7 Strategic Guidelines for Choosing New Worship Songs

I recently blogged about looking for songs for a new service just starting. I’d love your ideas for song choices.

Current top worship songs on www.planningcenteronline.com

Here’s seven guidelines I use for choosing new songs.

  1. Think of choosing most songs as an investment.
    • Like buying a home or real estate,  the songs  we choose greatly impact the spiritual life of a congregation.
    • We are literally putting words in people’s mouths.
    •  So we should be diligent about this. Song choices are important decisions.
  2. What’s the intended life-span of this song?  Short term or long term?
    • Short term would be the occasional seasonal, special or “one-off” song.
    • Long term should have a significant up-side, it’s adding value to our worship repertoire.
  3. What is spiritually formative about this song?
    • How does this song inform our understanding of who God is, what He has done, and who we are in Jesus?
  4. How does this song fit in the mix of what we are already doing?
    • Do a gap analysis. Are there areas we overemphasize and/or under-emphasize? For example …
    • Are our songs so formal and theologically correct that we lack enough personal, emotional connection? Or …
    • Are our songs so personal and experience oriented that we lack depth or only “insiders” get it?
  5. How well known is this song?
    • It may be new to your context, but it could be well known through radio or other use.
    • If so, then it’s highly likely the learning curve will be lower. Especially if it’s a CCLI Top 100 song.
  6. Is this song short and simple? Or long and complicated?
    • One is not necessarily superior to the other.
    • If you really believe in the long, complicated song for long term spiritual formation, stick with it. “What Words Can’t Say” would be an example.
  7. Is this song a good fit for us, for the personality of the leaders, for the congregation?
    • Musical style is certainly a consideration. So is the worship team’s ability to pull it off.
    • Will singing these these lyrics resonate authentically with our collective hearts?
    • For some churches  I know,  country/bluegrass is more authentic than the Coldplay/U-2 vibe. Each congregation should recognize their unique identity and strengths.

What about you? What criteria would you use for choosing songs? What would you add or disagree with?

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5 thoughts on “7 Strategic Guidelines for Choosing New Worship Songs

  1. Excellent practical suggestions that SHOULD be thought through!

    I loved what you said about how worship leaders literally are putting words in people's mouths, when it comes to worshiping their Creator.

    They better be words of truth, and not the latest psychobabble claptrap, or worse, wrong theology.