Today’s post is from my wife, Jennifer! She’s not a musician. She’s not on staff at a church. She’s just an average person in the congregation (well, I guess the average person that is married to one of the pastors). And she loves the music at our church. Her perspective isn’t as someone who plans worship services, but as someone who comes to experience them.
If you missed previous entries, you can check them out at the link below.
Why Can’t We Get Along? – Why is Worship So Divisive by Sean Chandler
Where’s the Piper Organ, and Why is There an Electric Guitar?!? – What is the Proper Style for Worship by Sean Chandler
Why is It So Loud and Why Do We Keep Repeating Ourselves?!? – What is the Proper Volume for Worship by Sean Chandler
– Sean Chandler
By Jennifer Chandler
I chose first to answer the question, “How Should a Worship Director Select & Arrange their Set Lists?” because I feel, I think, the most opinionated about this one. I’m trying to recall if I’ve always had a little bit of an opinion on the matter, or if I developed one after having been married to My Love…I can’t remember.
Regardless, I am aware, sometimes keenly, of variations in the flow of emotion, the use of transitions, thematic elements communicated through music and later repeated in the sermon, etc. I’m genuinely put off by worship leaders that don’t appear to have thought through their services. I, personally, like to let the worship sort of guide me, and prepare my heart to hear the sermon. It’s challenging to do that when you’re standing, then sitting, then standing, then waiting for the musicians to tune their instruments, then waiting while someone comes up to pray, then sitting, then standing, etc. I don’t know if that’s an adequate description of the disjointedness of those sort of experiences (especially as there is a way to incorporate those elements together in a more cohesive way), but a decent catch-phrase for it would be “worship whiplash.”
I enjoy worship that communicates a wide range and depth of emotions, but I like being brought through them in a purposeful manner, in a way that clearly communicates that it’s part of the worship experience, and is intended to bring me closer in heart attitude and thought with my Creator…rather than just a filler of something that is expected at a church service.
On the other hand, I don’t at all appreciate being manipulated…which is, I think, a very fine balance to strike, and makes a worship leader’s job very difficult. While I want the worship to be in harmony and support of the message, I don’t want it to be false or forced. A lot of whether or not I feel this way has to do with the perceived humility of the worship leader. I like to feel as if the worship leader is leading us in worship…worshiping before us, with us, and for the glory of God…not putting on a rock show or performance to impress us all, and showcase their mad skills.
I suppose, if I had to summarize:
I would say that a worship director should select and arrange their set lists in a manner that they feel makes much of God, and helps to point the congregation toward Him.
In short, the answer to “How Should a Worship Director Select & Arrange their Set Lists?” is: Whatever way Spencer does! 🙂
Haha, I jest. Well, sort of. I do very much like the way that Spencer selects and orders songs.
This is Sean again. Spencer is the worship director at our church, and he will be chiming in tomorrow on some of these questions. When Jennifer and I were still dating, Spencer was the worship leader at the church I was interning at. Jump forward several years, and he’s now a pastoral intern and worship director at my church. …oh yeah, and my sister, (who will also chime in on worship soon) also babysat Spencer a long time ago.