Hey worship leader chums & co,
I feel continually blessed that I am able to share so much of my heart with you. The discipline of writing week after week actually makes me keenly alert to what is going on around me, and for that I am thankful. Of course I always feel honored, so greatly honored, to have been entrusted by the Lord with the role of leading worship. There are so many more talented, so many more skilled – and then there’s me, a shining example of how God absolutely delights in employing the weak for His glory. The expression is true, then, that leading worship is merely one poor man bringing another poor man to the place he received bread.
Well. Today, I want to share a bit of what I have learned about creating a natural “progression” in our worship sets.
When you bump into a friend at a coffee shop, I can outline roughly how your conversation will go. Let’s see.. First, you’ll each exchange a happy hello, followed by a “how are you” or “what’s going on” or the like. Then you may ask how he is enjoying work, or how his girlfriend is doing, or what his plans are for the weekend. From there, depending on the length of time, conversation will gradually move away from the general and onto the personal.
Rarely do you begin a conversation with a friend by saying, “Tell me about your parents’ divorce” without first at least saying, “Hey! What’s up?”
Something I have found is that organizing a worship set is similar in several regards.
The people in our churches are coming in through the doors with all sorts of things on their minds. There will be a single mom who feels guilty about the relief that comes with dropping her kids off at the church nursery. There will be a young professional excited about her raise at work. There will be an elderly man who feels too old for God to use him. There will be a couple struggling to conceive and ashamed to admit it. There will be tension between a set of parents and their moody teenager.
The best way in our worship sets to get each of these very different people on the same page with God is to give them the opportunity to say “hello” to Him, like in a conversation. Allow people the chance to begin in the “outer courts” (where they currently are) and slowly move inward.
Choose a song that most everyone knows, addresses some general truths, and unites people to focus on Christ. After the first song, picture the rest of the set like a funnel. Move from general to personal at a pace that you feel appropriate.
To give you an idea, this is the worship set we did at Transit recently:
- God is Here – the perfect “hello” song; announces that God is with His people, and asks that we recognize this
- Open Up the Heavens – driving us to the personal part of the worship set
- Sinking Deep – getting pretty personal
- You Are For Me – super intimate!