When hymnals are the only source of song lyrics, new songs are somewhat limited to what’s in the book. As we have moved to digital lyrics over the last couple of decades, there are many more opportunities to introduce new songs to the congregation. Add to that the incredibly huge influx of new worship music in the world today, if a worship band isn’t careful, the congregation can be in constant learning mode.
But, new songs are still important! It helps enliven a group, it brings a different element to the service, it speaks a new word and it inspires us in new ways. From the worship team/choir to the congregation, new songs are critical as you continue your life as a worshipping church.
Here are a few practical ideas:
Finding New Songs
Listen to the radio, listen to other worship teams, and in general keep your ears open for new songs that fit with your church.
Ask people in your worship team to suggest new songs.
Search Youtube or worship sites for new worship songs or top worship songs.
Write a new song for your congregation.
Learning New Songs
Remember the ratio 11to 1 – Your congregation may only hear a new once to your eleven times. If you have to find it, listen to it, chart it, learn it, rehearse it, soundcheck it and sing it for a couple of services, your congregation is going to think of it as a new song longer than you will.
Create a playlist and share with your team
Add a couple of potential songs into your pre-worship gathering music or share a link to a song on your church social media channels and invite people to listen.
Teaching New Songs
Tell them you’re going to learn a new song together. Talk about the song, why it’s important, why you want to learn it and invite them to sing.
Perform it first. Sing it as people are coming to worship, sing it before or after a message or any other way to share it so the congregation can become familiar.
Repeat it a handful of times over the course of the next two months. I’ve seen some worship leaders set up a little formula. For example, sing it two weeks in a row, take a week off, then do it alternating weeks for two weeks.
Stop and teach them a specific part. Practice learning so you can worship more effectively together. We have started with the chorus to a new song before, get people into the groove of that, then bring in the full band and sing the whole thing.
Do it twice during the worship service. Learn a new song at the beginning then sing it again at the end – this works best if it really does fit an end of a message or has some other purpose.