Lyrical Responsibility

I’d like to take a few moments and talk about the importance of lyrics in worship. Nothing is more frustrating than wrong lyrics on a screen, either grammatically or theologically. I’ll reiterate what I’ve mentioned before – worship is at its best and most effective when it does not stand alone, but rather sets the table for the preaching of the Word of God. It’s great to sound awesome and have energy and joy on the stage, but a lack of attention to details can make us look unprepared and cause a distraction to the audience. Remember, music is a powerful tool and the words and melodies we present to people will stay with them throughout the week.

First, make sure the lyrics you are asking your congregation to sing are actually Biblical! So many times we hear a song and it moves us emotionally and we can’t wait to rehearse it and introduce it to our church, but a deeper look may reveal that what the song is actually saying does not line up with God’s Word. I’ve heard tons of songs through the years that are simply foolish in their lyrical content. We have a serious responsibility to think through what lyrics we sing. Before you add that new worship song to your repertoire make sure you can stand behind what it has say. Better yet, take a look at your existing songs and double check the lyrics. Chances are pretty good you’ll find something you have missed all this time.

Secondly, does the spirit of the song match the spirit of your pastor and your church? Many worship songs dwell on the idea that “life is hard, but one day it’ll all be over and we’ll be in heaven!” These songs were popular in the early 1900’s and fill the hymnbooks. Conversely there is a genre that proclaims an idea of “everything is awesome all the time!” This was the theme of a large number of early worship songs written in the ‘80s & ‘90s. At COTM we tend to be drawn to lyrics that focus on redemption and the greatness of our God. And these are the types of songs that resonate best with our congregation. Take time this week to find songs with lyrics that best fit your church’s personality.

Finally, make sure the lyrics are right! Nothing is more frustrating than singing one thing and seeing another on the screen. Nothing throws me off balance more than seeing wrong lyrics in front of me. I can imagine it’s the same for the people in the room trying to worship. Take time each week to make sure that you import the correct lyrics to the system that projects them onto your main screens and onto your worship team’s lyric monitor. I know this sounds extremely basic, but it’s often the most overlooked detail of a worship service. It’s something we’ve been diligent about lately, and it’s made a huge difference in the comfort level of our leaders.

We have found over and over again that attention to lyrical details affords us a better opportunity to create a more worshipful environment. I encourage you to spend a little extra time this week to make sure your lyrics are spot on.

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Andy Chrisman
Worship Pastor
Andy came to Church on the Move in 2005, having been in the music industry for over 25 years. He's dedicated to raising up the next generation of worship leaders, and even though he spent many years with the group 4him, he says he's "having more fun now than I ever did on the road."