Finding the worship flow; 3 ways to break your praise team out of the “A & B selection” mentality

Do you ever feel like your praise team is kinda missing something in their delivery of worship? You’ve seen those praise teams that just have this “flow” in their service. Things just naturally move from one song to another in a kind of organic way.  Sadly though, for many younger, newly established praise teams it’s more like “and now for our next number”.

I referred to it in the subject line as the A&B selection mentality. I realize that I have readers from many backgrounds, nationalities and even a few different countries who might have NO CLUE what I’m talking about there, so let me briefly explain. The term “an A & a B selection” is an old term that has been used for many years in the black church.  You’d hear the emcee announce “And now the choir will come to us with an A & a B selection”. It simply meant that the choir would be singing 2 songs (I’m speaking as if this term isn’t still being used, lol!).  The two songs don’t necessarily have anything in common with each other besides the fact that they’re both Gospel songs.

This is fine for a choir, group or ensemble. For a praise team though, it’s not the ideal way to go. A praise team’s job is to help set an atmosphere that encourages  corporate praise and/or worship. We want everyone to be in a place where they are communing with God in a very personal way.   As such a praise team must seek to do more than just simply sing two praise team songs. Many praise teams, for example, feel that because it’s “praise and worship” we must sing a fast song (for the praise) and a slow song (for the worship). There’s not much thought put into it beyond that though.

As a result, many praise teams find that even when the audience is enjoying their selections, they fall short of creating that atmosphere of worship. It ends up a lot like a mini version of the choir. So in order to really be effective a praise team has to break out of this “one song, then another song” way of ministering. Here are 3 ways you can help your praise team develop that natural, organic worship style where worship seems to just kind of evolve from one stage to the next.

1. Look for songs of similar subject matter.

Find songs that have similar lyrical content. These songs will feel more natural when you sing them back to back because one will feel like a continuation of the same thought or message.

2. Try doing songs with similar tempo/feel

Don’t get too locked into thinking you have to do a fast song and a slow song. Think instead about songs that have a similar tempo or feel. I.e, two up-tempo songs rather than one really up-tempo song and then a very slow worship song with totally different subject matter.

3. Try to avoid the “dead stop” between songs

Even if the tempo of the next song is dramatically different than the one before, the most effective praise teams find ways to make the transition between the two feel natural and smooth. Your musician(s) (can be an integral part of helping make this happen). Try to avoid ending a song and completely stopping down. Instead look for ways to connect and transition out of one song and into the next. Here’s one example we did recently using two songs with totally different tempos but very similar lyrical content.

We sang VaShawn Mitchel’s “Chasing After You” and transitioned out of that into a very slow song, More, More, More by Joan Rosario. The two are very different as far as feel and tempo, but they worked great together because “Chasing After You” ends with the lyrics repeating  “more and more”.  We simply came out of that and into the chorus of More, More, More.

Get the idea? This is not only a very effective way to help take your praise team’s ministry to new heights, but it’s really fun to do and you’ll get into it once you get started.  In fact, let’s start now! Leave me a comment below and tell me two praise and/or worship songs that would be great together back to back.

If you found this article helpful and would like more information like this for your praise/worship team you can get 12 more just like it in my new e-book Praise Team 101.



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21 Responses to Finding the worship flow; 3 ways to break your praise team out of the “A & B selection” mentality

  1. lynetta says:

    Our God REIGNS into Let it RAIN. Play on those two words…

  2. Krista Miller says:

    My church does not have musicians and we sing to performance tracks. What would be good ways to transition between songs, when we are reliant on someone pushing “play”?

    • Johnnie says:

      Hello Krista, our team is in the same situation. I have been burning CD’s myself trying to incorporate the flow Brother Ron mentioned. I also have the team praise in between or mention related scripture.

    • Jerry says:

      Use ableton live. This is a software you can use and upload all of your songs there. Then use effects to transition the song

  3. alyce says:

    Well, yes! This applies when grouping songs to present in any regard, but is easy to not consider. When we listen, God gives us a ‘theme’ for every gathering of his kids…

  4. Debra D. Davis says:

    Thank you for helping me to better understand praise and worship. Planning an event of appreciation for my mother this coming weekend, and this information is helping me to place the musical content in its proper place within the actual program. Thank you.

  5. Pingback: When Corporate Brandsing Impacts Your Praise and Worship… | Divine Logistics

  6. Sonya says:

    Your blogs have been so on point! Thanks. They have been helpful and reassuring too. Our musician combines Revelations by Steven Hurd and I Love You by Andre Crouch.

  7. I’d love to see a video of your praise team doing the 2 songs mentioned above! 🙂

    Great thoughts, wisdom, and advice here, especially for new praise teams or those who are struggling. I wonder if it takes time to get to that place of “flow” – like a team that has experience together, who just have a feel for how they work together as a team?

    • Ron Cross says:

      It does take time Susan. It takes more time to select songs for one, because more thought has to go into finding songs that fit, or “flow” well together. But practicing the execution also takes more time. At rehearsal these transitions must be practiced with the team and the band so they feel natural and make sense. Some praise teams may be reluctant to adopt this style of ministry for that reason, but I think it’s not only essential but well worth the time.

  8. Jenny Shain says:

    I always like it when a worship leader makes one song flow to the next. I think this is one of the most important tips. The More more more example is a good idea 🙂

    • Ron Cross says:

      Thanks Jenny, we’re scheduled to rehearse that again at the next rehearsal. I plan to rehearse that transition again and get it tighter, add vocal harmony for the group on the second song, etc. I may try to get some video of that. I know Susan has been asking to see some. :O)

  9. Claudia Looi says:

    I so get this… great article. Your practical suggestions will help especially songs with the same tempo or key. The only problem would be if the keyboardist or the key musician does not know how to flow to the next piece.

  10. Matthew Reed says:

    Great words Ron. Worship services are so much more powerful when they can just flow rather than stop and start with introduction.

  11. Monica says:

    Ron, this is some good info. I am really enjoying your view on music ministry. I don’t know if this concern is universal or not, but can you discuss this same scenario with transitioning from praise team to choir when they are scheduled back to back on the Sunday programs? As you know, we have this problem and it causes the same abrupt stop in ‘the music flow’. As one of the responders said, “Sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit is vital!” I whole heartedly agree. If we don’t allow a more natural flow, it feels like we are attempting to control the Holy Spirit. Your thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

    • Ron Cross says:

      Hey Monica,

      I’m always honored when my minister of music and long time friend stops by to comment. Ours may or nay not be a unique situation but the remedy is the same. Simply put, it takes a lot of planning to make things look like they happened spontaneously, lol!

      In a situation like ours when the praise team sings just before the choir, both factions should start communicating about what songs are planned. That can go a long way toward helping insure a better fit between the two. Of course the challenge there is that you have to know in advance what songs will be done. For example, it would help if the choir knew what the praise team’s last song would be. Then we could adjust accordingly.

      I have some ideas I’m going to be talking to our praise team leader about and sharing with the band. Then we’ll all talk about it at rehearsal as one big group.

  12. I totally know what you are talking about. It’s obvious to the congregation, too, when there is that “and now for our next number” pause and beginning of a new song. Great advice in here!

  13. Olga Hermans says:

    YES! I hope that many will read this article. The worship is so good when all the songs are in tune with each other and there is that beautiful flow of truly worship. It happens when the worship leaders is in tune with God and we all follow..awesome in our own personal way with God.

  14. Thanks Ron! Our praise team seems to be getting this better all the time. I know I really am so disappointed when we are deep into worship, or even praise, and there comes an abrupt stop or change…Sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit is vital!

  15. sam says:

    Great stuff.I’m looking forward for more.Have a good and a godly day.

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