Every worship leader has a set of songs they like to return to every five or so Sundays. They are the songs that bring out the fullest in our churches; hands are raised, and the voices sing out all the louder. It’s great to return to these songs every so often, giving our people something familiar – something we know they love. But how do we keep these songs fresh? How do we offer a new experience of worship while using the familiar? We’ve put together a list of three simple solutions to those questions.
1. Change up the key, and rotate who leads the song. A key change is a simple way to achieve a fresh feel. Go a step further and experiment with who on your worship team is best suited to lead the song in different keys. Sometimes female voices lend themselves better to certain keys, sometimes male voices do. Even with such a simple change, you may just find members of your congregation telling you how much of a blessing it was to hear a new version of the song.
2. Change up the instrumentation and/or length of the song. Remember, just because these are songs we return to often doesn’t mean they always have to be played the same way. Perhaps one Sunday you rely on synth and electric guitar, and another you use piano and acoustic. This not only mixes things up, but can be utilized to emphasize different themes within the song. A more upbeat tempo can bring out the joy and hope in the lyrics, while a slower acoustic version with longer instrumental breaks can lead to a more somber, prayerful experience. And speaking of longer instrumental breaks…
3. Add Scriptures to the slides during instrumental breaks. Specifically, Scriptures that correspond with the theme of the song being sung. This is an extremely powerful tool to help the congregation better understand what they are singing. Even if they have sung the song a hundred times, perhaps they’ve never pondered what the words are truly saying. Giving them points of reference by using the Bible can give a new perspective, and a deeper appreciation for any oh-so-familiar song.
There are plenty of ways to keep familiar songs feeling fresh, and these are just a few we know to be simple and effective. As a sort of fourth item to the list, have brainstorming sessions with your worship team to find even more ideas!