How many is too much? How many new songs can you have in a worship service?
I’ve had several conversations over this past month with worship leaders/planners that approach this question very differently. Some churches’ worship identities are set in part by the answer to this question. We are the church that sings the golden oldies… we are the church of innovation.
I know of churches where including a new song in worship is something that is done with some fear and trepidation on the part of the worship planners who also know that a new song can neither be the first nor last song in the service. I’ve talked with a musician from a church where new music is being written for their services on a weekly basis.
There are good reasons not to have too expansive of a repertoire and repeat the same songs; the congregation knows many of the words by heart and often the Holy Spirit will bring those words to mind when most needed. We have all heard stories of individuals who cannot remember their own child’s name but will be able to sing and find great comfort in the well-known words of hymns.
Alternately, there are good reasons to introduce and write new songs. The broader and even tailored repertoire can allow for the perfect pairing of message and music. The music retains a freshness and there can be an enthusiasm not found with the well-known no matter how loved. New songs often reflect new concerns or new ways of voicing concerns which is helpful when connecting to a younger or non-church crowd.
What about your church? Do you have you a policy or an unofficial maybe even unspoken guideline for how many new songs you sing? Why?