The structure of a worship song list
I’ve been listening to The Journey Collective’s new album Songs from the book of Ephesians over the last couple of weeks. I won’t go into a full review, but suffice it to say, I really enjoyed the eclectic nature of the songs. ‘Now in Christ’ might find its way into our International Worship repertoire in the future:
Zac Hicks has written a broader review, worth reading. What I do want to do is pull out one of his observations. He highlights the intentional structure of the songs
1. To Praise Your Glory – Call to Worship
2. The Love of God – Song of Adoration
3. Wars Within – Song of Confession
4. As Your Own – Song of Assurance
5. To Him Who is Able – Song of Mission
6. Wondrous Love – Call to Worship
7. A Son of God – Song of Adoration
8. Anchor Our Hearts – Song of Confession
9. In Our Place – Song of Assurance
10. Now in Christ – Song of Mission
For those of us in ‘informal-liturgy’ contexts, this is a really helpful structure to use in planning our song lists. It is a structure which helps the congregation join into the story of God’s redemption.
Call to worship – we gather together in order to worship God as the church gathered, and with the distraction of our busy lives, it helps to begin with a song which calls us together to behold and worship God together.
Song of Adoration – Worship involves revelation and response; we can only respond to God when we behold Him, so we sing about who he is and what he has done.
Song of Confession – When we see God in His holiness we recognise our own inadequacy and sin, so we confess together how we have sinned against God.
Song of Assurance – When we confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive us, so we sing about how he has forgiven us and brought us into right relationship with him through Jesus.
Song of Mission – The church gathers in order to be sent out again to fulfil the great commission. The reality of the gospel in our own lives leads to living it out in our lives.
Of course, these elements don’t have to necessarily be sung, we can use prayers and spoken elements, and many songs can be creatively used in different slots in the structure. The idea is that is a tool in our toolkit, a helpful structure in which to plan our times of singing.