9 Questions To Ask When Creating A Worship Setlist

As you read this, know that this is not the worship leaders guide to song choice. These are just a few things I’ve learned along the way from others and my own personal mistakes and I’m still learning much about song choice myself.

First we need to understand that apart from Him (God) we can do nothing.

Too many times, we as worship leaders, bend towards songs that we sound great singing, songs that are easy, and songs we think will tickle a certain emotion out of people. We sometimes want people to like our songs so much that we forget that we’re leading people in worship.

We can’t move people to worship no matter how hard we try, God is the one who moves hearts.  We can’t make people worship Him, He is the one who moves our hearts to a place of worship.

So first and foremost, we must pray. We must pray and ask Him what He wants us to sing. We must pray and ask Him to lead and guide us where He wants. We must pray and ask Him to move.

Have you done this? Take a look at the last few weeks. Have you asked this of the one whom we say the service is His? Have you even taken the time and prayed over your set list? Prayer and reliance on God are essential when planning for Sundays.

Choosing songs for your congregation to sing is one of the most important things that a worship leader does.

I’m not going to just assume that you already know that content is extremely important. Worship Leaders, the songs that you choose need to be in line with scripture.  Music is the one thing that people memorize most easily. Think about it; when people put a melody to something that needs to be memorized, it’s almost never forgotten.  It influences a persons life for better or worse. Don’t ask me why I still know just about every lyric to “Baby Got Back”. I’m sure, like me, when you say your ABC’s you actually sing tune in your head. The melodies and the lyrics we sing stick with people. So we need to be singing doctrinally sound truth, not songs that tickle the heart. These are the songs that your church will be singing to, about, and for God not just at the service; but during the week as well.

Here are a few key things to think about when choosing songs for your church:

1. Where are we headed as a church?

2. What are we going through as a church?

3. What scriptures prove each song to be true?

4. Have I prayed about these songs?

5. What does my pastor think about these lyrics?

6. Are these just songs that I like, or like to listen to, am I venturing out?

7. Are these songs resonating with the church?

8. Are these songs hitting home with me?

9. Where is God leading me to lead His church body?

And once you’ve nailed down the songs you want to introduce to your church, try them out. If a song works, great. If it doesn’t work, at least you’ll know!

Take some time before planning your next setlist to pray, and ask these questions. You’ll be amazed at what God will do when we are following His lead!

Jimmy McNeal

About Jimmy McNeal

Jimmy McNeal has a sincere desire for the body of Christ to devote their whole lives to worshipping God not only inside, but outside the walls of the church. Serving as one of the Worship Leaders at The Austin Stone, God continues to challenge him and his bandmates to live out the call He has placed on their lives through love, service, and missional living.