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Who picks the songs? Worship leader, Pastor, both?

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  • Who picks the songs? Worship leader, Pastor, both?

    hi everyone,

    it is a privilege to have found this website and be able to connect to you all. May God be glorified through this website!

    I've been the praise band leader for our church for the past 9 months, so I still have much to learn. I come to you fellow praise band leaders for insight and advice.

    who determines which songs will be sung for each Sunday? how does it work in your church?

    in the past, my pastor would send out his sermon outline ahead of time and I would try and pick the appropriate songs; however, my pastor started to pick about half of the songs for me. he also really wants our congregation to sing hymns, even though the average age of the audience is about 19 (I'm 30 btw). I spoke to my pastor and let him know I didn't like how he was telling me which songs to sing and asked him for more freedom in serving in my ministry. since then, he stopped telling me which songs to choose. now Im not sure I made the right call. should I ask for his input on song selections? I feel that he wants certain songs sung, but isn't telling me out of respect for me.

    thoughts?

    thanks and God bless,
    Aaron

  • #2
    Hi Aaron,
    At our church, the decisions about music selection are primarily mine. I do occasionally seek input from the pastors. With upwards of a million potential worship songs out there, there is no way I can expect to have heard every great and meaningful option--I appreciate having more ears seeking options. I will say that in this case, my pastors have really good musical taste, which helps me stay open to their ideas. I would also put out there that I am finishing my first year serving in a church which had been strictly "contemporary", musically speaking, for its entire 20 years of existence. I have begun slowly introducing hymns to our congregational songbook--I arrange them so they fit our context--and it has been beautiful, meaningful, and rich for us to begin connect to lyrics and/or music written by the saints that walked before us. It deepens our roots as the body of Christ. I would gently encourage you to keep a very open mind and heart and avoid categorizing musical options or creating false boxes-- Indulging those reflexes can keep us closed off from all that the Holy Spirit might be desiring for our congregations. Blessings on your musical and spiritual journey!

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    • #3
      Hi Aaron,

      Welcome aboard . Hopefully you find this to be a great resource.

      In our church, the leader is responsible for picking the songs. But our leader and pastor have been working together for 10+ years and complement each other well.

      One thing to consider, often by nature of the position and personality, pastors can tend to micro-manage. So it's fair for you to respectfully communicate that you feel it's more in your span of control for what songs are picked. You could certainly welcome suggestions, but have confidence in yourself as a leader to pick appropriate songs.

      The key is open dialogue and mutual respect. From your side, assert confidence in your choices but don't be overly territorial. If, on occasion, he requests a certain song or two, be open to accommodate it.
      If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

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      • #4
        Thanks for your thoughts and insights. It is helpful to me to know that you generally choose the songs. As for the hymns, my pastor asked me to do at least one hymn every other week, so I try and do at least that. In my opinion, the lyrics are extremely powerful, but I feel today’s contemporary music lyrics are just as powerful. I find the only difference between the two genres is that the hymns just sound more boring… Although, at this point I still don’t agree in singing hymns at our “young” church, I’ll continue to sing them to honor my pastor. Like you suggested Fiddlexela, I’ll try and keep an open mind to hymns. They do indeed, in general, have very powerful lyrics that hit on the fundamentals of our beliefs.

        Thanks and God bless,
        Aaron

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        • #5
          Hi Mike on Bass,

          Yeah, I think that is a good idea. I may ask my pastor if he has any songs he would like for us to sing, but not make any promises. I definitely do not want to invite him to go back to how it was where he regularly suggested songs to me, so I’ll be careful with my words. Thanks for your suggestions. I agree that clear communication is key.

          As a side note, there were so many issues I already had to deal with leading praise over the 9 months, this being one of them. I always prayed for help and depended on God to resolve everything for me. He has never let us down and He even worked undeniable miracles in our small, humble church. Our praise band literally saw God provide for our band needs, and it made us feel so loved and empowered us to carry on. May God bless you servants of God in ushering your church into the presence of God!

          Your brother,
          Aaron

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          • #6
            I choose the songs, but our pastor has the final authority. He and I have a great working relationship, and he gives me a ton of freedom in my planning. There have only been a handful of times when he has asked me to change a song or play a specific song, and I always honor those requests when they occur. It's such a rare occurrence that I know he has to feel very strongly to make those suggestions. I'm not certain of how that speaks into your setting, but it's the scenario that I'm in. As long as the communication lines are open, you're in a good place.
            Eric Frisch
            www.ericfrisch.com

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Ovangkol Spruce View Post
              T In my opinion, the lyrics are extremely powerful, but I feel today’s contemporary music lyrics are just as powerful. I find the only difference between the two genres is that the hymns just sound more boring...

              Thanks and God bless,
              Aaron
              Aaron,

              A good resource you can check out from here is from one of our forumites, Nick Alexander. He's a great resource for all things hymn related. You can find many posts under his name with links to new resources, webcasts, "how-to" tools, just about anything you can think of when it comes to hymns.

              I really have to say though, there is some great powerful music in those old hymns. Yes, some of the music styles and verbiage is dated, but that stuff can be tweaked (again, check out Nick's stuff for tips on how to modernize hymns). The biggest difference I see in the hymns versus much of the current contemporary music is the hymns tend to focus more on Christology- Jesus as our Savior and Lord and repentance/remission of sin. It's often tied more directly to theology and doctrinal truths where many times modern stuff is more grace & love with a 'me/I' focus. Not to say it's always the case, but they do have some distinct traits. They can really complement each other well.

              There is some real truths in the hymns. Once you get past the dated language and song styles they can hold their own with modern stuff all day long.

              I had to chuckle at the 'boring' comment. I like all kinds of music, so it's not a style thing, but I've often said the same thing about contemporary praise music. Same chords, same key & progressions, same bass & drum lines, etc. There's a lot of sameness in things coming out lately.

              So hang in there, you'll be ok, just keep an open mind to the hymns, and think of it as a new challenge. It's certainly something you can use to expand your musical palette.
              If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

              Comment


              • #8
                In the past I've sometimes felt the same way about some of the old hymns. Possibly because I was over-saturated with them as a kid. However if you're creative you can definitely breathe new life into many of these songs. We recently had the opportunity to add "The Old Rugged Cross" to our lineup of songs. I did a bit of research on YouTube and found an old Elvis version of the song in which they had added some nice coloration chord progressions. We took that basic version and did it using acoustic guitar, Bass and light drums and a more contemporary vocal arrangement and breathed some new life into it. I won't dismiss them anymore as I now see it as an opportunity to be creative and revive them in a way that's very pleasing and meaningful.
                The Posse Band live performance tracks can be heard by CLICKING HERE

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