None of us want to be boring.
I’ve noticed that worship ministry tends to attract people who hate to be boring. If you’re reading this, there is a good chance that this might be a real fear for you.
Sometimes the order of our songs can start to become predictable. Predictable doesn’t always equal boring, but boring often equals predictable.
If you’re like a lot of worship leaders, you may have realize your church takes more time to learn songs than your worship team. I’ve talked about that in a previous post and it’s true. Your congregation probably isn’t rehearsing songs throughout the week like you and your worship team.
So now you have to find a way to make the worship service seem fresh without teaching completely new songs every weekend. Perhaps the answer lies in how you arrange your worship set.
Like a song, a worship set has dynamic changes. Some songs are high energy, fast, and loud. Other songs are contemplative, slow, and quiet. How theses songs are arranged can go a long way to creating a fresh and meaningful worship experience for your church.
Here are 4 ways you can arrange your worship set.
1. THE STEP-DOWN
When I was first leading worship, this was how all of my sets were arranged. The Step-Down starts with the loudest and fastest songs then “steps down” to slower quieter songs with every song, until you end with the last song being the slowest and quietest of the set. This moves the congregation from celebration to introspection.
2. THE RAMP-UP
The Ramp-Up is the Step-Down in reverse. You start with a surprisingly slow and quiet song then ramp up to a loud and fast tune. When this is timed right, it’s really powerful. Especially if your church has been conditioned to the Step-Down. This order alone can give new life to familiar songs.
3. THE U
This one is a combination of the Ramp-Up and the Step-Down. This pattern starts with a loud and fast song, dips down to quiet, contemplative and then ramps up to loud and fast. This pattern feels emotionally complete to me.
4. THE LIFT AND DIVE
This one is the most involved and it took me a while before I caught on to this pattern.
I started to notice it when I was at a Brad Paisley concert years ago. I was expecting him to start the concert with the loudest, fastest song he had–really wake us up and get our attention. He didn’t.
After the lights went black and the crowd started to roar one single spot light showed up in the middle of the stage. There was Brad Paisley standing with a Gibson J-45 (I think) and a cowboy hat that was one size too big. With just his voice and his acoustic, he started singing a song everyone in the arena new. That song led into a medium tempo song, which lead to a fast and loud song. As soon as that was done, the crowed was finally allowed to applaud, and boy, was it loud. Then Brad brought it down and did a couple slow songs, to build it back up again.
Paisley created a series of lifts. Once a lift was done, he brought it right down and started the next lift. We spent a lot of time “going up” and not a whole lot of time going down.
Since that show, I’ve noticed more and more professional acts do the same thing. Keep their audience in a state of lifting rather than stepping down.
I’m guessing your pastor doesn’t give you two and a half hours for your worship set, but don’t worry, you don’t need that amount of time to create this same feeling.
Maybe you can start with a loud, medium tempo song and go right into a loud, fast song. Then “dive” down to a slow song and begin to “ramp-up.”
THIS IS AN ART
There is no formula for creating a worship set. The moment you think there is one maybe that is the time to try something new. This is an art, not a science, which means this list isn’t complete. What ideas do you have? Let me know on social media or in the comments below.