3 Steps To A Worship Set That Engages Everyone

A Handy Infographic

Putting together a worship set can be a daunting task, but don't be intimidated.  A worship set is a journey.  Think of this as your map.


This is awesome!

Alert me when vocal lessons are live

More Worship Leading Tips

Creating Moments In Worship

Give your congregation a helping hand

What separates a good worship set from a great one?  You might be surprised by the answer

Song Introduction: 4 Ways To Do It Right

Give Your Congregation a Helping Hand

On Tuesday morning a new song comes across the wire and you are inspired.  It’s got everything you look for: solid biblical lyrics, a soaring melody that manages to hang within the congregational range and a killer guitar hook that stays with you for days.  Sunday arrives and you let it rip, but half-way through that epic bridge you scan over the congregation and all that looks back at you is a sea of blank faces.  What went wrong?  

Jason Houtsma serves as Worship Pastor for Mosaic Church in Bellingham, WA, Husband to Alli, Father to Bjorn and Asher, and guitar instructor for WorshipArtistry.com

3 Steps To A Worship Set That Engages Everyone

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great worship set

i think thats a great worship set. so many churches start their worship sets with a bang and then another bang and then a slow, another slow, and then a upbeat song, so then your heart seems to be beating fast by the time the sermon starts.

i like the way you gave the idea of that worship set (above).

great worship set jason.

It also

makes it easy to introduce new elements. Things always feel somewhat familiar because they are presented in a familiar rhythm.

yeah true

I'm so thankful that God sent me to this site, i just got done learning guitar it was so easy the way you explanand it, and i just got done learning my 2nd song from Worship artistry the first was ''the lord our God'' the second was ''this is amazing grace'' both wear super easy, if i just was looking at the sheet music or tab i would still be learning them i'm so thankful.
by the way what happend to your martin? it looked pretty bad on facebook.

So glad it's helpful

I had my Martin laying on my stool while I set my lighting and it just fell off and landed on top of my pedal board. A foot switch went through he side. I spoke with the tech today and he says it's coming out really well but he has to keep drop filling it so it may not be done until Friday. I figured I'd rather have him take his time and do a good job than rush him. I'll have to borrow a guitar for this week's lessons though.


My Guild is in the ER too... been using a friends older ovation with no electronics. Using an Audio-technica AT2020 mic - like it, but really miss my Guild!

thank you!

This is a great format. Gives some structure but also leaves room for creativity or spontaneous changes. How do you feel about starting the service with a slow anthem? I think it would be awkward every week but every once in a while it can be pretty cool. Thoughts?

Mellower worship songs

are how we often start, end, and sometimes stay at throughout our worship. The small house church that I often lead worship for comes from a Vineyard background, and there have been times that we have planned out 3-4 songs, and God comes in and changes things up so that we never get past the first 2 songs. We have literally stayed in that mode of worship for multiple hours at times. The most that I can remember in an unplanned setting was close to 4 hours.

For the lead worshippers, they are encouraged to pray into the service well before the day they are signed up to lead, and to ask the Lord what songs He would have us sing, and in what order, to match the theme of what He is going to do that day. This nearly every time creates a sort of divine "storyline" that delineates the Father's heart to us, but we still rely first and foremost on following the Holy Spirit's moment-by-moment leading as He desires. I couldn't tell you how many times I've been lost in that sort of rapturous, breathtaking worship as the presence of the Almighty floods the room. All glory to Him, because He truly is spectacular in His ways.

We definitely need to be able to shift in the moment

Leadership is being aware of what the Spirit is doing as well as what those we are leading are responding to. I would never suggest being overly formulaic but being prepared with a basic guideline allows us to be free in the moment.

Deviation from the format can be powerful

When you change things that have a form, it emphasizes the change all the more. I love starting with a slower tune or even trying to create a moment right at the start. One time I just unplugged my guitar, stepped away from the mic and led Rich Mullins' "Step By Step" (God You are My God). It was amazing. No powerpoint, no amplification just 150 voices and an acoustic guitar. It was beautiful.

For Jason

Thank you so very much! I use the songs and arrangements that you have posted very, very often. The solo acoustic section is my go-to since we have such a small group and meet in small spaces. Keep serving, brother!

Sidenote: Are you still going to continue with the tutorials for the drum parts? And I thought that maybe you had mentioned something one time about bass tutorials?

You are very welcome!

The solo acoustic chapters are probably my favorite parts of the lesson. As far as bass lessons, we will be introducing our bass and keyboard teachers shortly...

Fewer songs

This is very helpful. How would you "roadmap" the songs if you only had three songs on the worship set? Our service is limited on time, so we have one set of three, then two more songs between the other elements of the service.


Off the top of my head, I would probably go with 2 upbeat tunes and then a hymn on the front end and choose meditative songs during the service based around the themes they are transitioning from and 2 but I'd love to hear other thoughts. How do you usually do it?

Shorter Worship Sets

I lead in a children's (K-5th) ministry setting, and we have a service that typically has 2 sections of music: 2 praise (upbeat) songs, and 2 worship songs. I always struggle with finding appropriate praise songs for our kids as I tend to be a Chris Tomlin, deep lyrics and meaning type worshiper myself. This week I am changing it up a bit, going with Our God (I always play it too fast anyway :-p), Let the Praises Ring, Where I Belong and Forever Reign (planning on integrating your solo acoustic tips for the first time on this one). Should be a lot of fun!