Small Tweaks, Big Difference

Do you ever get that gnawing in your gut, the one that says something’s just not right?

That gnawing attacked me this past Saturday morning as I was running a few errands, and at the same time running the weekend worship set through my head. We had rehearsed on Thursday night and now we were 8 hours from putting it on stage in front of a couple thousand people. And something just didn’t feel right.

I wasn’t anticipating that we needed to change the entire set. I just knew that there were a few little details that were going to take this from being a nice 5 song set to a powerful worship time. A few tweaks would turn out to make a big difference - adding a chorus here, shortening an intro there, maybe even cutting/adding a time where someone talks. Running through all of these scenarios in my mind a dozen times would eventually lead me to a real comfort level with the worship set.

As I watch worship services online each week I see a host of worship leaders who aren’t paying enough attention to the little things, in my opinion. I think we can all benefit from nitpicking our sounds, song roadmaps, singer selections and so on and so forth. Below are just a few things I wrestle with each week...

  • Who’s going to lead each song? Are the keys right for the lead vocalists? Am I confident they can deliver a compelling performance?

  • Is this the best combination of players I can put together? Do I have competent musicians in key spots? A weak player in a key position sets us up for a train wreck.

  • Will each of the songs we’ve chosen connect in the way we want them to? Do we need to rethink the arrangements or switch the order? When is it too late to change a song in the set?

  • Who’s going to talk between songs and what are they going to say? And if someone does talk, is it absolutely necessary, or are the songs doing the talking for us?

  • Are we ultimately leading toward a great moment in the set or are these just nice songs?

  • Are we building around a central theme or are the topics of the songs all over the map?

  • Does every singer have to sing on every song, and does every harmony line have to be sung ALL THE TIME?

  • Are the transitions solid from song to song? Am I confident that there are no weird jumps in keys between songs?

  • Have I listened to this set from start to finish enough times to be firmly convinced that it’s a winner?

These are just a few of the thoughts that I struggle with from Monday afternoon until Saturday morning. But the burden is always worth it. The more time I put into thinking through the set the more confident I am once people are in the room. What are you doing to make sure your worship set is the best it can be each and every week?

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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."