I've discovered that, the vast majority of the time, the first two minutes of our worship gatherings set the tone for the rest of the 1 hour 15 minutes we spend together. No matter what we do for the next 1:13, those first two minutes seems to control the atmosphere, energy and mood of the remaining time.
If we open with a prayer, the entire gathering tends to slow down and take on a more contemplative feel.
If we open with a silly video, the entire gathering tends to feel much more loose and casual.
If we open with a high-energy song, the entire gathering tends to feel charged and emotional.
If we open with a technical problem, the entire gathering seems to fall apart.
Of course, we realize that, God is more than capable of throwing our plans out the door and doing whatever He wants to. But, we also recognize that we have a huge responsibility during those first few minutes to help point everyone in the direction we believe God has led us to go. At Nags Head Church, we believe that every part of our worship gatherings should be connected with every other part in a seemless act of worship. The offering, the songs we sing, the prayers, the message...it should all just be the next natural step in our worship journey each Sunday morning.
How do you set the tone for your worship services? Do you recognize the huge responsibility you have in those first few minutes to set the course? Do you even care?