3 Tips for Building a Great Worship Set

Anytime I am putting together a worship set, I have a flood of thoughts and emotions in my mind battling for importance.  What’s gonna happen?  How will the people respond?  Are the people going to get into it?  Will the band succeed in conveying the “Awesomeness” of the songs, illustrating musical precision as we land on the hits and dive into the chorus with greatness known only to Legends of Rock?  Let’s not forget that above all, we as leaders want God to show up, do what only He can and stir the hearts of every single person in the room!  Its a heavy mantle of responsibility for the leader or team of creatives that decide upon which path worship will travel for the church on any given weekend.  With that being said, here are just a few tips I give when mentoring worship leaders in Building a Great Worship Set.

  1.  Reflect on the Energy of Each Song
    • The moment the service starts could be a breath of fresh air, a call for sleepyheads to “Wake Up,” or foreshadowing to the rest of the service.  I like to pay close attention to the energy levels in each song I lead, keeping in mind that I want to God to use me in taking the people somewhere.  We can talk about how you do this and expanded discussion for Energy levels another time, but for now its just good to mention.  Every song has it’s unique classification and this is a great tool to use in your umbrella view of the full worship set.
  2.  Watch for the Keys!
    • Every male worship leader I know has dreamed about singing the lead just like on the record, or the females wanna belt out soprano lines and bring the house down in the same fashion as the YouTube video… you know the one!  Unfortunately, we don’t all have the high tenor range of Israel Houghton or the vocal projection power of Kim Walker.  You probably already know that most people in your church or even on your worship team can’t sing those leads either.  This lack of ability can be signified by those with blank stares accompanied by hands resting peacefully at their sides.  You have the Creative License to change the key to best fit you as the leader or others on your team, and subsequently in your congregation.  We want to engage others into singing praise and lifting their voice, not silence their hearts with an impressive show of copying what someone else has done.  If you can hit those high leads and God has told you to do so, then by all means follow His leading.  If not, take a healthy step into transposing.  Your average church-goer will thank you.
  3.   Set a Goal
    • After 3, 4, 6 songs or whatever your given time for worship allows, where do you want to be?  What does God have for planned for the service?  What is the Pastor starting / ending his message with?  As worship leaders, we are setting the stage, crafting an environment which welcomes others to meet with Jesus.  Where we end up in a worship set is often more important than where we start.  People generally remember the last thing they are told.  While your first song still needs to make an impact in the grand scheme of the service, it can also be looked at as a stepping stone to the final piece of the puzzle.  This Goal is your climax of the day, the focal point, the Big Idea, the moment when all the bullet points / previous lyrics / passionate illustrations and scripture references hit home with that person who needs Jesus just as much as we do.

There are many different philosophies on worship.  I believe every leader and church has their own DNA and is built to lead like no one else.  So, use what the good Lord gave ya!  Also… he gave us others to teach us stuff we don’t know 🙂  I pray these tips would encourage you and together we can build one another up as we serve a Mighty God!

Praying for you and your team,

You Rock!

Ken