Worship Band Builder Podcast

Tips to create an effective worship set list every week - Episode 20

July 07, 2020 Eric Michael Roberts Season 1 Episode 20
Worship Band Builder Podcast
Tips to create an effective worship set list every week - Episode 20
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Worship Band Builder Podcast
Tips to create an effective worship set list every week - Episode 20
Jul 07, 2020 Season 1 Episode 20
Eric Michael Roberts

Show Notes:

ONE:  Organize your “big 50” into three sections; fast, mid-tempo, and slow.

TWO: Consider the state of your congregation, as well as the intent of the service.

 On a typical Sunday, you’ll want to open with a mid-tempo song. People will still be coming in, getting settled, looking to see who came to church, etc. This is also an ideal spot for introducing a new song, because they will start to hear and become familiar with it without any serious obligation to sing along. If it is a special day, with reason to celebrate, you can open with something up-tempo.

THREE: Construct a setlist that encourages worship.

 With the first song out of the way, you will see the congregation begin to participate more. Another mid-tempo piece is appropriate in spot number two, or a fast song. On the second song, people may clap along or raise hands, if that’s acceptable at your church. Putting a slow song in the second spot is, generally speaking, a hindrance to the flow of worship. It’s a little like asking someone to marry you on a first date. It’s just too soon.

FOUR: How long is your setlist?

 The tempo of song number three depends on the length of your set. Many churches, like ours, have a three song setlist.  In this case, the third song is the last song, making it a good place to put a slow song. If you have the luxury of a four song setlist, your third song could be mid-tempo or slow.

FIVE: Offering

If you have music during the offering, consider how long it typically takes for your offering to be collected. At some churches, it does not take as long as a 3 minute song. In that case, an instrumental excerpt from one of the songs in your setlist is a good choice. Just once through the verse and chorus may be enough. If you’re at a larger church and offering takes longer, this is an ideal place for a solo or “special”. It’s also another place where a new song may be introduced.

SIX: The Closer.

 Typically, it’s nice to end on a slow song, in order to allow the congregation to reflect on the sermon. However, if you know ahead of time that the preacher is speaking about spiritual victory or some other rousing topic, then sending people out on a high note is the way to go. A fast song is ideal here. The closing spot is also a good place to include a special song or new song.

Learn more at http://www.worshipbandbuilder.com


Support the show (https://worshiptheking.com/partner/)

Show Notes Transcript

Show Notes:

ONE:  Organize your “big 50” into three sections; fast, mid-tempo, and slow.

TWO: Consider the state of your congregation, as well as the intent of the service.

 On a typical Sunday, you’ll want to open with a mid-tempo song. People will still be coming in, getting settled, looking to see who came to church, etc. This is also an ideal spot for introducing a new song, because they will start to hear and become familiar with it without any serious obligation to sing along. If it is a special day, with reason to celebrate, you can open with something up-tempo.

THREE: Construct a setlist that encourages worship.

 With the first song out of the way, you will see the congregation begin to participate more. Another mid-tempo piece is appropriate in spot number two, or a fast song. On the second song, people may clap along or raise hands, if that’s acceptable at your church. Putting a slow song in the second spot is, generally speaking, a hindrance to the flow of worship. It’s a little like asking someone to marry you on a first date. It’s just too soon.

FOUR: How long is your setlist?

 The tempo of song number three depends on the length of your set. Many churches, like ours, have a three song setlist.  In this case, the third song is the last song, making it a good place to put a slow song. If you have the luxury of a four song setlist, your third song could be mid-tempo or slow.

FIVE: Offering

If you have music during the offering, consider how long it typically takes for your offering to be collected. At some churches, it does not take as long as a 3 minute song. In that case, an instrumental excerpt from one of the songs in your setlist is a good choice. Just once through the verse and chorus may be enough. If you’re at a larger church and offering takes longer, this is an ideal place for a solo or “special”. It’s also another place where a new song may be introduced.

SIX: The Closer.

 Typically, it’s nice to end on a slow song, in order to allow the congregation to reflect on the sermon. However, if you know ahead of time that the preacher is speaking about spiritual victory or some other rousing topic, then sending people out on a high note is the way to go. A fast song is ideal here. The closing spot is also a good place to include a special song or new song.

Learn more at http://www.worshipbandbuilder.com


Support the show (https://worshiptheking.com/partner/)

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to the worship band builder podcast, where we are working with you to lay the foundations for skillful worship. I'm Eric Roberts and I'm joined today by my lovely cohost, Emily Roberts.

Speaker 2:

Hello everyone. And welcome to podcast. Number 20

Speaker 1:

Podcast. Number 20. Whoa. We've been so busy.

Speaker 2:

I really can't believe we've done 20 of these. I feel like we just got started.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I feel like that too. I feel like yesterday we started it and now we have 20 podcasts.

Speaker 2:

I mean, maybe we need to celebrate or something.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Let's celebrate, let's eat, let's eat ice cream right after the podcast. Part of my diet.

Speaker 2:

How that would make it any different than any other day for you?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well, my favorite ice cream, since you asked is what is it now? Mint chocolate chip.

Speaker 2:

I think it has been mint chocolate chip Reese.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. That's what I meant . Yeah. Mint chocolate chip. And Emily's favorite ice cream is not a , she's like,

Speaker 2:

No mommy, nice cream . I don't eat a lot of ice cream.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And Augie doesn't like ice cream either. Well, I am thinking about creating effective song setlists for my worship band this week and I don't know what to do. What do I do, Emily?

Speaker 2:

It was an interesting segue. I liked that from ice cream to

Speaker 1:

Yes. Ice cream. It's not like when you're standing in front of the ice cream aisle, like yesterday at Walmart, we went to Walmart, me and Augie . And we're just standing there looking at all the ice cream. And that's kind of what you're doing every week when you're looking at your song and you're like, what do I do? And I was just thinking like, Oh, it was, they didn't have any mint chocolate chip at first it was hitting , it was hiding. And I thought, I thought pandemic was for real pandemic. And then I saw two little , uh , gallons kind of tucked behind the other ones. And I was like, Oh, so yeah .

Speaker 2:

Barely missed that bullet .

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So you're looking at your songs and you're trying to create an effective setlist and you got to do this every single week and Emily , uh, these are great notes. Uh , why don't you take us through this,

Speaker 2:

First of all, let's talk about what is an effective settler sort of , what do we mean by effective?

Speaker 1:

Well, and I thought about this because we're working on a new and a new special secret course for a new, special secret partner that will probably unveil and Annville and Vale will unveil in a couple of weeks as, as it comes down. But I was thinking about this for that. And I was thinking, this is one of the keys to be coming like a successful worship leader, because your song set list is almost everything. Once you've done everything else, if you pick really bad songs or if you don't have the right flow, a lot of awkward moments happen. So my you're asking, what is it? It's one that really helps people worship and that flows and that feels good. And that just, just does what it's supposed to do. So first of all, what are you trying to do? And then that set list can really mess you up.

Speaker 2:

That's true. Well, song in any genre can make or break you or maybe not genre, but , um, you know, like for instance, if you were a contestant on a popular television shell , your song selection, like one of those yes. Could , um, totally make you a star or ruin your opportunity.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. We've seen that like in American idol where they pick a , or some other show like that, where they pick a song, that's like, ah , that's terrible. And then the next week they pick a different song. It's like amazing. You can tell. And that's kind of what I do as a worship leader. I know this is these, aren't your notes yet. But I pick the songs that I like. And then I , that I'm comfortable with when people pick my setlist for me, when I'm like forced into that scenario and I don't get any say, or they say, Hey, we're going to lead worship. Here's the songs we're doing. I'm like, I just freak out inside because I'm like, Oh, what if I'm not good at those songs? What if I'm not comfortable? What if they don't flow the way I feel comfortable? So it's, it's a personal thing. And it does make you a break. You, I was thinking that is going to be part of the core of our new course we're writing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So effective song list, again, just to reiterate is one that flows with minimal distractions and it encourages worship.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yes, it does what it's supposed to do. So if you're, if you're doing this worship for a healing crusade and you know, I just said that because I've been talking to these healing crusade guys lately , uh , you're going to be picking up beat songs, you know, healing songs. It does what it's supposed to do as well. Not just it's effective because it's so your , your church, whatever you're supposed to do, you're supposed to lead people in worship. You're supposed to have people celebrate and then pray your setlist should facilitate that. It should successfully do that as well. So it does what it should sometimes what I'm trying to get at for all of you out there hanging on the edge of your seat is sometimes the setlist is meant to do other things for the event.

Speaker 2:

So we will get to that. But I want to start with organizing your big 50. You remember your big 50, if you listened to the podcast? I don't know. Maybe it was like last week. I think, I think it was just last week. Yes. So that would have been maybe 19. Um,

Speaker 1:

Go listen to it. It's a good one.

Speaker 2:

The songs that you are regularly using, you want to organize them into three groups, your fast songs, your mid-tempo songs and your slow songs, your ballads. Okay. Um, because that is, what's going to help you plug the songs into the right places in your set.

Speaker 1:

Okay, good. Yeah. So if you, if you notice me, I'm going to , um, I'm going to open up with a fast song, the most 9.9% of the time. So no need to look at all 50. I'm going to look at our top 10 or 12 or 15 fast songs, and I'm going to be thinking, what, what is the fast song? And that's a good, that's a good tip.

Speaker 2:

Well, what you're probably going to find is that you don't have very many fast songs to pick from, okay, you're fast songs are probably going to get used over and over again because there just aren't a lot to choose from. And that's been true for a lot of years. So songwriters , take a note , write some fast songs for us. We need more fast songs

Speaker 1:

As well. This would be good because you can, when you're looking okay , I need fast songs when you're choosing new songs or when you're looking, this would be a good way to have part of your list , uh, organize because you're going to go, Oh, they want like a song before the offering. That's probably going to be a mid tempo or whatever. And you're just going to look at that part of the list, right?

Speaker 2:

So sometimes it's good to start with a fast song. Let's talk about our first song. Okay. And what I put in the notes was considered the state of your congregation, as well as the intent of your service. And what I mean by this is , um, think about the people walking in the door. They are trying to get their kids to children's church. And they're trying to remember if they turned the crack pot on and they, you know, Oh, who's here at church. Who's not here. What is she wearing? You know, I mean, people have got a lot going on and that first song,

Speaker 1:

Do you know what's going on? And now that's interesting. Cause that's what's going on in their heads. Yes . You know, what's going on in every guy's head.

Speaker 2:

And the girl says, okay, yes, what's going on in the guy's heads.

Speaker 1:

Where's the coffee. And do they have like chocolate donuts here? There you go. That's it. That's all I'm thinking.

Speaker 2:

So there is still not thinking about worshiping God yet. We're just trying to find a seat and all, if somebody sat in your regular spot, then you are just reeling, right. So

Speaker 1:

Nobody, nobody wants my spot. But

Speaker 2:

So anyway, you have to give people a chance to get in the door and get settled. And that is what song number one is for. Don't expect people to be raising their hands weeping. No, that is not happening in the first song. They're just trying to get settled in the church atmosphere. So give them that chance. A mid tempo song is fine for that. First song is also a good place to introduce a new song because they're kind of getting it subconsciously, but there's not a big obligation to try to sing it yet. They can just look at the words. Maybe once they get settled, they can kind of absorb the song. Okay. It's a good time for that. Um, fast songs are good opener when you know that this is going to be a celebratory service. Um, and especially if it's a song that everybody already knows. If, if it's Christmas and you want to open with joy to the world, right on, people are going to be into that. They're going to come in and they are going to get onboard with your festive vibe.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I , I do. I will to put one , uh, point in here as I adjust your microphone as well. Um, lots of camera looking going on. So you tubers are still happy, but I did learn this from my years of doing this. If you put a super fast song on the top, then it's kinda awkward. It can be, and this is a performance based stuff you want to put a mid-tempo song. And I like that. Cause I said fast earlier, and I want to say, I've done really fast songs first. And it can almost come across as kind of obnoxious to your audio audience. Like if you put your most rock and fast song on top and the first position people can feel like, Whoa, like, is this like, so I've noticed I learned this. I forget when, but it was many years ago that mid-tempo song is that first song. Your second song after the welcome could really be your rockiness big song. Number two,

Speaker 2:

That's a good place to put a fast song and

Speaker 1:

So fast and fast, I would still call those songs fast, but maybe they're not as energetic, you know? So you don't want to, I , as, as a rock band, when I used to play in like Christian rock band, you know, you kind of think you're going to come out with your big song, but the audience sometimes will stare at you. Like, I'm not sure I even like you yet. So I'm not, I'm not sure I'm really going to get into that yet. So you gotta, you gotta warm them up a bit. I've noticed like Hosanna Paul blush song. It's like that. It's kind of a cool riff . The song is kind of up , but it's kind of a mid uptempo fast song is a great opener.

Speaker 2:

I have some of those mid to fast. Those are great for an opener. Um , moving on to song, number two, song, number two, as Eric just said, can be a fast song. That's a good place for a fast song. Now you're going to get people who are going to clap along. Maybe raise their hands if that's appropriate at your church. Okay. This is not where you want to put a slow song, slow songs. Generally speaking should not be in slot number two.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Unless you were, you know, doing an abbreviated service and they were doing communion right up front and you know, all that stuff. But you know, this is true .

Speaker 2:

There are exceptions, but yeah, but in a typical service, what a slow song we'll do there is , um , kind of kill the flow. It's it's like asking somebody to marry you on a first date.

Speaker 1:

Ooh . Is it like too intimate too soon?

Speaker 2:

Yes . Too soon for that.

Speaker 1:

That makes sense. Yeah. Cause slow songs are going to be a little more intimate and people are still probably even your normal congregation. They're still just kind of getting the feel.

Speaker 2:

If you think about it, song two is really kind of like song one that they're going to participate in.

Speaker 1:

Ah, good point. That is a good point.

Speaker 2:

So we're not ready for slow songs. Yet. Song three is going to depend is song three-year last song. A lot of churches only have three songs for worship upfront at this point. And if that's the case, then a slow song is appropriate here.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So let me break in there. We , we do right now, our format is, is mid tempo or this is what we do. We do one song. Then we do a welcome. And then we do usually two songs, a little prayer. And we wrap , we do a recap of that, that third song. And then we do a sermon. So there isn't a lot of time. Now back, further back or churches with longer services, we would do like four worship songs before the sermon. And in that case, you might do a fast tempo, a medium tempo and two slow songs or whatever. So you can kind of mix it up, but

Speaker 2:

Still have the luxury of putting as many songs as you want upfront for is nice. That's you can, that's a , it gives you enough room to build a worshipful flow. Three is tough. Um , but that's kind of what we're going with now. So

Speaker 1:

You gotta be more specific with these, with if you only have two songs or three, like you have the, the opener, the welcome, and then you have two songs, you know, you're probably going to pick a mid tempo and a slow that's what we preach . That's what we should be doing. They're mid-tempo slow now. Uh , this all changes depending on how much time you have and all that. And , uh , we'll go into this in other episodes, but there was a time where we would do four songs and the fourth song would be another uptempo song because the pastor was saying, I want it to be like right before my sermon, I want people to be excited. So we would do opener. Then we would do three worship songs, a medium, a medium, a slow, and then a fast, you know, that's fine. Yeah. It's opener was kind of a throwaway. Now at this particular church, I say it was a throwaway because a lot of people were not even in the sanctuary at the opener.

Speaker 2:

Yes. People did not typically come in on time

Speaker 1:

And they were out there coughing talking and literally it was weird, but coffee . Yeah . Coughing. That's what I would call it . They were, they were coughing and talking. And so our opener was more like just a, Hey, we're actually going to do this people

Speaker 2:

Time for a church if you'd like to come in. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

So in that scenario and I don't don't know, this is probably not for this episode, but it was like the four songs we had in our worship set the, it was like medium or like fast, medium, slow worshipful. And then we kind of went back into a medium or an uptempo so that when the pastor came out , it was like, whew . Now that's that, that can work. But you have to be intentional.

Speaker 2:

Yes. You have to be intentional right on. So offering, if you are doing music during the offering, consider how long it takes for offering to be collected at your church. A lot of churches offering takes about 30 seconds. Okay. It just does not take very long. You don't need a whole song there. It gets a little awkward when, when people realize the plates have long since been passed and we are still sitting here. So a nice thing to do there is just , um, an abbreviated, instrumental version of something that you did in the set list , in your worship set list . Maybe even that last song you did just do a little recap, do maybe just the verse and chorus and wrap it. Um, that's a good way to handle that if you're at a bigger church and it takes a couple of minutes to get the plates passed , then , um, you may consider putting a whole new song there and that might even be a place to have a special, or it might be a good place to introduce a new song while you've got everyone sitting and paying attention.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they did that at fair Haven . A lot that the offering would actually be a break point. But then after about two verses , when the plates were done, then they would be like, stand up and they would sing this big, you know, everybody would sing along for another course or two and then, and then the pastor would come out. So you could, you could do that. And uh , I'll probably say this at the end too, but what we're talking about, our little methods, one thing that I would suggest you're doing, as you're thinking about this, pull out some of these methods, start doing them over and over again. So we do the same service order practically every week now in our church. And the , the good thing about that is, is we were used to it. The people are used to it and we know what works and what doesn't, it, isn't like a bunch of weird every week. We're changing it up. Like we're gonna do the offering first. Then we're going to do this. I've been at churches where that's the case. The pastor is kinda thinking, well, this week we'll do it this way. And everything is, you know , and what that does is creates a bunch of awkward moments for you to talk about that week. Well , it was really weird when this happened. So you can do some awkward moments, but as you figure out like this flow works, you can create like, that works for our timing, works for our pastor. And then you can start planning out, like we've talked about in past episodes for three or four months at a time. Cause you know, I'm gonna need three songs and then an offering I'm gonna need. So that's, that's I know off your notes, but that's relevant to how the , as you're starting to hear us talk and go, Oh, that would be interesting to try this. You're you're trying to get to a place where you're like, this is the format that works for us.

Speaker 2:

Yes. And a lot of churches now I realize don't even collect offering. They just have boxes in the back and say, you know, put your offering in the box on the, on your way out or that sort of thing. We give your offering online. Um, eh , this is, I'm just talking to churches that are doing the traditional pass , the plate, offering

Speaker 1:

A lot of people. Yeah. A lot of people pass the plate. It's the best part of the service for me is that I don't know . I'm just being funny. It's a favorite part of the service for every pastor. God does love a cheerful giver. Yeah . And pastors love cheerful. I gotta keep saying that. Just going to pick it on all your pastors out there. I love it. Pastors. I've , I've been in a funny scenarios where I'll just say like, well, let's just take out the offering. Like when we're trying to do a set list and stuff, I just say it just to, just to mess with them. Cause they look at me like, like I just got the offering. I came off some kind of alien plan and I'm like, well, we can just take the offering out this week. And they like, they just , uh , I can say that, cause I've been in ministry a long enough with a lot of pastors. So some of them are very excited about the offering moment. And some of them are like less excited. They want it to be downplayed, but however you do it, you know, your , your people are going to be used to it, you know?

Speaker 2:

Yes. We , we don't like change. We like to know what to expect when we get there .

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And passing the plate still does work. There's lots of statistics out there that I was reading about , uh , with some pastors years ago. And , and if you don't pass the plate, then uh , sometimes things can, people will give less or whatever. So passing the place . Good. Pass the plate. Pastors. It's good to do.

Speaker 2:

Okay. Finally, a closing song, some of your churches rap with a closing song , um, and this is kind of a wild card. Generally. You could say that a slow reflective song is good there. Um, so people have a chance to just kind of soak in what the pastor talked about that day. Um, but if he's talking about, you know, spiritual victory or, or going out there and reaching the world and, and it's more of a, a rousing sermon and you know, that ahead of time, you could send people out with , uh, with an uptempo song and that will be in their heads all day. Probably. Yes, sure. Ron cannoli . Yeah. Cause that was like how long ago ?

Speaker 1:

I don't know . But today I was talking to my friend about that and he was like, if, if Ron cannoli comes on, you know, revival is to break out, you know, we were talking about, it's like, I've lost my, you know, but yeah, you could send people out with , um, you know, some big song. It can be slow. It could be fast. I th I think the closer is, is , um , just one of those things that you have the ability to change up a lot, depending on

Speaker 2:

There's more room to be flexible there, that could also be a place to introduce a new song. That's another place where people are just sitting and , and potentially listening. They could sing along, but they don't feel like they have to right there.

Speaker 1:

If you're your pastor speaking on some serious topic and you come up and start singing some song like trading, my sorrows, or God is able, or some big, I'm saying all references to people. Half of you watching this are not even old enough to remember those songs. So ha ha trading my sorrows. If you're going to , if you're going to have a really somber sermon about, you know , uh, you know, confessing your sin and then you come out with trading my sorrows,

Speaker 2:

How about what's the way that lion and the lamb is that what it's called there?

Speaker 1:

Us , all of us, new worship leaders, the lion and the lamb, we're going to come out with that song. And , um , it's going to be weird. So just fit the song to the moment and use the song for the ministry. That's that's going to guide you, I think, in the closing, but the closing can be used in so many ways. You know, it can, and it can be anything, but it has to be artistically spiritually tied to what's happening. I mean, I'm saying this, but I think people would do that. They would just say, we're going to do this song and it's just going to happen.

Speaker 2:

Well, in order to, what did you say, artistically and spiritually tie that to what's already happening and you have to be in communication with the pastor. If you don't know ahead of time, then stuff like that can happen where he's , um, preaching something very somber and you, and on a very peppy tune, God is able.

Speaker 1:

So I think , uh, something that really created , uh, sparked in my mind as we're going through this is just having a format, testing, the format, making that format yours, and then, you know, molding it and being comfortable with it as a worship leader, the set list is important and it's important that you're comfortable if you're not comfortable that's cause you asked what makes an effective set list. It, part of it, a lot of it is about you as the leader. If you're uncomfortable with it, if it's awkward, if it's not working for you, it's probably not working for them. It's not going to be effective.

Speaker 2:

That's a really excellent point.

Speaker 1:

It's not like it's all about you like being funny, but it kind of is when you're working as an artist, you know, if you're comfortable, if you're feeling good, if, if you know where the flow is going, people are going to flow with you and it's gonna be

Speaker 2:

You're the leader of the worship. And they will follow. If you look uncomfortable, they will also feel uncomfortable.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. They'll probably, you know, start looking down, you know, drinking their coffee, taking bathroom breaks in the middle of your songs, stuff like that. That will be

Speaker 2:

Stuff like that. Just for example,

Speaker 1:

Start reading their iPhones while you're trying to pray. Well, that that's good, Emily. Thanks for putting this together. She's been putting this together because I've been running, running, running. I'm exhausted right now. I should've talked about that in R and R five minutes before the podcast. How,

Speaker 2:

Oh, but it was such a treat to talk about your hair and Ricola throat drops .

Speaker 1:

If you missed our five minutes for the podcast, let us know what you think. Also go to worship band builder. This is just part of what we're doing. We're doing more courses. We're doing more YouTube videos. We'd love to have you subscribe to the channel really important because we're growing the channel every day, every minute. And you know, it's a passion of ours right now is to grow that, to reach more people. And so share it, share it on your Facebook page. It makes a huge difference to us and also check out the resources at worship band , builder.com.

Speaker 2:

How about tell us about your song set list. Give us one that really worked well for you. I would love to hear some of your best set lists.

Speaker 1:

Good. She is brilliant. All right , we'll see ya . On the next episode, [inaudible] .