Full Version: do you use a song list, or a song menu?
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Pre-planned Song List vs. Song Menu

This is just a style question, not that one is better or righter than the other, but I've come to prefer using a song menu rather than a pre-determined song list when I am planning for an event where Dean and I will be leading the music.

Not sure what I'm talking about? Well a song list would be a written list of songs in a certain order that is planned and possibly rehearsed to be done in that order. You pretty much know where you are starting, where you will end up and how you will get there.

A song menu is just that: a menu of songs that you might (or might not) choose to do as you go through the worship time. It is different from a song list in that it is not constructed in a first-to-last order, but in like sections: same key, or same function (openers, exhortation, throne room songs, response songs, ministry songs, etc.) With a song menu, you might have an idea of where you will start, but as you test the way the wind of the Spirit is blowing, you might choose to stay in a certain kind of song for a while, or move into a ministry song if it seems that is what the Spirit is saying after a glorious outpouring of worship. A song menu gives you the freedom to move in and out of intercession, worship, and ministry in a much more fluid way.

Now the challenge with that is if you have to move a whole team of musicians and singers along with you. The song menu approach can only work if everyone's shares the repetoire and is comfortable moving back and forth through it and through different keys. Obviously, the more people involved, the more complicated this gets.....but when it works...oh my....it can be glorious, because you are so free to follow the minute by minute direction of the Holy Spirit.

You can ease into the song menu style of song leading a bit at a time. You can start by having a couple of "alternates" on your list in case a ministry song or a repentance song is needed, and maybe a reponse-type song or too. That would allow you to insert something not previously a part of your list should the moment call for it. These "alternate" songs could also be rehearsed with the regular list. Eventually, the whole list could become "alternate" songs....See where I'm going?

Now, I'm not saying that every single thing that is in a pre-planned song list can't be exactly what God wants to do....of course it can. God is God, and He can certainly tell us way ahead of time just how things will go. My point in making this post is to challenge us to go beyond the normal planning concepts and look beyond the way it's always been done.

Or maybe you prepare your song leading in another way? I'd love to hear about it...we can all learn from each other!

Oh, our band definitely uses a menu!! How many times have I been told that they'd be doing such and such a song - not!! Still, it's nice to know the Holy Spirit's in charge!!
Yes! The menu approach can certainly be challenging for those who are not musicians too, good point. It's very comfortable to have all your flags and other extensions layed out in order and have a plan on how you will use them in the service order--we learn to be flexible in that too, and to move out beyond our "comfort zone". And think about the overhead person, who, if they are not really on the ball, will be scrambling to find the right transparency.

That's why it's a good idea--no, really important for ALL the worship team to be in on whatever the planning session is! If we at least have an idea of the "menu" we will not be caught completely off guard when the direction changes and we are called on to flow with it.
HelenaZF,Jul 16 2006, 05:33 PM Wrote:And think about the overhead person, who, if they are not really on the ball, will be scrambling to find the right transparency.
or to find the right verses. And Lord forbid it if the stack of plastic falls over!!! :o

Yes, indeed! That's one of the reasons for the whole, "greater worship team" approach. If the sound tech and the overhead/powerpoint person attend the rehearsals, they begin to understand just what might be going on so that they can complement rather than obstruct! Just going through the whole menu helps the flipper know that things are missing. We had that very problem in our service this morning. Flipper had not a clue as she arrived her normal 20 minutes or so prior to service. Usually enough time to make sure the overhead works, and that she has a stack of plastic and a basic list of what's planned. Did not hear the rehearsal to familiarize self with music or to make sure that the list had not changed. As a result (observing, not criticizing, okay??), one song never saw the light of overhead, another song with multiple verses absolutely lost her so the rest of the congregation got to sing one verse and a couple of choruses instead of the 4 or 5 verses that were present. Lots of La-la-la-ing going on. Bummer. It was a good song! It would have been all-the-more powerful if we had been proclaiming those words instead of proclaiming hmm-hmm-hmm-hmm-hmm-hmm-hmm-hmm.

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Awesome discussion! Big Grin

When I first started "leading worship", I'd take a list to the OHP and say "here's the list, good luck". . .and leave it at that. . . .he'd scrounge to find the right overhead when I started the song--and it always worked very well.

Then into a baptist church (notice little 'b'). We were much more structured, and used a proper list and NEVER deviated from that list. Slightly torturous.

Next was in the basement of the Anglican (Episcopal) church in a more free gathering. . .still used a list. We kind of became a much smaller version of the last church.

Enter the Elm. . .did I say we meet in a bar? Big Grin The other worship team uses a list and from what I can see, does not deviate much if at all from it. I go with a "setlist" as I use Worship Assistant. I usually pick many more songs that I'll use, and often get there and add more. . . .at the moment because we are so small, I try to do my own overheads, which works quite well. Once in a while my pastor will get up and adjust the overhead or remove it from a marked-up sleeve. I never do the order I have written, and go all over the place. I'm trying to follow the river--as Bob Sorge wrote about in "Following the River".

At the "little b" church we were at, one of the deacons mentioned once that we as a church enjoyed our pastor's spontaneity. . .(following the river) hehe