Set List

As worship leaders we are always faced with the challenge of putting together a song list for the weekend services.  We are faced with the questions like “is it fresh?” “Any new songs?” “Is it diverse?” “Is it in a good key?” “Does it go with the message?” “Are we doing How Great Is Our God?” and the list goes on and on.  We thought we would share a couple of our thoughts on how we put together our lists week in and week out.


Just like food in your pantry all songs have their own shelf life.  Certain songs have a longer life span than others.  As culture keepers in our church we try to keep a close eye on what songs we are doing to “keep it fresh.”  Fresh will look different in every environment, so you have to find a good balance for the environment you are in!  Some things we do to try to keep it fresh are:

  • We try not to kill a song by playing it every week – unless it is a new song in rotation we rarely play a song two weeks in a row

  • We constantly keep new songs in the rotation – It is more challenging for the team but well worth the results

  • We will take an old song and freshen it up! –  A new twist on an old song

  • We format all of our songs based on what we think will feel best for our services. – How a song is played on a CD doesn’t always fit best for the service or for who is leading.


Everyone has their way of picking song lists and how often they do so.  At our church we plan all of our song lists one month at a time.  We will look at each weekend and what events/special elements are happening for the month.  Then we begin the process of filtering through what songs we will do and who will lead them.  A few of our filters are:

  • Diversity – A diverse set list for us means several things.  We consistently try to have a gospel song/or a song with a gospel flavor in the mix.  Also, we keep an upbeat rock song in the mix, along with very dynamic worship songs to end the set.

  • Who’s leading – Each month we plan who is leading, and how we can give opportunities to up and coming worship leaders.  We will find a good week to have them lead and pair them with a song that will set them up to succeed.

  • Message Series – We do our very best to find songs that will be great for the message series that our Pastor is teaching on that month.

  • What service and where? – We have several services at different campuses each weekend.  We keep the song lists as close as possible but each service over the course of a weekend has a slightly different feel based on what time it is and where it is.  So we will change up a list here and there to fit the need of the service.

These are just a few of the practical filters and things we do to keep our worship sets fresh and relevant.  It can be a time consuming process each month, but it is well worth the time to put detailed thought into your list planning.  These are some things that work for us.  We would love to hear what works for you!!!!

Jesse Pritchett

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