Song Selection

After a discussion today about song selection, it made me think about how I choose songs for a worship set.  There are many ways to do this, but here’s the initial process I go through.

  1. First Question: What are the key verses being preached or what is the series or conference theme?
    1. This hasn’t always been the first question I ask when prepping for a set, but hands down it is the one I ask now.  When you sing the verses or ideas that were preached, it is really powerful and strongly reinforces the message.
    2. I will often ask the speaker if they have any suggestions.  Often they do and it’s really helpful to know what songs the Holy Spirit has highlighted to them as they’ve prepared the message.
    3. The main reason behind this question comes down to theology.  What’s cool about worship music is that people will leave singing truths about God and those words will renew their minds to those truths as they sing them throughout the week.
    4. An example of when this worked well, the message was on grace.  Here was my set:
      1. Your Grace Is Enough
      2. Rooftops
      3. Grace Like Rain
      4. It Is You
      5. My Chains are gone reprise (Amazing Grace)
    5. Concepts of grace were sprinkled throughout each song and it was a powerful encounter with God that weekend, and a great reinforcement of the message.  🙂
  2. Second Question I ask: Do I connect with the song?
    1. If I can’t connect with the song, meaning, if I can’t connect to God and worship him authentically, 90% of the time, I won’t use the song.
    2. This comes from my underlying value that I’m not leading people anywhere that I’m not going.  So in essence, we (the band) worship Jesus and invite people into that worship.  Sometimes there are moments it will be the other way around, and the people will lead us, which is always cool.  But the bottom line is that we’re authentically worshiping.
    3. There are times when you need to lead a song that you just don’t connect to.  One example was last Easter when I lead Victory In Jesus.  It went so well with the sermon that we decided to do it.  I just couldn’t get passed the style. 😉  But, I decided to go for it and lead it anyway since others really liked it.  The words are powerful and I just focused there and gave it all I had. Would I do the song again?  Hopefully not. 🙂
  3. Other Questions I ask:
    1. What songs are on my heart?
      1. Always important because God is always speaking fresh things.  When we lead out of fresh encounters with Him, it’s not only powerful for us, it’s powerful for the people.  God will often use what we do in private, in the “secret place,” very powerfully.  Again, if you’ve been there, it’s easier to take people with you.
    2. Where does God want to take people?
      1. What is the truth he wants them to remember?
    3. Then, very practically, what keys work well together?
      1. Haha, I know, very spiritual. 😉  But when you can transition from song to song easily, it can make for a great journey in worship.

This is not an all inclusive list of how I choose songs, but it gives you an idea of how I get started.  Eventually, I’m sure I’ll develop some sort of acronym.

There are also some great methods out.  Here’s a good article from Inside Worship on Song Selection, which describes the Disciple’s Model using the Lord’s Prayer.  It’s good. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Daniel Goulet

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