Many have asked the Worship Team, “Who picks the music, and how is it picked?” We, Marianna Gill and Rev. James Petty, diligently work together on our worship services every week. We have also occasionally had help from others involved in our worship service when their schedule allows, like the senior minister, organist, and choir director.
We have found we have a similar approach to selecting the music. Our first and foremost thought is finding music that will enhance the particular theme of each Sunday. The theme is influenced by the scripture being read, the sermon, and its place in the liturgical (i.e. Advent) and secular (Veteran’s Day) calendars. From there, we arrange music to where it most appropriately fits in the worship service. Some themes have a plethora of songs and hymns that fit. Therefore, we take into consideration which pieces best fit the theme, have been requested by the congregation (i.e. during the Music Fest), or have not been sung in a while. When themes do not yield very many practical songs or hymns, we search for something that best fits the particular place in worship (i.e. Communion).
We have slides for over 400 different songs and hymns we have done since the introduction of the monitors in the Sanctuary. As we add new music to our list, we consider several things. Is it singable? Can the congregation learn it easily? How can we best introduce and teach the new song or hymn? Through knowledge gained while attending worship conferences, Marianna has learned the best way to introduce a new song is to sing it with the congregation at least three Sundays- it can be three Sundays in a row, or three Sundays out of four. Another way we introduce songs to the congregation is to have the Praise Band do the song as a prelude or postlude before the congregation sings it. Our hope is when it’s time for the congregation to sing the song, it will already sound familiar.
We have been very fortunate to get the scripture and themes 1-2 months in advance so we can spend time planning these services. Planning the music takes us 30-60 minutes for a regular worship service. There have been times when we needed to table a worship service to deliberate on music options.
In the end, we try to put together music that is both coherent with the theme and flows appropriately with our worship service. We thank you for all your comments and suggestions, and your votes for our Music Fests.
Peace and Blessings,
Marianna Gill & Rev. James Petty