyric projection person for anticipating the next lyric so that singing is not interrupted.

I’m amazed that even at large worship events, there are problems getting the right lyric on the screen. There’s nothing more awkward than that moment where the band drops out and the worship leader exhorts everyone to sing out, but nobody knows the lyric! Instead of a powerful statement of praise, you get “waaa bbaa eeeooo”.

Here are some pointers on helping your lyric tech:

– Lay lyrics out as close to the order you’ll do them as possible. Worship Leaders are the worst about vamping a song different every time they do it :), but at least get it as close as you can.

– Give your tech a heads up if you are only singing the chorus of a song or only the second verse and chorus. This will prevent the distraction having the wrong lyric displayed while they search for the right one.

– Make sure your line breaks make sense with the song. You don’t want to leave a word hanging until the next slide. This will require someone entering the lyric that knows the song.

– Train your lyric tech to anticipate the slide changes and to get familiar with the songs in advance of the service.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of embarrassment!

Jimi Williams

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Jimi is VP of Worship Resources for Capitol CMG Publishing, overseeing all Worship Together initiatives and resources. He also leads worship at his home church and at various events and conferences.

2 responses to What’s My Line? – Lyric Projection in Worship

  1. spot on! since we’ve moved to a different city we haven’t found a church yet, so we’ve been going to a few… this is a common gripe my husband has about the worship – the sound was too loud or too soft and the lyrics are often completely muddled up, a big deal when you’re new and don’t know the songs. it just seems that there is a complete lack of communication between the band up front and the sound people at the back. whilst relying on the Holy Spirit to flow during worship is critical, it is also key to train people on the equipment they use and have everyone involved in the worship (that includes the sound and lyrics people) attend the worship practice sessions.

  2. Steve – ShapingWorship.com October 14, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    I have even forgotten the lyrics to my original songs – now that’s embarrassing!
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