Brian Gonder

Music Workshop: Planning A Service

The following article is taken from the music workshop, “Moving Music Forward in the Church” which was held on November 23, 2019. You can view the whole series with the tag MW2019.

Music is an integral part of a church meeting. It has many elements that contribute to the overall blessing that a believer gets from being there.

Often a song leader will rush into the church without any prior thought of what songs will be sung. They are chosen last minute and given to the musicians right before the service starts.


It is your responsibility as a song leader to be God’s servant up front and it’s no coincidence that you are there. The church has selected you, but more importantly, God has you working for him.

Be genuine in your responsibility, and take it seriously. Pray about your contribution, song selection, and most importantly the people in attendance. Be timely. Planning the earlier the better because people are counting on you.

What’s the theme?

I can remember when I would do openings for the church, and it would be just a chairman and a piano. We picked 4 hymns we liked. I believe now that there has to be more thought to it.

It is important to keep on a theme or move people in the direction of the morning. Be selective of songs that fit where the speaker is headed. It builds the theme and helps the focus of the audience.

Song Selection

Choosing the right songs is so important to the success of the music time. One of the methods for choosing songs that I enjoy comes from Psalm 100.

1 Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.

We can use the 4 G’s to build a song list.

  1. Gather: Vs 1 and 2 – Song choice, “Come, Now is the Time to Worship”
  2. Glory (Declare): V 3 – Song Choice, “Our God is Greater”
  3. Give (Praise and Worship): V 4 – Song Choice, “Crown Him with Many Crowns”
  4. Goodness: V 5 – Song Choice, “Jesus Messiah”


It is important to have a flow to the music session. This can be done by incorporating various song speeds in your selection. For example you could choose songs that are quicker at the beginning, and then move to a slower pace as you go on. If you are going slow, fast, slow, fast, etc, it can be distracting

Try a variety of song styles or themes that will give a balance. Some can be more focused on praise or worship or thanksgiving or surrender etc. Placement of your song selection matters as well. Picking a song of reflection right before ministry can geat hearts in the right place to listen to the Word.

More than just music

A well-placed verse, thought, prayer, reading or video are all great ways to engage the hearts of God’s people during the praise time. Again, keep the theme in mind

Don’t talk too much: Too much talking can be distracting. It can take away from the flow of the music. As a song leader know where you are going and how you are going to get there.

These are just a few thoughts on this important subject of planning the music time at a church meeting.

Brian Gonder
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