Song choice is such an important aspect to any service and can be a daunting task for any church’s music leader. And every church has its own unique preference for music. Some churches prefer loud and heavy rock music. While others prefer southern gospel or hymns. I personally came from a church that had four services for different preferences in music, which were modern, contemporary, traditional and southern gospel. So, as you can see, the possibilities are many and therefore the possibilities can feel overwhelming when choosing songs for a Sunday service.
When I help other ministry leaders grow (especially in this area), I always steer them to first create a vision for their church’s music ministry with the help of their pastors and/or leadership team that begins with their church’s vision. At Gateway our church vision is to “connect people to Jesus Christ and one another.” So, our vision for music ministry begins with that statement. We desire to create music that connects people to Jesus Christ and one another. Sounds easy, right! Well, out of that vision we take the next step of incorporating our values as a music ministry.
The Gateway Music Ministry has five values that we strive towards. We desire to create worship that is Biblical (every song can be directly tied to scripture), Christ Centered (not ME centered), Modern (apart from hymns, we try to play songs released within the past 5-7 years), Excellent (we do not want to create distractions so we value excellence in our music) and Contextual (our music is going to be different than music from our children program and it should match the church’s demographic). Of course there are exceptions to some of the values, but the two KEY values are Biblical and Christ Centered. All of our songs MUST but Biblically based and centered upon Jesus Christ.
To bring it together, our vision for the music ministry at Gateway is to “Create music that connects people to Jesus Christ and one another through songs that are Biblical, Christ-centered, modern, excellent and contextual.”
Once a vision is in place, it is relatively easy to select songs for Sunday mornings. We at Gateway, through prayer, filter all of our songs through that lens as best as we can. We then find out where the Pastor is going in his message that week and we attempt to use music to continue the message that the Lord has given him. Sprinkle a little (sometimes very little) personal preference of whoever is leading music in a given week, and you have songs for a Sunday service!
Selecting songs for a service can be overwhelming with the different preferences of the musicians and the congregation, even after all of that. And in the end, there will be people that don't personally connect with your church’s vision for music, and that is OK. However, with a vision and value system in place, a music leader will alway have their church as a whole in mind when selecting songs.
Speaking of song selection, here are the songs we will be singing this week. Check them out and test them through the filter!
Worship The King
Love Changes Everything
Give Thanks To God