Planning Sundays Songs-Plan Thematically
Featuring Bob Kauflin Posted on January 4, 2011
Our unchanging theme every week is the grand story of deliverance that God accomplished for his people through the life, death, and resurrection of JesusChrist. We want to remember this, rehearse it, celebrate it, and respond to it.
But we also have the opportunity to highlight a specific aspect of how thatglorious gospel reaches into our lives and affects us now. This provides a focus for both our songs and thoughts.
Themes can come from a variety of places. One common source is the sermon. Songs are chosen to highlight the theme of that week's message. But we've often found it more effective to use a particular point from the previous week's message. That reinforces the importance of last week's sermon and gives us an extended opportunity to meditate on and respond to a particular aspect of it.
Here's an example. One Sunday we wanted to teach Matt Redman's song “Nothing but the Blood.” To introduce it, I shared something like this:
“Last week, we heard how God sent Jonah to the people of Nineveh to warn them of the coming judgment. But Jonah ran away because he hated the Ninevites and was surprised that God was showing them compassion.
“It's easy to be surprised when God shows compassion to certain people—people we think are beyond hope, offensive, and definitely objects of wrath. At least in our eyes. But whenever we gather as the church, God wantsus to remember that at one time, we too were objects of wrath; we were his enemies, destined for destruction. Ephesians 2 tells us that God is rich in mercy, and 'because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.'
“God showed his tender compassion to the Ninevites by sending them the prophet Jonah. He showed us compassion by sending his only Son. And through his blood shed for our sins, we can know his mercy and graceforever. We want to teach you a new song this morning that helps us recall the compassion that God demonstrated so clearly at the cross.”
A theme might also arise from your personal devotions, from a memorable and powerful line in a song, or from a desire to teach a certain aspect of worship.
I'll often share a specific thought on the theme (or have someone elseshare it) after or during the first two songs. I want to discourage the impression that we have to warm up to worship. The sooner everyone's minds and hearts are engaged with the songs we're singing, the more benefit they'll see in their lives.
A theme can be woven throughout a group of songs, such as those that emphasize God's mercy or power. Themes can also be communicated through Scripture, a song, or a prayer.
The important thing is that at some point we give people a handle so they understand what they should be focusing on.
Other Posts Featuring Bob Kauflin
- Why Confession Is Good for Your Soul and Your Church with Bob Kauflin
- Planning Sunday's Songs-Plan Contextually
- Focus on Projecting Lyrics
- Music Should Display Variety
- Hearing Familiar Words in a Fresh Way
- Planning Sunday's Songs-Plan Selectively
- Planning Sunday's Songs
- Selecting Sunday's Songs-Plan Creatively