Last month I started a discussion about why and how we choose certain songs as worship leaders. I talked about the spiritual elements as well as the necessity for songs to be easily sung as a congregation. This month I want to show you more of my personal process for choosing songs for us here at Koinonia Fellowship. I think it is so important to talk about the reasons why and how we pick songs in order to have a deeper understanding of the ministry as a whole.
Since I started on staff here at Koinonia, I have been asked a few times, “What do you do all day at work? Just sing and listen to music?” It is hard not to laugh when I am asked these questions, but I think it also brings to the surface a misunderstanding of the role of ministry leaders in the church. My main goal and purpose in this ministry is to edify and help bring the body of Christ into the presence of the Holy Spirit. The biggest way I am able to do that is in the song choices God lays on my heart.
My first step in choosing songs for a service is to read the Scriptures and pray over them. Pastor Ray and I are always working to create a worship experience that draws people to the feet of Jesus. I believe the best way to do that is to align the themes of the songs I choose with the theme of the message. I do not believe that choosing songs based on personal preference or style is helpful in leading a congregation. We definitely each have our own style, but songs need to be chosen on merit not simply because they “sound good”.
This brings me to the next step in my process. When I am considering adding a new song to our repertoire, I always test the lyrics against the Word of God. We are all going to have slightly different opinions theologically, but my goal is always to introduce songs that are Biblical and strong lyrically. I never want to get to a place where I choose songs simply because I like how they sound. I always want to choose songs because they glorify and honor God.
Lastly, I always think about the set in order of the worship service as a whole. For example, I like to start with a faster song that will get the congregation excited to worship our Savior! I try to place songs that are more familiar at the end so that the body can really respond to the message. This is also why we switched from having one song at the end to two. Our desire is for people to have more time to respond to the words they have heard and really allow the Holy Spirit to do a work in their hearts.
Thank you for sticking with me and hearing my process for choosing songs! I hope it is helpful for you. I am always open to hearing your thoughts on songs that we have sung, and I am glad we can have those conversations. But I want to assure you that I do not choose songs at random and that much prayer and time is spent each week to make sure that we are worshiping God in all we do!