Teaching Worship Songs To A Congregation

Featuring John Telman Posted on May 2, 2008

Choosing Songs
First, a song should be a good quality song that people will remember when they leave church. The hope is that people will continue to sing songs of worship all through their week. It is hard to do so if the song has many words, does not have good rhyme structure, and if the song makes a person confused by what it says. When choosing a song, it should center on God. God should be the object and or subject of the song. If a song does not make a clear reference to the Godhead, it should be avoided. A song should be chosen because it leads people to love Jesus more. If the song diverts the attention away from the beauty of who God is, it should be resisted, no matter how nice the music sounds.

Introducing Songs
Secondly, a song should be introduced in as many ways as possible. A pastor can preach a sermon that will include thoughts from the new song. He might even quote the song in the sermon. Posters of the lyrics to new songs can be made. The lyrics can be put into the newsletter one week before singing it. During prayer time and when the service ends, a new song can be sung as people are dismissed so the congregation can begin to hear it before it is actually included in the worship time. Another idea is to play a recording of the song before and after a service. The pastor can also mention that the new song, can be found on a certain album (name the artist and album title) so that people can purchase the CD at a local christian bookstore. He can also encourage people to include the new song in their personal worship experience. The Holy Spirit can and will inspire many ways to teach the new song if we listen to his prompting.

Leading Songs
Thirdly, the singers and musicians should know the song well before actually leading the congregation in it. Not only the singers, but also the musicians, should have the song memorized and internalized into their personal worship experience before leading a congregation. The more a musician sings a song, the more the congregation will catch the song.

The singers and musicians should be freed from reading the words off the video monitor. It should be alive in them. A worship leader prepares well by informing the singers and musicians as closer to one week in advance that a new song will be sung so that they can begin to include the song in their lifestyle of worship.  The pastor should also be well prepared. He leads the congregation in worship. If he is not fully engaged in worship, others will be distracted and will tune out.

The pastor should know that a new song is being introduced in advance of it being sung. The new song should be used in an appropriate way. It should not be the first song sung and should not be the last one sung either.

In all that we do with the song, we must be intentional. We must be intentional when choosing the songs, when and how we introduce songs, and when we lead songs. Like a pot of food cooking on the stove a song should be bubbling up with in us because of the flame of the Holy Spirit, inspiring us to lift a new song unto the Lord.  

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