January 14 2019
As I am planning worship each week, I have kind of a ritual I go through to arrive at the songs we are going to sing. This includes the songs for choir, congregation, and offertory. I have mentioned this several step process many times in these blogs. I want to take a moment and say it one more time.
I start by praying this same prayer. God, a song is just a song. What do You want to hear Your people sing to you this week? I then read the passage that is being used for the spoken message that week. The greatest compliment a speaker can give to the worship leader’s choice of songs is to refer back to them during the message. Obviously, that is not the motivation of picking a song, but if a song that is used in a worship service enhances the spoken message, it is best. I then meditate over the passage. Then I decide if it is time for a new song, or to use the same songs that we have used before. Where and when the song was written is not my motivation, although I have to admit, it used to somewhat play into my decision on contemporary songs. The 80s have come and gone, and even the 90s. I probably am not going to be first led to something written then. That is why it is so important to hear directly from the Lord. He might want a song written then. For instance, when I preached a few weeks ago, He brought me back to a song written in 1994! REALLY? He even brought me to one that was written in the late 80s!!!!! Can it be? Lol!!
I then start looking through analyzing the lyrical content of each song, the tempo of each song, and trying my best to strategically place them in an order. This can even effect the particular arrangement and key of a song. An example is the song “How Great Thou Art.” Written in 1885, it was slow and majestic. If we are going to do that song slow and majestic, it probably won’t be first. The more modern arrangement we use often by Paul Bolache, arranged in early 2000s is more up tempo, which starts a service not only with an upbeat song, but a statement of faith that declares the greatness of our God.
Last year for Christmas, I, along with my think tank, made a decision to not sing any part of Christmas song arrangements that was not part of the original Christmas song. For instance, we used the song “Joy to the World.” The version is an upbeat version that again, gets the service started in praise to the Lord, but there is another part that we have done in the past that has been added. I just simply cut that part out, and the melody and lyric was all traditional.
With everything, there comes those that feel I have made a mistake, and the choices I made were wrong. One person told me that the version of a particular Christmas song was “awful.” It hurt, and emotionally sent me plummeting for a moment, and yet, did I miss God? I certainly could have. That might be a question I ask Him when I get to heaven. I do know that I won’t use that version again. Lol! One thing it does do, is bring to light that even a particular arrangement of a song is important.
So I want to come back to the reason for this series of blogs. Why do we do the songs we do and why we don’t do others? So a song is just a song, but it is only the right song when ordered by the Lord.
This week, here are the songs I believe the Lord showed me for us. We begin with the Hillsong song we learned in 2018, “Who you Say I Am.” We continue with “No Longer Slaves” by David Helser and Bethel Music. Just a couple of months ago, we began singing the song “Living Hope.” Great song. We specifically sing the song “Abide with Me” connecting to the John 15 passage that is in the message. I came across a song a few weeks ago that the praise team and I will do for offertory titled “Here Again” by Chris Brown and Steven Furtick. You might want to go listen to it. We sing “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” for the response time.
Okay, love you! See you Sunday,