I lead the music at State College E-Free Church (SCEFC) once or twice a month. I really enjoy the process of putting together a set list. The themes, lyrics, musical styles, and keys are all factors. Since I have days (and often weeks) to look at the set list before the service, I am able to see the thought process behind the songs. It has a progression. I’ve decided to start posting and discussing my set lists the week I lead the music at SCEFC. Here is the list for tomorrow.
Main Themes: The goodness of God. God deserves my (our) worship. Salvation is found in the blood of Jesus.
Song #1. (E) You are Good. Israel Houghton.
I like this song because it is so simple. It begins with a statement of truth: “Lord You are good, and Your mercy endureth forever.” This line is sung over a 1, 5, 7, 4 chord progression (which is pretty cool). Most people bring many distractions with them to church on Sunday morning (or whenever the service time might be). Hopefully some of those distractions are banished by starting the service with a reminder of the goodness of God and a declaration of intentional worship. The chorus of the song says “We worship You for who You are.”
Song #2. (E) Famous One. Chris Tomlin & Jesse Reeves.
If singing about God’s goodness was not enough to bring focus, now we look at His fame and glory. The heavens declare His glory and nature reveals Him. There is a line in this song that causes me some discomfort, and to be honest I don’t like it (“With every breath I’m praising You”). Can I honestly say that I am praising God with every breath? The answer is no. I do not praise God with every breath. So how can I sing this line honestly? This is how I interpret it: My life has been redeemed and I live as a testament to God’s grace and mercy, thus every breath I take brings praise to Him. Somehow I doubt this is what the songwriters were thinking when they wrote the song, but it’s how I have to look at it to sing the song.
This causes me a bit of a dilemma. I spent a considerable amount of time processing those lyrics and deciding what they mean to me. In all likelihood no one else at the service tomorrow will have had the luxury to do that. Should I mention this before the song, and discuss it? How many people will be distracted by that line if I do not? How many will sing that line and not even think about it? FYI: I am planning to say a few words before this song and address the “every breath” part. I feel the positives in this song are strong enough to justify using it.
This song is written in the rarely seen 6/4 timing. The song is played at a crazy fast tempo, yet does not feel rushed. Oh those compound duples.
Song #3. (A) Nothing but the Blood. Matt Redman.
We just sang about the goodness, fame, and glory of God. Now we focus on the redemptive work of Christ. This song is a corporate declaration of the saving power of the blood of Jesus. When I sing this song I am not making futile promises regarding my own intentions; I am stating truth that should motivate me to action. This is currently one of my favorite songs.
Closing Song. (A) Majesty (Here I Am). Martin Smith & Stuart Garrard.
This song follows the message (which will be on Psalm 8, which speaks of the majesty of God and lowliness of mankind) and is sung while the offering is being collected. The themes in this song are closely tied to those in Psalm 8, and I think it will be a fitting response.
I would love to play this song in the key of C, like it was written. This allows the melody of the verse and pre-chorus to be sung lower than the chorus, which is wonderful from the standpoint of song dynamics. Unfortunately that makes the chorus a bit too high for congregational singing. When the song is keyed down to a comfortable range for the chorus the latter part of the pre-chorus becomes too low to sing as written and must be octaved. It grieves me to do this.
So that’s the set list for this week.
In the future I plan to continue posting set lists on weeks that I am leading the music at E-Free. I am also planning to write a few posts about things worship leaders think about (or at least things this worship leader thinks about). Stay tuned. . .