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Practical Tips For Picking A Worship Songlist

This is a short, practical post of tips for praise and worship leaders to use for picking their worship songlist. These tips come from many years of experience being a worship leader, and I hope it helps you.



PRAYER


Every list should be Holy Spirit-led. That means that prior prayer and private praise and worship should be involved. This may seem a given, but many worship leaders don't consider this. This is the starting point.



Tips for picking praise and worship list

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR PICKING A WORSHIP SONGLIST


THEME


What is the theme of the list? (there should be a direction, flow, and stream for the whole list)

  • examples: surrender to God, the faithfulness of God

  • is there a verse that represents the theme?

  • it should not just be a random selection of songs (there should be intention to the list)

  • what songs are speaking to your heart?


CONGREGATIONALLY MINDED


The songs and arrangement are congregationally minded.

  • Is it playable and singable for the team? (can they do it well?)

  • What key is best for the whole church (consider the lowest/highest notes, remember the congregation are generally not "singers")

  • Is the style of the song relatable and suitable for the congregation?

  • Is every part of the song intended and suitable for the congregation? Some modern songs have components that sound good but do not fit well for congregational singing.

  • Should only one part of the song be used in this instance? Sometimes you might feel the chorus is what is needed and not the verses.

  • What are the transitions? (how are you going to move song to song, moving from key to key)

  • Where will you break for spontaneous praise and worship (when/where?)

  • Is the song doctrinally sound? It may sound pretty, but is it Biblically correct? A lot of artistic license seems to be given to praise and worship songwriting which is not always good.

  • Does the list still allow for flexibility?

  • From a doctrinal and congregational perspective, Hymns are important, and I feel at least one should be included each Sunday, as much as possible.


WHAT ABOUT NEW SONGS


Here are some things to consider when wanting to introduce a new song.

First, does the song speak and minister to you? Something also to think about concerning this. Is this a song God is using to minister to you, or is this a song that would minister to the whole congregation? Sometimes, the song is meant for us at the moment that we are going through. I have seen worship leaders bring a new song that ministered to them only to see them disappointed because it falls flat on the congregation. It might have been something God meant for them, not to teach the church. Just something to consider.


EVALUATING NEW SONGS

  • Is it congregational, or is it more of a solo or performance-type song? (Can regular people sing it?)

  • Does the style relate to the congregation?

  • What is the key range of the song? (Can it be adjusted if need be?)

  • Do the style and melody fit the lyrics?

  • Are all the song's parts (verse, chorus, bridge) suitable for the congregation? (Can this be adjusted?)

  • Does the team have the ability to play/sing it with excellence?

  • What is the doctrinal/theological content?

  • The message needs to be clear and sound. (There needs to be ample correct Biblical content.)

  • Does it teach and give proper doctrine and theology?

  • Does it speak to things like the character of God, build faith, and bring encouragement?

  • Does it point to and glorify Jesus?

  • Can it be a vehicle through which the Holy Spirit can speak and minister?



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