I have quite the song bank when it comes to worship songs. I mean think about it. Since I started serving on staff there have been five Passion Worship albums, multiple Elevation Worship albums, and more Hillsong albums than one could possibly count. Those examples alone exceed 100 songs! That is a ton of music! Of course there will always be the two or three songs on every album that stand out as the crowd favorite and worship teams will play it over and over until the Lead Pastor literally can't take another rendition of "One Thing Remains." And if choosing between hundreds of songs wasn't hard enough, there are always those moments when people ask "when can you throw a hymn into the mix?" Let's face it- choosing songs for a service is hard if you're simply choosing favorites from a song bank. I normally have four songs a week to fill the allotted time given during a Sunday morning experience. How do those decisions get made? By finding songs that fill the vision/purpose for our services!
As we gather together, much like any group, the initial statement should be the purpose of our gathering. We are here to worship. We are here to gather as believers and lift the name of Jesus. There are hundreds of worship songs, but there are less songs that state the purpose of being together to worship the creator of the universe. That is our opening song. A song that says "we gather our attention and focus our minds on him."
This flows into our next song because any logically human being would ask the question "why?" We gather because God is sovereign, omnipotent, loving, gracious, (insert more attributes here). The list goes on and on! And after we sing of what God is, we confess of what we are not! We are not worthy! We are guilty. We are worthless. We fail in comparison.
The final song of any set is completely gospel-centered. Jesus has washed away our sins. We sing of the cross. We sing of the sacrifice of Christ. We sing of how He has welcomed us to His table as sons and daughters. We sing of the victory we have through the mystery revealed to us.
So how do we find the songs for the service? We pick and order our songs in order to welcome each individual into our gathering by reminding them of the gospel! Our purpose of gathering is to remind everyone of Jesus Christ. There is nothing else we desire to do. There is nothing else we can do. There is nothing else we should do. Jesus is the destination that we strive to take people in every service. That is why we do what we do. It has nothing to do with style. It has nothing to do with genre. It has everything to do with the gospel.