Where To Find New Music

Matt Brady shares a few places you can find new songs for your worship catalog:

Of the many tasks placed on the shoulders of a worship leader, one of the most exciting (and stressful!) tasks is finding new worship songs to introduce into the local church. We each have our favorite sources for finding new worship songs, but there may be other options out there that you have not considered.

The list below is in no particular order, and is certainly not exhaustive. These are some of the places that I have personally used, and a few that I am going to be using more in the future. I hope this list helps you find your church some favorite new worship songs!

I love that Matt includes hymnals on this list. Where do you go to find new music for your church? Read Matt’s list here.

When To Let It Die

If you know your congregation well and listen to the Spirit, you’ll pick the right songs most of the time. Most of the time. But every now and then, every worship leader tries a new song only to have it fail spectacularly.

Kade Young on knowing when to cut a song from the rotation:

I do my best to be led by the Holy Spirit when selecting songs for my congregation, but there have been many times that my personal preference has gotten in the way. I sincerely thought my song selection was spirit-led, but soon found out that it was just something I enjoyed listening to.

Maybe you have been there? You know, that time when you were so excited to introduce the new song to your congregation…and then it fell flat. They all just stared at you with a confused look.

He explains how long it takes, in general, to know if a song is going over well with your congregation. Check it out here.

The Point Of Your Setlist

Zach Morris explains why a fancy, flashy setlist is just fine, as long as it’s doing its job:

In the last decade, worship ministries (especially youth worship ministries) have begun to grow into something big, flashy, and extravagant – making it very attractive to today’s churched and, in some cases, un-churched youth. What you’ll find at plenty of churches with a large youth ministry is a full band, loud music, fancy lights, and a set list consisting of the newest songs from the ‘cool’ or ‘relevant’ artists like Bethel and Young & Free.

You may be thinking that I’m about to say that this is not good, but that’s not my position at all. I think good presentation is great, and should be implemented (in every church’s own unique way) as often as it can be. However, I think that we, the church, have become so focused on how we present the Gospel that we’ve forgotten to actually present the Gospel in a cohesive and comprehensive way.

As Zach points out, your goal in planning a worship set should be to tell the Gospel. Supporting the theme is great, and there’s nothing wrong with modern music, but if the Gospel is absent, the worship set has failed. Read Zach’s full post here.

Five Questions To Help Move Past The Worship Wars

I find it kind of amazing that churches are still arguing over what style of music to use, but there’s hope for peace. Scott Ball explains why authenticity may be a key to ending worship wars:

Some of you are reading this post and are laughing because you thought that the “worship wars” ended years ago.

Not true.

We now stand nearly two decades after the start of the worship wars, and many churches are still stuck on the issue. At The Malphurs Group, the topic of worship styles is still sensitive and relevant to many of our partner churches. Too many churches have split (and are still splitting) over the issue of what type of music to sing on a Sunday morning. And the churches that decided to be ‘blended’ have discovered that by choosing no firm direction, they haven’t made everyone happy–they’ve made everyone discontent.

But here’s the good news: the worship wars can end today.

Scott shares five questions that church leadership can use to help get past disagreements about worship styles. Read the whole thing here.

The Beehive Hack

Gangai Victor shares a great tip to help you introduce new songs to your congregation:

We know that using new songs of worship is good.

However, engaging the congregation is better.

But, what if you could do both and be a superhero worship leader of sorts?!

While the quick and dirty solution suggested all the time is to reduce the number of new worship songs (and btw, that’s not bad advice), I think there’s a way out to make everyone happy.

Here’s how:

It’s called The Beehive Hack.

Click here to read the whole thing. Don’t let the name of this process scare you. The Beehive Hack is a really solid method for getting your church excited about learning music.

Collaborative Worship Planning

Emily Barlow explains why a team approach to worship planning can be a great thing:

When the worship service I help plan started, one thing I insisted on was that the Sunday morning service elements would be planned by a team of people and never by just one person. Though I couldn’t articulate it clearly at the time, I knew that a team approach was going to enhance the creative process. I now believe that this is only one of several good reasons to plan worship together. The people on our worship planning team may change from time to time, and the planning process may evolve, but a team has given us an effective and consistent approach to planning worship.

Emily lists three benefits of planning worship as a team instead of on your own. Check it out here.

Keeping It Fresh

Chris Horton explains a few ways you can keep your church’s favorite worship songs from growing stale:

As worship leaders, we all have our “go to” songs that we use regularly in our services. These are the songs you probably use once every 4-6 weeks. These songs speak to the season our churches are walking through. These are the anthems where we always see hands raised and hear voices sing out the loudest.

So how do we keep them fresh? Now don’t get me wrong, the Holy Spirit is the one who does the work in the hearts of the people and He is the reason those songs speak so powerfully to our congregations. But as musicians, lets be honest… We can play/sing that song in our sleep, whatever those songs are for you!

Here’s 3 easy ways to keep familiar songs fresh for our teams, our congregations and us!

These aren’t terribly difficult things, like writing a whole new arrangement or changing it to a different genre. They’re just some small, simple things you can do to keep those “worship standards” fresh and new. Check it out here.

Two Ways To Get Off Course

David Manner explains why constantly looking back and only looking forward are both ineffective ways to plan and lead worship:

Nostalgia is sentimental remembrance of previous times or significant events that continue to stir happy or meaningful personal recollections. Nostalgia in reasonable doses can provide a sense of comfort. But too much can have a negative effect perpetuating the belief that an earlier time is preferable to present day conditions…

Novelty is the quality of being new, original or unusual just to be new, original or unusual. A novelty entertains for a short period of time until another novelty surfaces.

Excellent things to keep in mind as we select songs and plan services. Check out the whole thing here.

What Season Is It Again?

Sometimes worship leaders get seasonal whiplash from planning ahead. You might be singing Christmas carols on Sunday, but you’re already thinking about Easter.

Katie Roelofs calls this “Liturgical Confusion”:

I’ve only been in worship ministry for 11 years, which I know is likely less time than many of you. But each year, I feel a growing sense of what I call “liturgical confusion.” Our job requires working ahead – often several weeks or even months in advance. Our worship calendars with preaching schedules, choir anthems, guest ministers, special missionary presentations, accompanist schedule, instrument involvement and so on are laid out before us with Sundays flying at us like fast balls in the batting cage. And the working ahead makes me feel liturgically confused. When the congregation is celebrating Christmas, singing their “Joy to the Worlds,” I’m already glowing with the light of Epiphany and dabbling with the “L” word. Then when the big “Lent” rolls around, I’m already into Holy Week and beyond.

Do you experience liturgical confusion or seasonal whiplash as a worship leader?

Check out Katie’s full post here.

Six Ways To Help The Service Flow

One thing that drives me nuts in a worship service is “dead air” – not intentional silence, but awkward pauses. And there’s a world of difference between the two. An area that’s especially prone to an awkward silence is the gap between songs, but you can fill that space.

Matt McChlery shares six tips for a service that flows smoothly:

Flow is an important element of a worship service that needs to be thought out and planned in order for a service to move seamlessly from one part to another. There are many aspects to worship (it’s not just the ‘singing bit’) and parts to a church service, so invariably the things that help to create smooth transition and flow from one section to another are numerous and varied. In this post I will share a few musical ideas to help with flow in the sung part of a church service.

Check out Matt’s full post here. Great advice for filling in those gaps.