Do you ever find it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the worship leader who is “led by the spirit”? Of course there’s no chance they could actually do the song in the order it was originally suggested. In fact… that would be crazy! No, instead they have to do Chorus 1, Verse 2, Bridge, Verse 1, Chorus, First part of the bridge before going into the third verse… you get the point. It’s all over the place.
This is always the case with worship leaders at conferences and events as they are used to playing with the same band, where they have great chemistry and know when they’re moving to a new section. As the visual guy who has never worked with them, I had to come up with a system that allowed for maximum flexibility in the moment of worship.
(I’ve made a print version of this that you can download and put next to your booth for your volunteers. Feel free to download that at: lukemcelroy.com/resources)
When I run lyrics I use two hands on the keyboard. One hand is on the left and right arrows. The other hand is over the left home keys of the keyboard. And each key has a specific meaning as the start of a specific section. Here’s my code:
Keys “A-L” are the middle row and are to me signify the main verses in a song. For example key “A” will trigger the first slide of the first verse. Key “S” will trigger the second verse, “D” the third, and so on. If you haven’t looked down at the keyboard yet you really ought to!
This verse system allows for 9 verses. If you have a song with more than 9 verses then you need to rethink the songs you’re singing. Just kidding… but seriously.
The row immediately below the verses is where all the other elements of a song come into play… here’s my key:
Z – This is the last letter in the alphabet, and the lowest left key which works out as my failsafe or my “black” so I assign this to trigger a blank slide.
X – It’s the key immediately before the C, so it stands for Pre-Chorus for me.
C – is for the Chorus.
V – Stands for “Vamp” or an alternative chorus
B – For Bridge
N – for eNding… not sure how that works in my head, but I hear the letter N.
M – is for whatever else you need it to be. The tag, a repeat or another element. It’s my extra or my “Misc”
It’s amazing how this works out to make sense. If you use a presentation software that allows you to assign hot keys or keyboard shortcuts, I would highly recommend adopting this strategy. The volunteers at our church have enjoyed this system and allows us to be flexible whenever we have a change in order in the middle of a song.
What’s your system?