Learning to Flow

Flow. It’s an important thing every worship leader should know how to do. Yet, in my experience, flow isn’t usually something that’s taught. True, some things are easier “caught than taught”, but we still need to talk about it.

So, what is flow? Definitely not a technical term. Flow is the ability to transcend the plan/roadmap/agenda/itemized schedule and be free to adjust on the fly. Flow is what keeps the worship service from feeling stagnant or “going through the motions.” Flow provides momentum like an undercurrent that takes you faster than you can paddle. Flow keeps the worship team and the congregation together in a unified direction. Flow is the satisfying feeling of riding a bike downhill or canoeing downstream. Flow is like flying. When you don’t have it you feel grounded, tied down. Like you’re pulling a load of bricks in a wagon with no wheels (anybody else ever lead a set like that?).

Flow is a release of control. A following of the Spirit.

As with many things in life, flow is something you cultivate in your bedroom when no one is watching. Your personal interaction with the Lord in worship is the place to start. I don’t know anyone who plans a worship set for their personal worship time.

First I’m going to sing… followed by a cool key change… then I’ll wrap up with a remix version of my favorite hymn…

Who does that?

Since worship isn’t really about the songs, all we need to bring is our hearts. The adoration of God’s grace. The thankfulness for His mercy. The expectancy of our hope. Whether spoken, sung, laughed or cried, the movements of our hearts are what move His heart. God’s not impressed with your voice as an artist. It’s not the precise combination of pitch and rhythm that excite Him.

So at home, there’s no performance. Just you and God. Enjoying the presence and love of each other. From this place, what do you do? Maybe sing or say a prayer. What comes next? We have a dialogue. As we minister to God, He ministers to us. His word brings life. It awakens passion, desire or simply peace. Then we respond. And He responds. You get the idea.

Corporate worship can be the same. Should be the same. A wonderful dialogue (aka not a monologue) between God and His people. As the worship leader, we have the ability, even responsibility, to release God’s response for His people.

I should have titled this, “An Introduction to Flow.” I have way too much to say here and now. But let me encourage you to begin practicing flow. Do it at home by yourself. Practice with your friends or worship team. Let your worship become more of a release. Sing spontaneous songs. Be free.

Release your song.

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About Stephen James Carter

I have loved God ever since I can remember. Leading others in worship has always been the natural overflow of my heart for Him. Training others to lead is one of my gifts.

4 responses to “Learning to Flow”

  1. Mark Ahrens says :

    Just got your email update. Congratulations to you and Jenn concerning “Baby Carter”. I won’t say that I’m seven times as blessed as you are because that misses the whole point……but you certainly are headed toward a great blessing! I’M VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS BLOG. IT’S A GREAT IDEA AND YOU’RE THE RIGHT PERSON TO BLOG IT. I pray God’s blessing all over it!

  2. Ryan says :

    Good stuff man!

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