Four Keys to Song Selection

This post is for those of you who are in charge of selecting the music for your church each week. Thinking through the following four questions has been helpful to me as it comes to this task:

  1. What Jesus is saying to you (personally and in regards to your congregation)?
  2. What is the scripture or topic your pastor has chosen for the day?
  3. How can you set your team up for success by what songs you choose?
  4. How can you create flow in your set?
Here are some further thoughts that correspond with the above four questions:
1. Prayer is key. Before even looking at who’s on your team for a given week or what the theme is, pray and ask God to reveal to you specific songs or themes in Christianity that you feel need shared that given week.
2. Once you know the theme, it’s good to look through your database of songs. For example if your pastor is preaching on grace, you may run across songs like “Your Grace is Enough” or “Nothing but the Blood” realizing that they would fit with your pastor’s message that week. Give the theme some thought, but don’t feel like you have to force in songs every week that tie into the sermon (depending on what your pastor says).
3. If Jesus tells you to do Lincoln Brewster’s “Today is the Day” but you don’t have the guitar player or singers to pull it off, it’s probably not a good idea. Don’t pick songs you know your team can’t play (unless you re-arrange them and make them accessible for your team). Do pick songs that your know your team can nail. Set yourself and your team up for success!
4. Some thoughts on flow:
  • Pick a couple songs in the same key so they can run together without stopping (or start in one key, modulate up a key, and have the next song in this new key you modulated to)
  • Use synth pads to create flow between songs so the music doesn’t stop
  • Show scripture or read it aloud between songs or in the middle of songs
  • Consider tools such as the worship curve
At the end of the day, it always helps me to picture leading a particular song with the particular group I have up that weekend – if I can visualize it working, it’s a good sign, if I can’t, it may cause me to reconsider the choice.
Ok, that’s my two-cents on this topic. What about you? Do you have other practices or habits that help you in regards to song selection? I’d love to hear about them and dialogue with you so we can learn together.

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