Every church is different. Some churches introduce multiple new songs to their congregation every week. Some churches introduce one new song every week. For us, things are a little bit different.
The ultimate goal in everything that we do as a worship team is to lead people to a meeting place with Christ. Our song selections are extremely important in that mission and we plan our worship sets around it. We also want our congregation to participate and enjoy the songs we do. Here at MPBC, we really try to approach this task with utmost caution. Why? Because we give ourselves about 9 shots at this per year. In my research I've found that is a bit less than other churches. So, why are we only doing 9 new songs per year? We introduce 1 new song per month. With our church and team schedules, we allow 2 months during the summer that we aren't introducing a new song to the congregation, then beginning in December, we're in the thick of Christmas music. So, that leaves us with 9 opportunities to pick out great songs for our church.
With only 9 new songs per year, we have to be very intentional about what we're singing. We want our people to sing. We want them to be led to Jesus. We don't want them to be inundated with new songs so often that all they can do is just listen because everything is so unfamiliar. We want our congregation to really learn the songs we're doing so that they can participate when that song is in the rotation again. We want the songs we do to mean something to our congregation. We even want our original songs we write to model this. We want songs to bless the family that is struggling to make it to church that morning. We want songs to bless the person who is lonely. We want songs that bless the broken. So, we are very intentional when it comes to new songs. We have found what songs our congregation responds to, so when it comes to picking out new music, we have to ask ourselves if it will truly bless our people and if it will speak to them. Will they participate?
Another reason we allow ourselves 9 songs per year is because we really want our band to become great at playing the song. If we had new songs every week, that means the previous song we learned doesn't get played as much so we don't have the opportunity to really get good at the song. We strive for excellence on our team and we want to honor the Lord in what we do, so we practice our craft and get good at it. I feel that it's only responsible of us with what we have been given. We spend time on the new songs we're learning. We make sure we have all the stops. We make sure instruments aren't playing on top of one another. We make sure that guitar tones and piano sounds are correct and match the song. We believe that every small detail builds the song.
We also want to make sure these songs are sound. We analyze each and every line of the song. We want to make sure they will connect with our people. Is it the most popular worship song in the country right now? That's great! If our people wouldn't sing it or enjoy it...guess what...we aren't doing it. One of the things that I love about MPBC is that we know who we are, and we know who we aren't...plain and simple. We embrace what works...here.
If you're a worship leader in your church and you posses the task in helping pick out new music, then I encourage you to do the same. Find what works. There are a lot of great songs out and I think they will just keep coming. Figure out what works in your church and maybe what doesn't. Be intentional about what you sing. Consider your people. Don't feel like you have to do it because it's the biggest song out right now. Embrace who you are and what Jesus wants you to be.