TFH Worship Blog

Words and pictures from our team.

  • September 07, 2014
  • in Leadership

Picking Set Lists for Special Events

This weekend, we have our annual TFH Men's Conference.  There is nothing like getting a room full of passionate, worshiping men together.  Usually, the volume of the men shouting at the end of songs is literally deafening and overwhelms our crowd mics and in-ear monitors.  It's an awesome problem to have for sure.

Thinking about the conference, though, takes some specific attention - especially in the area of the set list.  As a lead-vocalist, I love songs that push me to the top of my range, because the passion that is seen and heard creates a "product" that incites others to passion as well.  If I'm singing in a key that is in the dead middle of my range usually there's not as much passion, because my volume and even countenance are affected.

So, when thinking about set lists for special events such as these, there are several things that the team and I consider when crafting the plan for our worship times:


1) "What's Best for the Rest?"

Are the songs and keys we're selecting going to empower this particular group of people to worship freely?  If we're sounding great on stage, but no one in the congregation can sing with us because it's out of their range, we have failed.  We, as worship leaders and teams, are there to "Make the best possible opportunity for people to meet with God" (Bob Sorge).  The songs affect that.  The key and range affects that.

So, for our men's conference, we're generally dropping all the songs we do down one whole step.  We're going to be doing the new Worship Central song, "The Way", which is written in the key of "B".  So, at conference, we'll be doing it in "A".  It's not as passionate, but the majority of guys can't comfortably sing it in "B" (in our experience), so we're dropping the key to make that "moment" in worship more successful.

If the crowd can worship and make each song their own, then it's a win.  If they feel left behind because of the key, theme, or other aspect, we all lose.


2) Theme

At a men's conference, themes that are about overcoming, passion, rising up, etc. usually work really well, because God has wired us, as men, to embody these themes.  Our closing song for the conference is "Overcome" by Jon Egan/New Life Worship.  Why?  I think you know why.  At a women's conference, the crowd is generally ready to go "deep", intimate with God, and to really expose the deepest depths of their hearts.  Why?  Because women are wired to be more in touch with those emotions than men are.  Now, I realize these are gross generalizations, but being on stage for both of these type of events, you see how the room lights up when you hit these themes.

So, for any special event you may have, ask yourself, "Are the themes we're singing about in line with the theme of this event?"  A worship time that is centered around a theme that is completely opposite to the theme of the event doesn't serve the event, leaders, or attendees well and creates an overall awkward moment for sure!  


3) Remember Why We're Here!

This is another post for another time, but we believe that our priorities in worship ministry are as follows:

1) Minister to God - first and foremost

2) Minister to the People

3) Serve the Leadership of the House (or particular meeting/event)

4) Serve/Minister to Your Team-Members (prefer one another)

5) Enjoy It!  (your personal gratification)


Our Lead Pastor, Dave Patterson, and I wrote a book called "Lessons for the Worship Team" that is a great resource for worship teams.  If you're interested in reading the whole lesson on "The Priorities of Worship Ministry" and any of the other 26 lessons in the book, check it out here .  So in every time we gather together, remember that list of priorities and it will keep your head in the right space.  We're not here for our own gratification and self-expression.  We're here to advance the Kingdom of God in every setting we're called to serve in.

So I hope this has been a helpful look at just some of the factors we look at when planning our set lists for special events and services.  I'm sure you'll find some of these concepts to overlap into regular weekly worship services as well.


Thanks for reading!

Joseph Zwanziger

Worship Pastor - The Father's House