HOW TO CHOOSE SONGS FOR WORSHIP THAT ACTUALLY ENGAGE YOUR CONGREGATION
1. Choose worship songs by theme
Learning how to choose songs for worship should begin with the question “What is the subject of the session?” This is important because without a theme, we lack direction and without direction we lack focus. A lack of focus is… well… a surefire route to making a mess of the worship!
The point is that a set-list for Good Friday should be different from a set-list for Easter.
So make choosing worship songs by theme a priority.
With the theme in mind, start praying to the Holy Spirit and find out what’s in His heart. A useful question to ask here would be, “Lord, what should our Church be praying during this worship session?”
We will instead consider what our Church needs to be singing as opposed to what we want to sing. Too often, we simply pick a song because it’s known, popular, and people like to sing it. While it’s okay to consider the congregation’s comfort, need outweighs want any day.
The best songs are songs that speak directly to what your congregation is experiencing.
The process of pruning the draft list down to 4 or 5 songs requires us to consider these two important concepts:
Speed up your set-list creation using worship progressions
A progression can be defined as the sequence or order of songs in a worship set list based on their tempo.
Knowing progressions is the key to decide which songs can be used at the beginning, middle or at the end of a worship session.
CHOOSING SONGS FOR WORSHIP 4 TIPS TO CREATE THE BEST POSSIBLE WORSHIP SET LISTS
1. Pay Attention To The Theme Of The Day
Start with the theme and list down possible songs around it. A useful rule-of-thumb is to have at least one song in the set-list that highlights the theme.
2. Keep The Focus On God
Psalm 100:4 teaches us that when we worship God, we are entering His gates, His courts and into His Presence. So ideally, we must give thanks to Him and praise His Name.
If our worship leading is not bringing about a sense of reverence for God, something’s amiss!
Worship must be about God—so fewer songs about ‘us’ and more songs about and to Him are better.
3. Consider Musical Elements
Can the song be sung at a comfortable key? Are the tempo and rhythm blending smoothly into the overall set-list? Is the style/complexity within the range and ability of the musicians and congregation?
If the answer is ‘no’ to these questions, the song should most likely not make it to the set-list.
4. Look at the song, not the songwriter
No matter how brilliant a songwriter is, not every song written by him/her will be a winner in congregational worship.
When choosing songs for worship, it is necessary to assess a song based on the strength of its lyrics, melody, ‘singability’ etc. and not just by the name/reputation of its songwriter.