Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Worship Leader Tip: Know When to Retire

I am talking about temporarily retiring songs that may have lost their luster or have had too much play time. While familiarity is our friend in selecting songs, it can also lead to song abuse. This week someone mentioned, "Man, we ALWAYS sing that song." I looked it up, and he was kind of right. While we didn't sing the song every week (always) — but if you attended our church only ONCE this past year, there was a 1 in 5 chance you'd hear one of these songs.

Generate a frequency report of the songs you use. For example, we use a free online service (pro features you pay for) called Planning Center Online. It's an online worship planning tool. One of the fine features even in the free version is generating a report of all the songs we use and the frequency they are used. This comes in handy when you get the regular CCLI audit every other year (dang, those are annoying, but understandable why they have to be submitted).

I just generated a report and discovered four songs that we've sung 10+ times in the past year. That means, again, if you attended our church only once this past year, there was a 1 in 5 chance you'd hear one of these songs. That's a strong ratio. It can be good for first time guests to the church to have a couple of songs that repeat with regularity, so they have something to latch onto. But there's a balance here. These are great songs. They have their place in worship. But I'm going to put a rest to these songs for a little while so they don't become overused. Here's my list...

Everlasting God
How Can I Keep From Singing
Your Name
Your Grace Is Enough

It's interesting that these are all NEW songs that were taught in this past year. When we teach a new song, we sing it 3-4 weeks in a row. If the song sticks well, then we keep it. If it doesn't, it's trashed.

We aren't going to permanently retire these. We are simply going to take a nice siesta for awhile.


  1. Anonymous1:09 PM

    How about for every great new song you temporarily retire, you bring back one great old song that we haven't sung in awhile!

    *See Worship Arts requested songs list for ideas.*

  2. Anonymous7:12 PM

    You have brought such new life and vitality to our worship time at TBC and I thank you for allowing the Spirit to lead you in the ways He does!!! I think this is a great idea. I completely enjoy the new songs you teach us and often come home to see where you may have found them (like Revelation Song). God blesses me mightily through your leadership.

  3. Anonymous8:57 PM

    Great post man. While I am sad you are removing Everlasting God, I hope you are doing so in an effort to add Healer, or Today Is The Day, or Living Rain in its place.