The worship time is probably one of the most important moments in our church gatherings. Having a good praise and worship set list can really make a big difference for the service by helping people to get closer and encounter God.
Being well prepared for a worship set does not only mean to prepare a list of a few songs. In order to accomplish our task, there are a few things we need to consider, and if applied, they will allow us to be efficient and move with freedom.
In this article, we are going to look at some guidelines that will help up us to arrive well prepared to our times of worship, allowing them to be fluid, without interruptions or lack of flexibility.
Having a wide repertory
Having a wide repertory is fundamental. Having a wide selection will give us more chances to find the right song, for “that particular moment”.
I would suggest to choose the songs and make a list not so much based on the speed and the style, which can also be important, but from the lyrics.
The more songs we know, the more we will be able to pick the appropriate lyrics.
Cover different themes
Having a wide repertory is as important as having many themes covered. By themes, I mean different topics, for example:
Songs of encouragement: songs that encourage people; usually used when people are facing hard times and God wants to encourage, restore, etc.
Songs of celebration: songs that are joyful and usually celebrate the victory we have in Jesus, but could be about any kind of celebration.
Songs of repentance: these songs are usually used when we are called to repent and come back to God; maybe we are crying out to God for Him to heal the land, etc.
Songs of exhortation: with this type of song we can encourage people to go deeper with God, go out in the world, fulfill the calling, and any kind of exhortation.
Songs of proclamation: these songs usually proclaim the characteristics of God; they talk about His majesty, that He is king, that He reigns, etc.
Songs of intimacy: these are usually the ones that speak about His love and all the aspects of a love relationship; they allow people to have an intimate time with the Holy Spirit.
Knowing and covering a variety of topics will allow us to be well prepared for most situations. Of course, there is nothing better than being free to follow the Holy Spirit. He will give you the right words and the right songs for any kind of situation. God wants to meet with us more than we want to meet with Him.
Know the songs by heart
I love the analogy of learning songs by heart, as if the songs were written directly on our hearts. We need to have familiarity with the songs we are playing and singing. Which emotion does the song bring up? What do the words mean? How does it speak to me?
By doing this, not only will we be very familiar with the song, but also we will be able to use it at any time. Maybe we could do a medley and insert just a section of a song because the words are just what we need for that specific moment.
Basically, by knowing our songs we will be able to move freely without relying only on our lists, though they are very important and should be well prepared.
Be careful with the transitions
Many worship teams struggle with the transitions, and this could mean that you lose people along the journey. By losing people, I mean having them lose their focus on God by getting distracted. It’s so easy to allow distractions to come into our times of worship, and by having bad transitions, we are facilitating this situation.
The songs should move from one to another in a smooth way without interrupting the music. By doing this, we are allowing people to stay connected with God. This does not mean that we should never stop, but, at the same time, continuous interruptions won’t create an easy environment for the people and can make our worship time sound like a concert.
To make an analogy, imagine you are at a nice restaurant having a romantic meal with your beloved, and every five minutes something happens to interrupt the atmosphere. This might be great for a funny movie, but it’s not ideal to continuously interrupt the flow of the Holy Spirit during a time of worship. It’s like interrupting a dialogue that is happening between God and His people.
In order to have smooth transitions, it’s necessary to know how to go from one key to another. If we aren’t very good at this then it should definitely be something that we work on improving. Don’t worry, there is no need to do fancy transitions. What’s important is to keep the “flow” going.
Be familiar with your instrument/art
Having confidence and familiarity with your instrument (the voice is also an instrument) or with whatever art you’re using, will allow you to focus more on the Holy Spirit without worrying about your execution/playing.
Technique is a tool that allows us to move with freedom, giving us the capacity to express what we need to say. It’s like having a vocabulary — the more words we know, the better we can communicate a message. Technique must never be the end goal of any art form, it is simply a tool.
The focus has to always be on the message, not on how we expose it. We can have a great vocabulary, but if our content is meaningless, we will miss the point.
Praise and worship set list preparation
Our preparation for our praise and worship set list is not only about preparing songs and works of art. It’s about understanding from God where He wants to take us. Spending time in prayer and in fellowship with God in our preparation is the key to a successful worship set. Prayer is even more important than our technical preparation; but if we are able to combine the two together, it will surely be a success and people will be blessed.
Praise and worship ministry, like any ministry, must come out of a place of intimacy and passion for God and our ministry. Leading worship must be a joy! This does not mean that it won’t cost us anything, but at the same time, ministry without passion is like a fireplace with no flame.
I hope you enjoyed this article, feel free to ask any questions or to leave a comment below.
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