Thursday Training – Choosing Songs for Worship

Ryan Egan —  November 11, 2010 — 4 Comments

Photo of a Hymnal

Do you have a process that you utilize to chose the songs and hymns you use for a worship gathering?  Or is your decision-making arbitrary or based on the fact that you just “like the songs?”  It’s very important to have solid reasons for choosing the songs that you choose. Here is my process:

First and foremost: Is God, in all of His nature, revealed clearly?

The most important criteria when choosing a selection of songs is that God is represented clearly and accurately. This includes:

  • His grace (He has offered this help to us freely)
  • His wrath (songs we pick must help drive home the point that we are sinners in need of His help)
  • His triune nature (try to make sure the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are represented)
  • His attributes (we obviously can’t mention every single one of His attributes in song every gathering, but songs must clearly show one or more of them)

Are the Songs Singable?

  • Is the key appropriate and attainable for the average singer?
  • Do the rhythms work well in your congregation’s demographic?
  • Would the lyrics take too much time to explain or are they self-explanatory? (“Here I raise my Ebenezer” or “like a sloppy wet kiss” being examples from both traditional and modern music that would need to be explained)

Will the Songs be Sung by all Generations?

In our case, we have a very multi-generational worship setting. I want the songs that are picked to be able to be sung boldly by both the seasoned and the youth of our congregation.  Youth should be expected to have an appreciation for hymns and, in the same manner, the older generation should be expected to have an appreciation for the modern music of our culture.

As I pick songs for worship gatherings I want them to give an accurate picture of God’s entire nature, be singable, and be proclaimed by every generation.

What is your process for choosing songs for worship?

(photo by MissBee on Flickr)

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Ryan Egan

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Ryan is a follower of Christ, husband, father, worship leader, & creative. He is heavily involved in the Association of Free Lutheran Churches and desires to teach others to live a life of worship in everything they do.
  • Carey Arnold

    You mentioned that one criteria for choosing songs is that they represent His wrath. I would just like to add that in our church, whenever we sing a song that mentions God’s wrath we make it a point to remind the congregation that God displays His wrath against SIN, not against US.

  • iamanoffering

    Hi Carey, you are very correct in that we have to be careful to make sure we clarify that God’s wrath is against sin but if you dig deeper it ultimately is against us. We make a decision to disobey God, through sin. We are, by nature, sinful people, therefore receiving God’s wrath against us because of sin. You can take a look at Nahum 1:2 and several other passages to research this further.

    However, it is ABSOLUTELY crucial that, while we do not forget to mention God’s wrath, specifically against sin, as you mentioned, that we never, EVER talk about his wrath without talking about His incredible mercy and that Jesus has taken that wrath upon Himself for us at the Cross. THAT is why we sing, worship, and even believe and embrace our faith in the first place!

  • Gangai Victor

    Very sensible points Ryan!

    I’d like to add songs of the Cross to this list. One more question I ask is: is the song playable considering the musical/singing abilities of the worship team?

    Also, may I request you to check out this article for some more points to consider when evaluating songs for use in worship:, wud love to hear ur thoughts!

  • iamanoffering

    Thanks for your insight!