How to Create a Seamless Worship Set: Tips and Tricks

Worship leader, you have the weighty role of putting words of worship on your people’s lips. You desire to help them connect with God and passionately express their praise to Him. But how can you do that well? 

Guest post by: Alex Enfiedjian, Worship Ministry Training

Here is a step-by-step breakdown that will help you build cohesive, Christ-centered sets that will sweep people up in the passionate praise of God.

Weak Sets = Weak Worship

If your people aren’t engaging during worship, it’s likely because your sets aren’t revealing Christ clearly.

Biblical worship is always revelation, then response. When people see God clearly, they can’t help but fall on their faces and worship Him. (Think of Peter in the boat after the miraculous catch of fish. Or Isaiah after he sees the Lord “high and lifted up”).

The more you can reveal Christ’s nature, character, and work, the more passionately your church will respond in praise. 

To do that we need…

Strong Songs - The Foundation of Your Set

Strong, clear, Biblical, rich songs are the building block of your set. The stronger your songs, the stronger your sets. I have a whole article on how to identify strong songs, which you can read here.

Go through your song database and eliminate any weak, unclear, vague, “Christianese” songs that don’t say anything poignantly. Get rid of the weak songs, and you’ll immediately elevate the strength of your sets. 

Before we pick songs for our set, we need to…

Determine Your Theme

The best sets follow a thematic progression of thoughts. They center around a theme or a set of related concepts. Usually, this theme would match your pastor’s sermon. Work closely with your pastor to determine what they will be teaching that week. You don’t want the themes of your songs jumping all over the place. That feels disjointed and fragmented.

Once you’ve determined your theme, you need to…

Assess Your Band

Talent: You want to pick songs that your band can play well. Lean into their strengths, and work around their weaknesses. If you have a beginner guitar player, don’t pick songs with difficult lead lines. If you have a soft singer, don’t pick a powerhouse song…instead, opt for a ballad. Play to your team’s strengths! 

Textures: Also, consider what “textures” you have at your disposal. If it’s just an acoustic guitar and cajon, you won’t be able to pull off those “huge rock” sounding songs. 

Don’t fight your limitations, embrace them. This will narrow down what songs you can pick.

Picking Songs

Now that you’ve determined your theme, pick as many songs that support that theme as possible. Put them into a giant list (don’t worry, we won’t play them all). They are just ideas to work with.

Once we have that list, we’ll start figuring out which songs work best by…

Finding Flow

Instead of 5 individual songs, your set should feel like a unified, cohesive journey that flows thematically and musically. You do this by finding flow.

Musical: Musical flow comes by using related keys and descending tempos. You can grab my Relative Keys Cheat Sheet here. Your tempos typically should start upbeat (“enter his gates with thanksgiving”), and descend gradually into slower, more contemplative songs.

Thematic Flow: You also want the songs to flow logically. If you’re singing about the blood of Jesus at the end of one song, your next song should expand upon and amplify that thought. The more coherent the themes flow, the more people will be swept up in the moment. 

Pro-Tip: You can tie themes together more clearly by eliminating long intros and outros of songs

Pro-Tip #2: A question you can ask while working to find flow is “What does my heart want to say next?” 

End Vertical 

If you’re taking people on a journey, you want to get them to a worthwhile destination. Your goal should be a clear, climactic view of God’s goodness, glory, and grandeur. To do this, end with “Vertical” songs (songs about God’s nature and character). Avoid ending with I-centered songs (ie: I Surrender All). Give your people a clear, vivid view of God, and they will respond with wholehearted worship. 

Polish Your Set - Transitions and Additional Elements

Now that you’ve got a solid set, you can enhance it by dialing in your transitions. Strive to make your songs flow seamlessly from one to the next. Keep people in the moment by avoiding clunky transitions and awkward pauses. The set should feel like one cohesive journey. 

Also, consider utilizing additional elements to move beyond just singing songs. Try a call to worship (usually a Psalm), a Scripture on the screens, an exhortation, or an explanation. Do whatever you need to do to get your people’s eyes on Jesus. 

Keep Working At It

Building seamless sets takes practice and time to master. But God is worthy of our best, and our churches will benefit from our effort. Practice these things diligently and you will make progress! You can do it! 

If you’d like more help with your sets, you can check out the Worship Ministry Training Academy, where we have 10 in-depth courses for worship leaders, teaching you the practical skills you need to build a thriving worship ministry. 

Written by: Alex Enfiedjian

Alex has been leading worship for over 20 years and have been a worship pastor in churches of 150 to 10,000. He started Worship Ministry Training in 2014 and God has used it to train over 20,000 worship leaders worldwide.

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