Are you a worship leader that struggles with not knowing how to create a song list, or an aspiring leader who is putting a set together for the first time? Are you leading worship for your retreat coming up and are simply unsure of where to start? Here are some things to consider when putting together a set list:
- Consider your God. Before you start thinking of songs, you must first sit at the feet of the One you are worshipping. Pray, read the Bible, wait upon God.
- Consider your speaker. Discuss with the pastor or leader what passage of Scripture or topic they will be teaching on. If you are leading for a retreat, use the theme as an influence for your set! Take in to account any major points or people in the text.
- Consider your congregation. This will determine what type of songs you choose and the keys you sing in. “Younger songs” may not be well-suited for an “older” church body. Keep in mind the songs the church is familiar with. If you are a guest, ask the pastor or leader what songs their congregation knows.
- Consider your team (including yourself). Knowing your team, whether you are part of a worship band or alone, will help determine song selection based on skill-level and flexibility. If it is just you and a guitar, choose simpler songs. If your setting calls for a full band, choosing more technical and instrumental songs works if your team is well-rehearsed.
- Consider your songs. When choosing the keys of your songs, think about how you are going to transition. Will you have songs that flow well together, or are you thinking of incorporating a Spirit-filled pause of silence? Also, make sure there is a good balance between “God-centered” songs (theologically sound) and “heart-centered” songs (more personal, i.e. Christ is Enough and Lord, I Need You).
- Consider practice. Practice on your own. Even spending ten-fifteen minutes a day helps. If you are playing on a team, send out the set list, chord charts and all, ahead of time so each member can practice individually as well. Schedule a practice time before your service to ensure everyone is in sync and all questions are covered.
- Consider flexibility. Changes happen. Sometimes you will think of doing one song and at the last second God says to do another one. Sometimes technical difficulties will cause you to pick simpler songs. Be open to what God wants you to do, and how He wants you to worship Him.
Ultimately it is the Spirit who puts together a worship set. Be open to the Lord directing you a certain way in your planning!
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