In my experience, most worship leaders are oblivious to what’s happening on the screen during a worship service. Wrong words, poorly chosen backgrounds, skipped verses, bad fonts, etc. Worship leaders think it isn’t their responsibility to worry about such things, and that all they have to do is forward their song list to the technical team and everything will be fine when they show up on Sunday morning. I disagree. If you’re the worship leader, you’re responsible for making sure that once the service begins and the very first song starts, there are as few distractions as possible that might keep the congregation from engaging with God. I’m not suggesting that every worship leader has to prepare the files him or herself – but I am suggesting that every worship leader needs to care about what is being projected onto the screens.
Every couple of weeks or so on this blog, we’ll focus on small details that, when added up, make a huge difference. There are a lot of things that we need to keep in mind when projecting lyrics so we’ll take it slowly – one detail per post. Today we’ll look at line breaks, and we’ll use the first verse of “In Christ Alone” as an example.
Here’s an example of poor line breaks.
If I’m in the congregation and this is on the screen, I might be really annoyed by this. It looks messy. The words don’t move to different lines at natural points in the song. There are single words taking up whole lines and then some lines that go really long. It looks like whoever typed this up didn’t care about what they were doing and it was done as an afterthought.
Here’s an example of good line breaks.
Notice how it looks much cleaner than the previous example. The words move to new lines at natural points in the song. The line breaks usually happen where you’d take a breath (after “fiercest drought” ). There aren’t any single words taking up entire lines. It looks like whoever typed this up cared about it and thought through how the line breaks could help the congregation not be distracted.
Things to keep in mind:
- Are there any extended (two or three beats) pauses in the line when we sing it? That’s a natural place for a line break.
- Does this slide look messy? Tinker around with it and try to make it look pleasing to the eye.
- Does my eye have to hop around a lot to figure out where I’m going? Try to make your line breaks flow in a way that’s easy to follow.
- Are there any “orphaned” words sitting all by themselves? Break up the line evenly so this doesn’t happen.
Even the little details matter!