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How many songs do you play during worship?

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  • How many songs do you play during worship?

    Hello All!

    I am struggling with the amount of worship songs we play when we meet. We have our normal service on Wednesday Nights at 6:33 PM and would ideally like to be out of there by 7:45 PM. I'll just give you a rundown of what we did tonight.

    2 Songs
    Baby Dedication
    1 Song
    1 Song
    Q & A

    When I first started leading worship here we meet on Sunday and people didn't seem to mind if we went over time, it was almost expected. Most Sundays I would have 6 different songs for a service. But now I feel like the later we go and the more people (including me) gripe about it being late and being hungry I start cutting songs. So it went from 6 songs to 4 songs being very spread out through the service. And even with just 4 songs we normally go over by at least 15 minutes, till 8. Which means everyone is finally gone for me to lock up by 8:30...Which means I'm finally having dinner at 9:00 and getting home by 10:00.

    But having 2 songs together and then the others all by themselves, I just don't feel like people have time to get into "worship mode". I know worship is way more then just the music (or it should be), but we all know the importance that is placed on music in the modern church.

    How can I fix this? How many songs do you play each service? How long does your service go? Are your songs together? Spaced apart? Does anyone clap anymore?! Are you up then down up then down? Do you just stay on stage the whole time? How do you fit everything in?

    For the lack of a better phrase I feel like we are trying to stuff 10lbs of crap in a 5 lb bag! Do we need to cut back? Do I need to just take charge as a spiritual leader and say we are doing more songs and worship...you can leave if you need to?!

    I look forward to your responses!!

  • #2
    I'd say there's a lot more trouble here than just the number of songs...
    Have you discussed the situation with your pastor?

    -mark <><


    • #3
      Put your four songs together in a block. Talk to your pastor about how you feel.

      Oh, we usually do 4/5 songs.
      Please check out my Christmas Blog at www.12daysofjesus.blogspot.co.nz


      • #4
        This order was established by the pastor (he conferred with me, but I pretty much let him have his way with it):

        2 songs
        pastor's welcome/announcements/pray for and release children to children's church
        4 songs
        Connecting Time: pastoral prayer/individual meditation or prayer/offering (this will change soon)
        1 song
        closing song (usually a reprise of one of the first two)

        So we generally play 7 unique songs, but 8 song slots. Our service generally runs between 75 and 90 minutes.

        Regarding up/down: I am up for everything except the message. During the Connecting Time, I lightly play my guitar, repeating the 6th song. During this time I release the band so they can pray if they want, then they come back for the 7th song.

        Regarding clapping: Do you mean, during the song? It's rare - If I can get my singers to start it, it happens.
        Or do you mean applause? That's kind of weird, but it does happen a couple of times each week - usually when the congregation is caught up in a song - I call it a clap offering.
        Last edited by RW James; 03-10-2011, 04:36 AM.


        • #5
          I have discussed this with the Pastor and he wants more songs. He used to be a full time worship leader and youth leader. But I take it on my shoulders to cut songs so we don't end up staying till 9 on a weeknight. And I definitely meant clapping during songs. And if we put all 4 songs together there is no opening song, no closing reflective song, just a chunk of songs...


          • #6
            We play 8 most weeks.
            1) prelude
            2-4) opening block (usually have congregation greet one another between songs 2 &3
            5) song after confession/assurance of forgiveness
            6) Offertory
            7) Closing song
            8) Postlude

            We are time challenged because our service is Sunday am at 8:30 and people need to get to Sunday school and there is a traditional service afterwards so we can't really run long.


            • #7
              Depends on who is leading at our church, but I tend towards fewer songs rather than more. I really don't like doing 6 songs...4 or 5 is my preference, but I like to hang on them. I find that with a lot of songs, it begins to feel a little schizophrenic in terms of the message the songs convey.

              I would certainly consolidate your singing times though...the piecemeal thing just never feels right, especially if the band is coming off the stage between "sets". Continuity and flow are sacrificed if there is too much movement and jumping around.


              • #8
                Looking at the sample service order you gave, it seems to me that if you want a shorter service, something is going to have to get cut. It wouldn't have to be music, but it would have to be something. Here's a normal week for us:

                -3 Songs
                -Announcements/Offering (~5 minutes)
                -1 Song

                That service is normally about 70 minutes long. We've been very intentional about keeping the announcement time short so as to leave more time for teaching and creative elements. Bottom line from my perspective is that if you and your pastor want to add more songs, you would pretty much have to trim somewhere else. There are only so many minutes in the day.
                Eric Frisch


                • #9
                  We usually have 8 or 9, and we've got our services cut back to 60-65 minutes (primarily by cutting the message down from 45 minutes!).

                  We have a gathering song that we back up to 3-4 minutes PRIOR to the service start time, so that the song ends and the welcome begins right at start time, so that song doesn't count in our hour.

                  After our welcome/apostles creed/invocation, we do a 2-song praise set.
                  then we have the children come up for a blessing (short, band stays up)
                  Then we have a song of prep leading into the scripture/sermon. Band leaves after this.
                  After the sermon, the band comes back up and we have a song of response during the offering (this is a "performance piece", we'll drop in new songs here so that the congregation can become familiar, or it's songs that aren't very congregational friendly).
                  Then we have our response time, which is baptisms/joinings/mission announcements, blah blah blah. ;P
                  Then we have communion, which musically always begins with the doxology, then anywhere from 1-2 more quieter, contemplative songs while people take. When the last person leaves the altar, the band wraps it up. Then after the benediction we have our sending forth, which is just the chorus of "salt and light", played much faster than usual!


                  • #10
                    Wow, 8 or 9 songs is a lot. If you average 4 minutes per song, that's a whopping 35 minutes of music easy. Double a chorus or 2 and you're looking at 40 minutes or more. With announcements and everything else, that may only give the preacher 10 minutes! Besides, depending on your band, that many songs may not give them the time they need to practice and be prepared. I know with the amount of prep I do each week, 8 or 9 songs would be a part time job!

                    Our average service is around 75 minutes. Here's what we do:

                    4 songs (20 minute limit)
                    Announcements/Offering (<3 minutes)
                    Video, etc.
                    Message (45 minutes or so)
                    Song of Reflection (not always)

                    So, our longest sets are 5 songs. 4 worship songs and maybe a Song of Reflection.

                    Transitions and dead space eat up time in a service. Bundling your elements by who is doing them cuts down on this. Also, most churches I have been to do too many announcements. I say 180 seconds of announcements at the most.

                    If we do communion, we usually take about 6 - 10 minutes for that and have to budget accordingly.

                    Things like baby dedications are planned on weeks where they might fit the message. Sometimes, they get their own service with a message to match.



                    • #11
                      The first church my wife and I attended had 45 minutes of music (with a few prayers) and 45 minutes of message. That seems long, but when the music and the message are both good, it flies by.


                      • #12
                        We typically do 4-5 songs.

                        Our order of service is usually something like this:

                        1. Song #1 (sermon series song)
                        2. Song #2 (praise song)
                        3. Song #3 (Worship/Prayer song)
                        4. Prayer/anointing time....only instruments play
                        5. Sermon
                        6. Song #4 (Worship/Prayer/reflection song)
                        7. Offering (instruments play)
                        8. Song #1 (Sermon series theme song, as people are leaving)

                        We usually go an hour and a half tops.


                        • #13
                          Below is a typical order of worship for us. In fact this is the set list/order for this Sunday. We go between 75 and 90 minutes depending on baptisms. It seems that you are worried about "getting out of there" I am not trying to be hateful here, but if you don't have a desire to just worship all night maybe you should consider if this is right for you. Does your team have trouble learning songs? It can be tough with difficulties in song prep. If that’s the case splitting up rehearsal between vocals and instrumentals might help for awhile. What about if the church had a pitch in before every service. Simple food that is quick to make, imagine the fellowship before hand. You and your family could eat together & you would not have to wait so long for supper. Good post, it brings up great conversation. Thanks.

                          Call To Worship: “I Am Free”

                          Welcome & announcements

                          Praise Songs:
                          “You Are God Alone”
                          “All Because Of Jesus”
                          “A New Hallelujah”

                          Scripture Reading:
                          John 11: 1-4

                          Offering: “Your Love Oh Lord”

                          Minister - Kirk Zimmerman
                          “To God Be The Glory”

                          “I Will Rise”
                          "I Still Believe"

                          "My Hope is You"


                          • #14
                            Zachery, welcome to TWC!

                            Sorry, I am tuning in late on this thread. In your original post, you seem to mention a concern for how long rehearsals go. Have you analyzed that time? Are your rehearsals really rehearsals and not combined practice sessions? Do people come to them already well practiced?

                            Another thing to ask is how many new songs do you do? New songs tend to increase rehearsal time as you get things working together. We usually never play more than one new song at a time. And when we do have a new song, it is common for it to take up 1/3 to 1/2 of our rehearsal time.

                            To briefly answer your questions:
                            How many songs do you play each service? 4 or 5 participatory songs
                            How long does your service go? 1st service 60 min, 2nd service 90 min
                            Are your songs together? 3 together at first, 1 or 2 together at end
                            Spaced apart? Only by the message
                            Does anyone clap anymore?! Yes, usually all the time except on ballads and slower more reflective songs
                            Are you up then down up then down? Standing during songs
                            Do you just stay on stage the whole time? No, only while playing
                            How do you fit everything in? Planning, prayer, and psychology.

                            And the ultimate question, "How can I fix this?" I would say just try things and keep track of what has a positive effect.


                            • #15
                              We do 4 to 5 songs depending on the service and how the spirit is moving. After music our pastor gives the word for about 45mins then we give announcments and go eat!

                              I wish sometimes that church wasn't on a schedule. Lets do church African style and go for 4 hours!