Creating a worship set is an important part of the music ministry, worship service atmosphere, and service flow.
Most people are now familiar with the term “worship set” or “setlist”, but if you’re not, it’s just a list of the songs you’re planning on singing in the service. They are generally in the order that the worship leader plans on singing them in, but there are some who simply make a numbered list and call out or signal the number that coordinates with the song he or she wants to sing next.
I personally prefer to write out my setlist in the order I plan to sing each song.
I also prefer to select songs that flow smoothly from one into the other and are somehow linked by a common theme or word.
For instance, when I’m considering the direction of the worship service, I generally like to start with something upbeat and worshipful in order to engage the congregation and turn the focus to praising Jesus. From there, I would generally select a song that also emphasizes praise but may focus on another aspect of praise (i.e. praising for the victory, praising His Name), or focus on using words of praise (i.e. God is great, there’s no one like Him, He is awesome).
The next song would somehow link back to the song before it, and so on. By the time the worship service has ended, we may not be on the same topic or theme as when we started, but each song and connected from one to the other and taken us on a journey to the final destination and in preparation for the Word of God to take root in our hearts. (Sometimes I do stick with one common theme from start to finish.)
The idea is that the worship leader isn’t starting with Victory In Jesus, then All My Worship, then Won’t It Be Wonderful There, and finally Hallelujah, Anyhow.
The messages of these songs don’t flow smoothly and the congregation will be taken on an emotional roller coaster ride! One moment they will be praising God for victory over the enemy and the next they’ll be trying to refocus their attentions on pouring their hearts out to God. It’s one thing if the worship leader has taken the congregation on a journey from worship to victory fluidly, but bounce from one topic to another isn’t conducive to creating a spiritual flow.
Another thing I try to avoid is hopping from a fast song to a slow song and then back again. Think of that emotional roller coaster again.
Okay, everybody jump, run, dance! Now, stop and lay prostrate before the Lord. Back up, grab your neighbor and shake ’em about a bit. Now just sit and soak up the sweet, sweet presence…
You get the idea.
When putting your worship set together, you need to be mindful of the themes and tempos of the songs you’re choosing.
One way to make this easier on yourself is to create a list of your fast songs and a list of your slow songs. Then take each list and categorize them based on topic or theme (some songs may fit under multiple categories.) When you feel like the service needs to focus on surrendering to God and need another slow song that flows with ‘Victor’s Crown’, then you’ll know exactly where to look! Your set may look like this…
1. I Will Bless The Lord Medley
2. You Are Good – Tye Tribbett (From “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…”)
3. The Anthem
4. Victor’s Crown
5. Shout Unto God
We started by praising and blessing God for His goodness, moved into another song focusing on the goodness of God, then smoothly transitioned via the bridge into The Anthem and began shifting the focus to having victory because of Jesus, Victor’s Crown has a similar theme, and then we brought it back up a bit at the end by encouraging the congregation to shout triumphantly and with praise because we know the enemy is defeated and we are victorious.
A few songs later and we could be on to a completely different topic! But, I don’t recommend that! 😉
I’m sure you get the idea now!
This is how I prefer to create a worship set and I’ve seen its effectiveness. Keep in mind that God has also completely disrupted the worship set and didn’t care a hoot if we were suppose to sing a slow or fast song next! In that case, we follow the Leader!
How do you like to create a worship set and what are some of the things you keep in mind when doing so?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!