5 Ways to Close a Worship Set

Arms Raised :: Closing Prayer

Arms Raised :: Closing Prayer

As a worship leader, I get asked random questions all the time about worship leading, especially from aspiring leaders in my local church.

One of those questions is:

Sam, what’s the best way to close a worship set?

Well, let me tell you… in fact, here are 5 ways ANYONE can close a worship set.

  1. Rock retárd

    You slow down the last measure increasingly so, until the last downbeat… at which time enters cymbal crashing, guitar thrashing, and vocal ad-libbing.

  2. Slow chorus

    This is a classic.  You end on the chorus, playing it big a couple of times… add a bit of a Rock retárd, then proceed into a final chorus, allowing the congregation to really sing out the lyrics.

  3. Imperfect Cadence

    Sorry for all you non-music-theory people out there… this simply means ending on the V chord instead of the I chord (so, in the key of C, you end on the G chord).  This leaves a very distinctive feel to the end of a song, and is very moving when used correctly.

  4. Deceptive Cadence

    Again, a music theory term, this simply means going from the V chord, to any chord other than the I chord (again, in the key of C, you go from a G to a Dm, or Em, or F, or Am… but not C).  This is considered a weak way to end a song, as you don’t have the ‘strength’ tied in with ending on the I (C) or V (G) chord… but, as the name suggests, can add some well-placed (deceptive) spice at the end of the song.  NOTE: Use sparingly!

  5. Prayer

    ’nuff said.

The truth is most of these can be combined into one.  I ALWAYS end a worship set with prayer, and will usually do either 1 or 2, depending on the song.  Sometimes, in that mix, I will throw in the 3rd or 4th option… although, as I said, those need to be correctly and intentionally placed.

What are some methods you’ve used to tactfully end a worship set?

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