As someone who leads worship and chooses what songs our church is singing, I have a huge problem on my hands: there are so many good worship songs! Does anyone else have this problem? There’s only 52 Sunday services a year, and you can’t introduce multiple new songs every single Sunday, so what do you do?
I’ve wrestled with this dilemma before, but it seems more than ever there are just some amazing songs being written for the church. I find that with every new worship album I purchase there are usually multiple songs that I feel would be a fit for our church. It’s exciting and frustrating all at the same time! And as these new anthems continue to be written for the church, I feel the weight and the responsibility of selecting the “right” songs increasing.
So what do you do? With so many great songs, how do you choose which ones and how do you effectively introduce them to your church? Let me give you 3 simple steps that I have used that I think might help as you try and introduce new songs in your church
I know, it seems obvious. But I really believe prayer is important. If we’re not pressing near the heart of the Father God and really leaning in on Him for wisdom, then our song selections will be fueled out of possible unhealthy motives; like wanting to be trendy, or wanting a song that we think our voice sounds good singing. But when you pray and ask God, the songs might not always be the “cool” one, but they will be the right one.
You need to play through the song on your own a number of times before you bring it to your people. Make sure you are comfortable and familiar with it. Practice it. Figure out what parts are hard for you, because it will probably be hard for your people too! Through this process, you might be able to weed out songs that you thought were good, but might just be a little to “tricky” for an average person to learn. Once you do find a song that will work for your people, you’re going to have to play through the song several Sundays before your church “gets” it. Most people won’t instantly connect with a song on the very first Sunday they hear it, so don’t be discouraged. Keep it in the mix for a number of weeks, then give it a few weeks break. When you bring the song back, you might notice people “remembering” that song and finding joy in singing it.
You have to plan out the right time to introduce a song. If you just introduced a new song last week, then this week might not be the right time for another new song. It varies by church (some churches that are progressive might be used to new songs every week; other churches might need more time between new songs). So you got to know who your church is. Then find the right time to introduce it. Maybe during communion, or maybe as an offering song. Maybe give the history or background on the song. Better yet, find a YouTube video of the artist sharing their heart on why they wrote the song. Plan out how you’re going to introduce the song so it doesn’t become just a haphazard, “random” new song.
This certainly isn’t an all-inclusive strategy, but it’s a good start. Using these three steps will at least give you an intentional focus as you are finding the “right” songs for your church. But again, there are plenty of other strategies for introducing new songs to your church. What strategies have you used that you have found to work?