Worship Musician NovDec16 | Page 46

Every few months , I hear this from a worship team member : “ Omigosh — we ’ re doing this song again !?” Yes . Yes , we are .
I have to regularly remind my team ( and myself ) of this truth : When we start getting sick of a song , that ’ s just about the time the congregation is catching on . Between personal practice , rehearsals , soundchecks , and multiple services , we sing and play these songs 10 - 20x more often than the average Joe or Jane in our congregations .
So that puts us in a predicament : We can continually introduce new songs to keep things fresh for us on the worship team , or , we can stick with the same rotation of songs week after week and month after month ( year after year ), so the congregation knows them well .
So I ’ m oversimplifying a little . But it ’ s a dilemma worth talking about : the longer we rotate a song , the more the average worshiper can sing it from the heart , and not just sing it from the screen . But in that same amount of time that it ’ s taken that song to start connecting with the congregation , it ’ s becoming passé on the platform .
So it ’ s a legitimate question : Can we genuinely worship with songs that we just don ’ t enjoy anymore ?
The simple answer to that is yes . But we , as leaders and worship team members , can do a few things to keep from getting cynical about certain songs .
REMEMBER - IT ’ S NOT ABOUT PERSONAL FULFILLMENT If we view our songs as tools to serve the congregation and help us worship God , it can help us keep a healthy perspective . Think about the craftsman who swings the same hammer day after day . He knows it . He uses it for a desired purpose . He ’ s not enamored with the hammer , but by what he can create with it .
When we fall into the trap of having to be fulfilled or “ moved ” by every song we lead , we ’ re going to frustrate our congregation ( not to mention create a boatload of new-song-learning for the team ).
WHEN THE MUSIC FADES Too often with our songs , familiarity breeds contempt , or at least apathy . After awhile , we can phone-in songs or just plow through them on autopilot . But what does that say about us as lead worshipers if we ’ re yawning our way through a song that extols the power of the Most High God ?
Ditch the music and spend a little time with just the lyrics of a song that ’ s not “ moving ” you any longer . Pray them . Study the scriptures that inspired them . It could help you find that worshipful connection again that you ’ ve been missing .
WORSHIP WITH THE SONGS YOU WISH YOU WERE SINGING Our private worship time is more important than what we do on the platform . So use those newer songs that you love right now to fuel your personal worship moments . Those songs may never make it into the corporate worship rotation , and that ’ s OK .
FRESHEN IT UP Maybe an aging song needs a musical facelift . Consider rearranging or reimagining it musically to make it fresh for the team . Just don ’ t stray so far from the original that the congregation doesn ’ t connect to it .
RETIRE THE TIRED There does come a point when a song runs its course . When disconnection with the congregation begins to occur , it ’ s time to give the tune a long break or retire it indefinitely .
And finally … JUST SUCK IT UP AND SING IT It ’ s easy to worship with a 72 BPM modern worship anthem ( guaranteed to get every hand in the air by the bridge ). But what about a bouncy , early 20th-century hymn that sounds like it came from an amusement park carousel ?
Or a 90 ’ s praise chorus that sings like laundry detergent jingle ? Or that one particular tune your congregation just LOVES and your team just LOATHES ? What do you do then ?
You choose to worship . It ’ s not about faking it . It ’ s about a conscious choice to die to self and enter into worship . We ’ re here to worship God and serve others by encouraging them to worship . It ’ s not about you or me .
One final word , lest you think I ’ m saying that the popular consensus of the congregation rules your song selection .
As a worship leader , you are the shepherd of your church ’ s songs . You are the one who determines which tunes come into the fold and which ones get “ put out to pasture .” Your goal shouldn ’ t be to make your set lists as hip as possible . But it also shouldn ’ t be to keep the status quo . We ’ re called to sing new songs ( Psalm 33:3 ), but we shouldn ’ t let go of the thread that connects us with our heritage .
If you want to dig more into the concept of song selection and rotation , check out my book , The SongCycle : How To Simplify Worship Planning and Re-Engage Your Church ( available on Amazon ) or download the free guide : 7 Checkpoints of a Healthy Master Song List . ( worshipteamcoach . com / checkpoints )
JON NICOL is a worship pastor and founder of WorshipTeamCoach . com , a site dedicated to help worship leaders to build exceptional worship teams . He ’ s also the author of The SongCycle : How To Simplify Worship Planning And Re-Engage Your Church
46 Nov � Dec 2016 WorshipMusician . com