by Jimi Williams
I had a conversation after our service at church last Sunday about picking worship songs. It was a good talk and it made me think a bit about how we as worship leaders choose songs to sing.
I came up with the following 4 things that I think will help:
1. Lyrics must be Scripturally accurate.We can’t assume that just because we trust the writer or the publisher that the song is true. We are all prone to error or miscommunication. Also, words sometimes mean different things to different people. You as the worship leader must make sure that what you are asking your church to sing is clear and in-line with the Gospel.
2. Music must be culturally and periodically relevant. Songs can be true lyrically, but out of date or context culturally. If I’m asked to lead worship in an older congregation that loves hymns, I’ll lead them with hymns. If I’m leading a youth service, I’ll choose songs that are a bit more edgy. I also like to make the majority of my worship set songs that were written in the last few years. There’s nothing wrong with pulling out an old favorite, but I like to use songs that are fresh to the church.
3. Songs must be musically accessible. This goes for your band and your congregation. If your band is pretty inexperienced, you probably shouldn’t choose to play the latest Israel Houghton song. Also, try and choose songs that are within the sing-ability of your congregation. This is very subjective since some churches can sing almost anything and some struggle with simple melodies.
4. Don’t ignore the special music. I never thought I would be encouraging churches to have special music. My thought about this early on in my music ministry was “it’s not special if you do it every week!”. However, I think there is a place for those songs that are not congregational, but that have a strong message for the church. Whether it’s during an offering, communion or at the end of the teaching, there are some fantastic powerful songs that will minister to your congregation in ways corporate singing cannot.
Hope this helps!