In my last post I stated the obvious you need songs. Now in this post I'll discuss the criteria. We are experiencing a great move of God as it pertains to worship music. Right now there are so many bands and worship leaders writing amazing anthems for churches across the world. Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, The Desperation Band, Charlie Hall, Matt Redman, Brenton Brown, and of course how can we forget Hillsong just to name a few. But how does a worship leader pick songs that work for the church that God has called them to lead. How do you write songs that speak to hearts in your congregation. Here's my list:
- Pick songs that are easy to sing. A lot of amazing musicians/worship leaders many times write songs or choose to play songs in their church that are fun or musically challenging, but if people can not follow you, you are not leading worship you're just performing a song.
- Pick songs you can pull off. I know this is going to make some people uncomfortable but you don't have to be an amazing musician or have a great band to be a great worship leader. When I first started leading worship at Calvary Fellowship I only knew how to play 4 chords. So I picked songs that I was able to play well. In my early years the capo was my best friend. Then as the team began to grow. I continued with this same philosophy. I picked songs that my drummer could play well, songs the guitar player was able to play well. Today I'm blessed with professional musicians that can play whatever I ask them to play. However this rule is still one that we use every single week. This Sunday the youth band lead worship in our adult service. Of all the songs that they know I choose 4 that I knew they could play skillfully and with the least amount of pressure. I knew that the mere fact that they would be on the big stage with the lights, Pastor Bob listening back stage and the entire church looking up at them was enough pressure.
- Pick songs that speak the language of your congregation. I love a good hymn. And from time to time I've tried incorporating them to what we do at CF. But the truth is this, the type of people that we are reaching at our church have no Church background. While a lot of these songs bring back memories to me and lead me to a higher state of worship, they leave the majority of our church gazing at us wondering what language we're singing in. As a worship Pastor my #1 responsibility is not to teach people how to speak in Old English or to force them to bring a dictionary to church, but to use the 20 minutes that I have to lead people into the presence of God.