PHIL KEAGGY - Grammy nominated and seven-time Dove Award winner, is one of the world’s great guitar players and a pioneer in contemporary Christian music.
- April 14, 2017
Praise and worship music is subject to the church or organization you’re serving. Maybe you’re just trying to get songs together to work on your craft as a praise and worship leader. Whether you’re just getting started or looking for a formula, there’s some songs that are easy to play and seem to flow well together. There are a lot of factors when it comes to putting a worship set together. Is there a theme, like Easter, or is it for a series your pastor is putting together? Is there a band or is it just you? There are just so many things to consider. Still there are some classic and current songs that would form an easy worship set to get you thinking in the right direction. Let’s take a look.
In keeping with the model of “I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart. I will enter His courts with praise.” Let’s start with a couple of uptempo songs to help the congregation enter in with praise. Again, depending on what your worship band is like, you can start with a recognizable church hymn or just something contemporary that people are listening to on the radio. Either way, keep it upbeat.
Song #1: “Live To Praise You” by Lincoln Brewster
If you’re looking for an awesome uptempo song that has some great scriptural themes in it, this is your jam. For example, the bridge repeats the phrase “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” The track is very poppy and current sounding. That may not work for every congregation, but it’s easy to play on an acoustic guitar or as a full band. You can also get the tracks for this online and just jam along. Start with something like this to get everyone on their feet moving and singing along. It helps to have several singers who are exciting to watch and help you lead the people along. “Everyday we live to praise You” is a great way to start your set.
Song #2: “Only King Forever” by Elevation Church
Next, we’ve got a simple but high energy song that lifts up the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” It starts with drums and wacky guitars, but it works well with just an acoustic guitar. The beat makes you want to get in and sing. That’s the goal when starting up the praise and worship time. You want people up and singing with passion as this is the purpose of praise music. You don’t have to have a flashy light or fog machine like the videos you see from some churches. You just need a passionate heart and the glory of the living God burning inside of you. That’s what makes you want to sing. Songs with strong melodic themes that are easy to catch onto are very important. Repetitive lines with powerful words that are scriptural and that lift up Jesus always make for an easy worship set.
Song #3: “Mighty To Save” by Michael W. Smith
Recorded by a number of artists, “Mighty to Save” is a classic at this point. It has a great theme and it easily engages new listeners. “He can move the mountains” is a faith building message that will uplift the congregation and help them let go of the week and start anticipating what God might do in their midst. It’s a mid tempo song that will help you transition into worship. We are intentionally flowing from high praise to a more intimate, but worshipful, atmosphere. Singing songs people are very familiar with makes it easy for them to go deeper. Step by step toward the altar where the Lord can really meet their needs. You will need to determine the key for each song in this easy worship set that best serves your voice but be mindful of the congregation. If you’re a guy with a high voice, try to stay somewhere where most people can sing along. If you don’t, it becomes more about your performance and less about them worshiping. We don’t want that to happen on a Sunday morning.
Song #4: “Cornerstone” by Hillsong - Easy Worship Set
In the spirit of updating an old classic, “Cornerstone” is a clever modern version of the old hymn “The Solid Rock.” The verses are the classic lyrics with an added new chorus that is really singable for the congregation. It’s super easy to play on guitar or just at piano and the theology is rock solid (pun intended). It’s important to get the theology right. Some of the newer worship songs are lacking in this category. Vague lyrics distract from the reason we sing. Don’t waste precious time with songs that don’t lift up the Lord or are weightless and have no scriptural value. It’s not a nightclub but a house of worship. “Christ alone, cornerstone, weak made strong in the savior’s love” is a powerful truth and is worthy of singing. You’ll find it easy to worship with this awesome congregational song that incorporates a timeless hymn.
Song #5: “What a Beautiful Name” by Hillsong
For a very powerful close to an easy worship set, try “What a Beautiful Name” by Hillsong. Also on the plus side, it’s an easy worship song for the band and works well if you only have a guitar or piano. The whole congregation will get caught up in this beautiful ballad. Many of the slower worship songs work for the females in the room but are far too intimate for men to chime in on. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with intimate worship tunes. When you find one that women and men will both pipe up for and start singing with passion, you’ve got something. “What a beautiful name it is, the name of Jesus” is just a powerful and truthful anthem that all will get caught up in singing and worshiping. These are the kinds of songs you want from the top to the bottom of your easy worship set.
You will need to find the right key as some of these performances are too high for most and need to come down a bit. Even a whole step or so will really make a difference and help the people who really want to sing. If you’re on guitar, a capo might help you find your sweetest key. For keyboardists, the transpose feature might help you if you’re not used to playing in the flats. Either way, find the right key for your voice and make sure it’s singable for the sopranos in your room. It’s just safer to sing it a bit lower if you’re a male. That will help the sopranos to reach the melody comfortably. That will do it for our five recommendations for an easy worship set. We hope this will get you thinking about the easy worship set that fits best for your church. Remember to make it flow. From song to song, you want there to be a sense of awe and wonder that keeps moving from start to finish. Carry the congregation into the presence of God. That’s your purpose as a worship leader.