Community Discussion: Best Practices For Lyric Timing

Making presentations for lyric projection may not be the easiest thing to do in a service preparation, but it is in fact a very essential thing for members of your congregation. Specifically, it is important for newcomers who potentially are not yet familiar with the songs. Because of this, it is very crucial that we create slides that are easy to follow. Having trouble on timing your lyrics? Here’s what some of our members suggest:


“Depends on song tempo, phrasing, etc. I time screen transitions so that the fade from the last slide to the current slide is complete when the first word on that screen needs to be sung…” Chester Cannon

“Check out what other churches may be doing. Watch their worship services as a viewer and see what timing feels best. Have a conversation.” Matt Neuenschwander

“I tend to do a 1s fade at the end of the last word if there’s not a pause between lines, or as soon as a pause begins if there is.“ Matthew Redrich

“Do you have a separate confidence monitor feed for your worship team, or are they seeing what the congregation is seeing? As a member of the worship team, I like to see what’s coming up in advance, at least a little. I know we should be prepared and have the songs completely memorized and internalized, but stuff happens and it’s definitely panic-inducing to be leading in song and realize you have no idea what the next word out of your mouth is supposed to be. As a congregation member or online viewer, I can see how exact sync is preferable, whether you’re familiar with the song or it’s new to you. It would seem “off” to be ahead, even if it’s just by a line or two, especially if you’re doing a lower-thirds or only projecting a few lines at a time. If you can accommodate both by doing separate screens, do that. If you have to share the feed, maybe split the difference and give a word or two lead.” Christina Scott

“I always want the first line of the next slide to be fired basically right as the last word or two of the previous slide is sung. Essentially, the words should be up there before a beat of them are sung. Side note: I really think it helps to have someone running lyrics who at least has a little bit of a musical ear.” Mike Lovato

“The guidance I give my people is to transition right before we sing the last word of the slide. Unless it’s a particularly fast song, then transition sooner. Maybe 2 or 3 words before. The reality is that most people will read the lyrics one line at a time anyway. Better to be too early than too late.” Jordan Heaps 

“Always have the next line up before finishing singing the last line. I usually time it right on the beat of the last word sung. If you don’t have them up BEFORE you sing the line, a lot of people will be humming the next line, or just stop singing all together…” Joe Gorges

“We advance at the beginning of the last word. But, on the same hand, we use the stage display in the ProPresenter so the worship team is already seeing the next slide.” Robb Hawkins 

“Agree with everything… (I) just want to add that it depends on the tempo. Sooner for fast songs… later for slow songs, especially if there’s a musical break between lines. Then you’ve gotta time it so the next line is up 2-4 beats before it’s sung.” Lokey Burton 


What’s important is to be flexible with your lyric presentation. Think about your church members, and also value the preference of your worship team. Test your presentation out. Ask people for their comments. Watch others’ services. Plan everything ahead of your worship time, but also be prepared to make changes anytime if needed.

Hope this helps!

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