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Worship Teams – Why Your Song Choices Are Failing

In my worship leader/pastor coaching that I offer, I often hear the same story:

“I planned what I thought was the perfect service – all of my songs fit the sermon topic and they transitioned well…but the congregation didnt respond the way I thought they should.”

This usually gets the same response from me:

“How much time did you spend studying the words you were going to sing?”

The intent of the question will often go missed.  Instead, I’ll hear “I know all the words by heart” or something of that same measure.  My point, however, is deeper.

We invite a congregation to share in this beautiful worship to our God after carefully and prayerfully picking songs that go along and reinforce the sermon topic…but we rarely spend time on the words.  Yes, we may know many songs by heart – but how often have we trully meditated and dwelled on the words that we are singing?  We can’t invite our congregation to sing words – and expect them to receive the power of the words if we haven’t truly dwelled on the words ourselves.

With that in mind – a project for you for next week.  Make sure that your entire worship team and church staff has a copy of the lyrics to the songs you plan to do next Sunday.  Ask them to spend one night of personal devotional time doing nothing more than studying the lyrics.  Begin the personal time with a prayer asking God to help you to understand the words as deeply as possible – and to reveal His will through the song.  Then, read the words….don’t sing…just read.  Concentrate on every word.  What does it mean?  How does it apply?  Underline lines or words that stand out to you.  Don’t just read over the words once and be done – slowly dwell on every word.

Then, on your rehearsal for Sunday service – ask your team what stood out in each song.  Spend time going around the room giving everyone a chance to talk about the words and the emphasis that God revealed to them. Write down as many of the lines or words that stood out to your team.  Hear each song through someones else’s ears.  Then, when you’ve discussed each song – pray as a team that God will reveal something new to the congregation you will be leading on Sunday.

Then, before service on Sunday – remind your team of the powerful words and lines that had evoked such emotion earlier in the week (or, the same day if you rehearse on the same Sunday of service.)  Pray again about the songs and their impact on the congregation…and let the congregation see a genuine reflection of a team who is fully invested in each song they sing…and watch them recieve the songs with newness.

Bring more than a song.  Sing more than lyrics and words.  Worship.