Choosing Corporate Worship Songs

I'm a worship leader.

That means that I'm the one on the stage on Sunday morning singing and playing worship songs and attempting to inspire and motivate the church crowd to join in with me.

In my particular situation, I am also the one that is responsible for choosing what songs we will do on Sunday mornings.

The idea and practice of picking out songs for Sunday morning corporate worship, varies, depending on the situation. Some choose the songs with prayer and concern. I've also seen worship leaders walk in at the last minute and attempt to put a worship set together in a matter of minutes.

What we as worship leaders have to understand is the importance of choosing songs for worship. It truly is a responsibility. The fact is this...people that attend our worship services will be impacted by these songs.

When it comes to choosing corporate worship songs, I try to ask myself three questions:


Relatability is about connection. Will this song connect with my church or will it go right over their heads. The songs must be accessible for the crowd in order for participation. That doesn't mean that we can't challenge our crowd and push them out of their comfort zone, but if they're not connected, then we can't expect participation, and more importantly, we will have a hard time leading them to growth points. In other words.....It's not about you. As a worship leader, I'm there to serve the church and to encourage others to point their attention towards the living and present Almighty God. I'm not there to showcase my talents and perform all my favorite songs.

What else is going on around me, the worship leader? Worship leaders, unfortunately, have a stigma of being a little self-absorbed. I've heard stories about worship leaders who behave like narcissistic rock stars who treat Sunday mornings like a gig, instead of a time to serve others. We need to remind ourselves, constantly, that there other ministries going on around us that are as or more important than our time on the stage. Look around. What is the sermon topic? How can I best serve the vision and message that God has given my Pastor? We, as worship leaders, have an amazing opportunity to help our Pastor communicate beautiful truths of God to the church every week. I am finding more and more joy in making my worship set relevant to the Word that God has for the church each week. I want to make sure that the worship set is as relevant as possible to the truths that our church will walk away with every week.

What I have learned, though, is that in order for the worship selection to be relatable and relevant, it has to be right. When I say right, I don't mean according to me. I am asking, is it right according to God? I've covered this extensively in a previous blog post, called "The Best Worship Sets". As worship leaders, it is imperative that we prayerfully select the songs for our worship sets. Ask yourself if the song is biblical. The songs that go into our church's heads will eventually go into their hearts. In other words, our songs have the tendency to indoctrinate our people. Ask yourself if its Spirit led. Is it of God? It's all for God, but it's also because of God. God knows what songs we need to praise Him with every week. We need to develop the discipline of asking Him before we start singing to Him. If something's not right in our worship set, He'll let us know. I seek God's peace in the selection. That peace is confirmation for me. The lack of peace is an indicator of the need for change.

Choosing corporate worship songs is a huge responsibility. In my experience, it's more spiritual than cerebral. The spiritual side will confirm the cerebral side...not the other way around.

The more we love and care for the people that God has put in front of us every week, the more we'll ask ourselves, "Is the worship set relatable, relevant and right?"


oudrumr8690 said...

We are SO blessed to have you as OUR worship leader at The Orchard Church! Thanks for living out your heart of worship every week! Pastor Doug

Barry Hughes said...

Very good Gary, this is what we experienced with Doug Connelly in Boise, ID. I was wondering if we'd ever find this heart in another worship leader. I'm so glad its in you and that you are a part of The Orchard Church! Barry