Lately, we've been in some discussion about choosing worship songs for our weekend services. We've been using an online music library called Spotify which allows us to make collaborative playlists. As we find new songs that we like, we add them to the list. This has been an amazing tool for us to find new songs that we all agree will work for our setting.
With any good thing, there can be a down side and it is this, now that we have a TON of new songs, several questions arise:
- How do we discern which songs to actually use?
- How often do we introduce new songs?
- Is there such a thing as a right song at the wrong time?
- Is it theologically sound?
- Is it singable? (range, rhythm)
- Is it an expression of where we are as a church RIGHT NOW?
- This particular point is important for discernment. A great song at the wrong time can really lessen its impact. If a church sings a song about being fully surrendered to Christ, when the base level of commitment is showing up on a weekend service 1-2 times per month, there is a disconnect between words and heart.
- If we introduce a new song every week for 5 weeks straight, we're going to leave our congregation in the dust. Most worship leaders assume that their people know songs better than they actually do. Part of this can be the fact that the worship leaders and teams play through songs many times over a set of weekend services, when, in fact, the congregation only gets to hear the song once. So, songs feel tired to a music team WAY EARLIER than they do to a congregation. Don't be afraid to mix up the arrangement in order to keep the song fresh for your team.
- Our system of introducing a new song is 2 weeks in a row, then a break week, then on again. After that, it's free reign to program whenever it is best needed. We always evaluate the song after that rotation to make sure it's worth keeping in the pool of songs. Sometimes a song stays, sometimes it just stays for a month or so. That's okay.