Planning Your Sunday Morning Worship

As a pastor, you probably spend hours planning your Sunday sermon–choosing just the right verses, stories, and illustrations–but how much thought do you put into the Sunday morning worship music that accompanies it?

While it’s certainly easier to simply let the worship team choose whichever songs they like best, taking a bit of time to collaboratively plan your Sunday worship songs can level up both the message and the impact of your Sunday worship service. 

1. Plan Your Sermons in Advance

While we always want to leave room for the Holy Spirit to move at the last minute, as a general rule, you should try to plan your Sunday morning sermon topics far enough in advance to allow the worship team to prepare. 

This way, the worship team can find songs that support or add to the theme or tone of your sermon, rather than songs that will distract from (or accidentally contradict!) the main message you are hoping to share. 

While there are some songs your Sunday morning worship team may be able to play easily at the last minute, other songs will require your band members to have time to learn and practice the songs. You want to be respectful of your musicians by not insisting they learn new songs at the last minute or on their day off. 

2. Choose Sunday Morning Worship Songs Everyone Can Sing

It’s natural for worship leaders to want to play new praise and worship songs they enjoy. However, you want to be careful to include well-known favorites your congregation knows and can sing as well. 

Not every praise and worship song played on the radio can be sung easily by a crowd. And you don’t want the Sunday morning worship service to turn into a band performance that primarily highlights the musician’s skills, while the congregation struggles to follow along. 

There’s something powerful when everyone is able to sing along together with hearts of one accord. This is especially important on weekends when you’re likely to have a lot of new people in attendance, such as Easter, Christmas, and the weeks that follow immediately after. 

Old hymns such as Amazing Grace, On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, and It Is Well are timeless favorites anyone can sing along with, making them a great choice.

3. Periodically Audit Your Sunday Morning Worship Selection

Do you typically choose the same types of songs every week? Do your songs always evoke the same tone, emotion, or theme? Are any of your songs theologically incorrect?

Does your church ever sing Scripture or songs based on Scripture verses? Are all the songs self-focused instead of God-focused?

As busy human beings with limited time, strong preferences, and biased opinions, it can be easy to fall into a rut of playing the same types of praise and worship songs over and over. After all, it’s often easier to play Sunday morning worship songs you already know than to go out and find and learn new ones. 

However, you might find that certain themes are over or under-represented in your existing song list. Doing an audit is a great way to make sure your song choices line up with the message and truth you want these songs to convey. 

A little bit of planning can go a long way toward helping the Sunday morning worship songs your band chooses better support the overall message and feel of your service.

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