Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How To Choose Songs For A Worship Set

By Junjie Huang

The question I get asked the most by new worship leaders: how do I choose the right songs? Many people are told ‘just pray and let God lead you’, and when they don’t hear anything from God or they choose the wrong songs they get discouraged.

Choosing songs for a worship set is actually very simple and straightforward. There are four important components, four basic steps to planning a contemporary worship set, for both small group and congregational worship.

1) Know the songs the people are familiar with.

Don’t try to use more than ONE new song per worship session. In order to follow this guideline you need to know what the songs the people already are familiar with are.

If you are leading worship for a group you are familiar with, this is easy. Over time, when other people are leading worship, you will discover what are the songs the people enjoy and really click with. This will give you a good idea of what songs can use.

What if you are leading worship for a group you don’t know? What I do is this: I email or call the leader of the group (or pastor of the church, as the case may be) and ask for the worship songs they have used for the last 4-6 meetings. This will give me a good idea of what songs I can use.

2) Know what makes a song effective in worship.

There are a multitude of ‘worship’ songs that are quite unusable in regular church worship. If you try using these, you will usually get blank stares from the people. If you try to force these songs to work, you will alienate the people and frustrate them. And that’s not what you want.

In a nutshell, an effective worship song will have a melody that is easily sung by the average believer, with lyrics that are edifying and easy to remember. Avoid songs that have large singing ranges (parts that are too low or too high). People will be uncomfortable singing such songs, or they will stop singing. And that’s not good.

Be on the look out for songs that are very much Scripture verses set to music are very valuable to you as a worship leader. They usually work very well – if the melody is sing-able, of course.

Putting it simply, if people can sing the song without having to look at the lyrics, that’s a strong contender, a song you should seriously consider using.

3) Settle the music.

You have to watch out for the musical aspects of the songs you have chosen, to make sure they can be effectively used by the people for worship. If you are a non-musician who has to lead worship, work in partnership with a good musician until you learn some basic music theory.

You need to work out the key, which determines the vocal range the people will sing in. If you are not the only musician accompanying the worship, then prepare the chords in advance for the other musicians. Don’t expect them to already know the songs or to figure out everything during the rehearsals. This is unnecessary pressure.

There are many people who think that watching out for the musical technicalities is unspiritual. To these people I would respectfully remind them that Jesus was once challenged to give the greatest commandment, but he replied with two, love the Lord AND love your neighbor. (Matt 22:38-40). Don’t get so caught up with the spiritual aspects of worshiping God that you forget the people you are there to serve. The correct music technicalities for worship ministry are those that serve the congregation by giving them a firm musical foundation for them to sing their praises to the Lord.

4) Join the songs.

The current trend on ‘worship’ CDs is to take a song, cram it full of instrument solos, vocal pyrotechnics, complex music arrangements then bring it to a grand conclusion to the tumultuous applause of the audience. And then move on to the next song. This sounds good on ‘worship’ CDs but when you try this in real worship you’ll frustrate the people because they can’t engage their hearts fully in worship unto the Lord.

So join the songs. Make sure that they flow in terms of the theme (what the lyrics are about) and the key. This way you are creating the best environment for the people to fully engage their hearts in worship.

Remember, the greatest commandment is to worship the Lord our God with all we are, including our hearts and emotions. Don’t be afraid of emotions in worship.

Conclusion: usually, if there is a worship session that falls flat, with people unresponsive to the worship leader, we’ll find that one (or more) of these four steps have been ignored. So watch out for these.

When we study the craft of leading worship, there are many other aspects and factors to look at and examine. But if you pay attention to these four steps first, you’ll find that you have covered a large part of what it takes to be an effective worship leader. May God bless you as you serve him in the worship ministry!

Junjie is a worship leader, musician and trainer with more than 14 years worship ministry experience in a wide range of church settings. To learn more about the craft of leading worship and other aspects of worship ministry, go to http://www.invisibleworshipmusician.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Junjie_Huang
http://EzineArticles.com/?How-to-Choose-Songs-For-a-Worship-Set&id=1419811

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