How to Choose Songs for a Worship Set List

A roadmap to selecting song types helps worship leaders lead more effectively. Here’s one example used by Hillsong’s Jad Gillies.

Firstly, there’s no right or wrong way to select songs for Sunday morning worship! The most important thing is to be led by the Holy Spirit and to sense God’s direction for any worship session you’re preparing for.

Having said that, settling on a general roadmap can be of tremendous help to worship leaders when it comes to assessing their song choices, especially for congregational worship. It also helps worship leaders from falling into the comfortable routine of choosing only the styles of songs they like!

A roadmap can also provide some scaffolding for less experienced or newbie worship leaders, and make it less daunting to choose the “right” song for the season.

The Hillsong worship roadmap, as shared by Jad Gillies on a recent online sharing session, balances the types of songs that serves different purposes in a congregational setting, starting with the encouraging and engaging praise songs, to the more adoration types of songs.

Song 1: Keep it fun, upbeat and encouraging

People are entering church, getting settled in and glad to see their friends. So keep things light as you draw the congregation into a place of praise.

Some great choices:

  • Today Is The Day – Lincoln Brewster
  • You Are Good – Bethel
  • This Is Amazing Grace – Phil Wickham
  • Turn It Up – Planetshakers
  • Let God Arise – Chris Tomlin

Song 2: Build faith

Move into a faith-building song – something that magnifies the name of Jesus, and cause people to confess the Word of God.

Some great choices:

  • Our God – Chris Tomlin
  • In Jesus’ Name – Darlene Zschech
  • Lion & The Lamb – Leeland
  • Who You say I Am – Hillsong
  • Ever Be – Bethel

Song 3: Move into adoration

Song 3 can be an adoration type song, or a prayer/ petition type song as you lead the congregation into more prayerful worship.

Some great choices:

  • Here In Your Presence – New Life
  • Jesus At The Centre – Darlene Zschech
  • Cornerstone – Hillsong
  • No Longer Slaves – Bethel
  • Holy Spirit – Jesus Culture

Song 4: High worship and praise

Transit into high worship or return to high praise – this fourth song really depends on where the Holy Spirit is leading you and what God is doing in the meeting.

Some great choices:

  • No Other Name – Hillsong
  • Victor’s Crown – Darlene Zechech
  • Be Enthroned – Bethel
  • Way Maker – Leeland
  • Worthy – Elevation
It’s worth repeating that this is not the holy grail of selecting songs. There may be weeks on end when a season in your church would entail more high praise songs, or quiet worship songs.

Ultimately, stay tuned to what God would lead you to choose but hopefully this roadmap gives you an idea of how to approach song selection.

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