Oh what joy it is to put together a set for worship service. A new song, bringing back a classic or introducing new rendition or working something clever into your set, you explode at the anticipation and excitement for what the set is going to bring. It’s God orchestrated and full of His Holy Spirit. How exciting! But…it’s not always this grand when building a set. Today, we’re going to look at a few things that can hinder your creativity, or lack thereof, in building your set. Things that I’ve come across (more than I wish to count) and how I’ve dealt with them (after nearly pulling out my hair). This is the struggles of a setlist.

A new song. Sometimes we have a new song that we want to introduce to the church. We (the worship leader or musician) love it and have so much fun jamming to it. There have been plenty of times where I’ve wanted to bring a new song to the Sunday set but found myself in a place of discontent.

“Is the church ready for this song?”
“Have we practiced enough?”
“Is the new song too wordy or too ‘youthful’ (yes this is still something to ponder in 2016) for big church?”

So I find myself at a standstill. The best decision I can make for the team is to hold off. Don’t go into a song feeling 65% about it. Go 100%. Well at least 90%, I know solutions never present themselves fully when needed. But in the end it avoids any chaos on stage: forgotten chords or lyrics, the church not buying into the song, awkward moments that make you never want to play this song again! Be strategic and prepare how you want the team to introduce a new song to avoid having mixed feelings while building your set.

Songs that don’t mix well can be a huge roadblock. Let’s be honest, some songs just don’t complement each other in a set. I may be the only one with this problem, maybe not. But I love a set that either builds up or starts at the top and slows down to end with a bang. I could have a set from two weeks ago that worked into my process perfectly, but this time it’s just not working. I don’t want to repeat the set, but it feels switching one song out takes away the vibe. What do I do?

Start from scratch. Eliminate all the songs and start over. Maybe in this you’ll find yourself including a song you had from your previous set to help construct to “story” of your set (hmmm, future blog?).

There are far more complications of building a set and I’m sure I’ll get to them in a future installment. Also, prayer and seeking what the Lord wants to do is the best way to overcome any obstacles in struggling with your set. Seek Him and let Him guide you through!

TIP 1: Also consult with your team, their opinion also matters and with great teamwork a solution can be found. This can also be a great tool for team building.

TIP 2: Create a playlist of songs and move them around to feel flow and structure.


Published by: anhonestsound

This is an overflow of creativity, knowledge, and experience. When given a talent, I quickly learned that it is for me to share. My passion is praising Jesus, and worshiping with my peers. My goal is to help upcoming and seasoned musicians reach their full potential. I love music, I love to worship. Here is your opportunity to do this with me. This is a time for me to be practical, to go in depth, to be honest. To make a sound louder than my guitars or amp with my drive to see others succeed. This, is An Honest Sound. -AO

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