Choosing Songs For Worship

 Choosing Your Songs For Worship:

Sung worship is a really important aspect of a worshipping community – it can also be one of the most difficult to get right. When you are starting a café style service from scratch there are lots of questions that need to be asked. Do you go with hymns, choruses or contemporary worship songs or a combination of all of them? Do you need chords or sheet music? Where can you get your music from?

For advice on the technical side of sung worship including choosing a PA system and the importance of sound checks please read “Sung worship –The Technical Bits”. If you only have musicians occasionally or perhaps have none at all please see the document “Help! We have no musicians!” This document will deal primarily with the practicalities of leading sung worship regularly with a musician or musicians.

Choruses, hymns or something else?

The first question that a lot of people will ask when thinking about worship music for a new service is “What kind of music should we use?” This is a really important question as the style of music you choose will affect the way that your services feel and the way that people engage with them in a big way.

The first thing you need to do is take a practical look at the musicians that you have available. There is no point in deciding to do Hillsong or Soul Survivor style worship songs if you don’t have a musician who is comfortable playing them. Equally if you have got a guitarist who has only really played more contemporary music it is unlikely that they’ll be able to make four traditional hymns sound right on their instrument.

At Zone2 at Liverpool Cathedral we try to have a mix of traditional and contemporary music in our worship. We’ve found that this has worked well as people of all ages feel that they are able to connect and our musicians (we have a guitarist, a pianist and occasionally a bass player) are able to play to their strengths and help each other out.

Choosing your music:

When it comes to selecting music for your musicians things can become a little complicated. Many guitarists do not read music and so the sheet music that your pianist might appreciate is not going to be the most helpful thing. In the same way the guitar chords for a song might not help most pianists. Your musicians will know what works best for them. There are plenty of song books out there that come with both chord sheets and sheet music to cater for this but at Zone2 we mainly find our music online and buy it as we need it.