One of the biggest mistakes I see worship leaders make is their decisions on when, and how, to incorporate new songs. So much new worship music comes out every month and it makes it very enticing for us to add new songs as often as we add videos to our Instagram story. For most congregations this is a bad idea, so here are three things to consider when adding new songs.
Have A Short List of Hits
I’m a worship music junkie and listen to it all of the time, so I want to add a new song every week. But too much music can hurt more than it helps. The average attender comes to church about 25 times a year - that’s only half of the time! So some of our people might go months before hearing a song repeated at church. That’s not good.
We’ve decided to limit the amount of songs in our repertoire to 30. For six months, we will only use those 30 songs in our services. If we add a song, we take away one that has grown tired. We also try to make them all hits! If the song doesn’t hit with the congregation, we get rid of it. By doing this we will keep the best, most singable songs in our set lists and make them familiar to everyone attending.
2. Use the “1-2-4” Method
Years ago, I struggled with introducing new songs to our congregation because I didn’t have a system in place. So after trying many different options, I came up with the 1-2-4 method. Here’s how it works: introduce the song one week (1), add it again the next week (2), let it rest on the third week and bring it back on the fourth week (4). After that cycle it goes in your regular rotation. This has been a game-changer for us. Using this system helps the congregation learn the song faster and it also lets you know if the song will work for your congregation. Sometimes a song doesn’t make it to the fourth week and that’s ok. That’s why you have a system. Using this system we average a new song every month.
3. Add Purpose To The Song
When we add a new song I like to use a story or scripture to help people connect. When people can see how the song relates to their life, they find much more purpose as they sing. Here is an example from one of our services a few months back. Skip ahead to 9 minutes and 30 seconds where I was introducing the new Elevation song called, Here Again.
It took us a while to find this system, so implement these strategies as you can. I hope you find that adding these three things to your process can help make new songs more meaningful and easier to learn than ever before.