- Worship Leader wants to sing more new songs
- Congregation wants to sing less new songs
- Worship Leader sings more new songs
- Congregation doesn’t sing along
Been there? Awkward, right?
We know that using new songs of worship is good.
However, engaging the congregation is better.
But, what if you could do both and be a superhero worship leader of sorts?!
While the quick and dirty solution suggested all the time is to reduce the number of new worship songs (and btw, that’s not bad advice), I think there’s a way out to make everyone happy.
It’s called The Beehive Hack.
It’s a sensible worship ministry practice based on the principle that the congregation and the worship team need to work together to offer the best possible worship in church.
Let’s dive in!
Choose songs well to prevent crash landings in worship
50% of good worship ministry is selecting the right songs. If your song selection is off the mark, your worship session will most likely be a dud.
I’ve covered the most important best practices for choosing songs for worship in this article—do check it out if you still haven’t.
But, if you believe you have a winning set list with at least one new worship song, read on.
Select songs two weeks in advance… at least
If you’re into weekly song selection, change to a fortnightly frequency or advance it even earlier if you can.
At any point of time, your worship planning spreadsheet or software should have set-lists ready to go for the next two weeks at least.
If you’re already doing this, pat your back and move on to The Beehive Hack.
The Beehive Hack: using new worship songs without reducing congregational singing
Phase 1: Kick-start all week worship by sharing your set list
Here’s the deal:
Someone once said that the worship band is an extension of the congregation. While it sounds great in theory, let’s admit it—no one’s actually seen it in action.
In The Beehive Hack, we modify this ‘slogan’ to a more actionable reality:
The Congregation is part of the worship team.
Take a few moments and let it sink in.
Okay, here we go:
I’m sure you have a database of email-IDs and mobile numbers of your worshippers, right?
So, why not use it? Share the set list with your congregation on Monday morning (this is why you need to plan your set-list at least a week in advance).
Here’s what your Monday message should contain:
- Theme of the next Sunday
- Highlight of the upcoming new song explaining why it was selected requesting them to learn and use it in personal worship during that week.
- The new song’s YouTube link + Amazon MP3 or iTunes (if they wish to purchase it)
- Rest of the set list
Download this guide as a FREE PDF file! I’ve also included sample message formats in it since I’m running out of space here.
Follow it up with a similar text via Whatsapp, Telegram or whatever else is popular in your Church.
Send reminders on Thursday and Saturday mornings.
Position your message as a “help us make this Sunday worship better with your participation”. Make them feel part of the worship team to earn better engagement.
Want to know the best part?
You could be helping them worship throughout the week, not just on Sunday!
It’s also helpful if your pastors/leaders can make a few announcements to the congregation to expect this communication during the week.
Feeling the ninjutsu already?
Phase 2: Get your whole church ready by teaching the song
On Sunday, teach the new worship song at the top of the session.
Those who acted on your emails will sing the song comfortably from the congregation, which will motivate everyone else to join in too.
The song will be learnt quicker than usual.
So when you actually get to the song during the session, it’s already perfectly set up to be a winner!
If you have time, reprise the song at the end to drive it home.
But don’t stop here—we need to transform the new song into an old song—that’s the ultimate benefit of implementing The Beehive Hack!
Which brings us to the third phase:
Phase 3: Continue engaging and increase your church’s appetite for new songs!
While sending the next Monday morning message, mention the previously sung new worship song with a line saying something like
Wasn’t that song great?
Here’s another version you might enjoy worshipping with:
<<YouTube link to a different version of the same song>>.
Send video tutorial and chord chart links of the song to your small group worship leaders (if you have that sort of thing in your church) and encourage them to use it in their meetings too.
I am sure you get the idea:
For new songs to succeed in your church, treat worshippers as a part of the worship team and collaborate with them.
- New songs become familiar songs faster
- In the long run, most people would want to learn more songs since they end up singing songs more often (almost as much as the worship band)
- You get more opportunities to introduce new praise and worship songs
Isn’t that great?
Now it’s time to implement The Beehive Hack!
Instead of taking quick fix decisions like reducing/eliminating new songs, follow this guide and reap the many benefits of using new praise and worship songs without compromising congregational participation.
While it does require a shift in your thinking of what leading worship with songs is all about—from just Sunday sessions to all week engagement, the payoff is great for everyone!
How quickly you start seeing results depends on how soon you can shift your mindset from “me worship team, you congregation” to “we are part of one worship ministry” and begin working like bees—as a team building worship sessions together.
Once your thinking changes, it’s then a matter of engaging with and influencing your worshippers over email, text, social network groups etc.
Over a period of time, you’ll see new songs becoming old songs pretty quickly—so don’t give up if it doesn’t work out in the first few weeks.
Press on and you will build a culture of deeply engaged worship at your church—and not just on Sundays.
Don’t forget to download the free PDF version of this guide (contains sample message formats to get you started real quick).