Have you ever had a conversation with a four year old? If you have you know how fascinating it can be, if not, let me give you a little insight. It might go something like this:

“Hi my name is Thatcher! What's your name?”
“Do you like Legos? I have a lot of Star Wars Legos.”
“You know what? I have a dog! Her name is BoomBoom.”
“My mommy is going to get me some ice cream! Do you know my mommy?”
“My favorite is chocolate with sprinkles!”
“Uh, What's your name again?”
“Hey! Look what I can do!”
“BoomBoom likes ice cream, too. Sometimes she licks it off my hands.”
“I have a big box of toys at my house. Wanna come over and play with me?”
“Oh, I gotta go now. Will you be here tomorrow? I'll bring my Legos so we can play! Ok, bye!”

By the end of the “conversation” you are exhausted, know more than you want to know about Thatcher and need to go sit somewhere in silence and decompress.

Sometimes I think that is what it feels like in our worship services. Sure, you have put in good rehearsal time with your team and feel like you are really tight musically, but your songs have no common thread or theme that tie them together or to the rest of the service. It is very easy to want to play your favorite songs all the time, but when we do that our services can feel a little like the conversation with Thatcher. Random, scattered and leaving the congregation with nothing more than a "Best Of" collection of Top 40 worship songs.

I want to encourage you to give a little more thought to your worship set than “What are my favorite songs this week?” One easy way to give the whole service a common thread is to find out what the message is about or what scripture is being used that week. That way you can find songs that complement, enhance or even give a different perspective to what the pastor is speaking on. The congregation may or may not be aware that everything that morning had a common theme, but that's ok, that is where we leave it up to the Holy Spirit! I'll bet, though, that sometime later that week someone will start singing a song you played on Sunday morning and be reminded of one of the points from the message. It's cool how God works that way!

Now, I know that not all pastors plan out their messages far enough in advance to give you time to plan a set that coincides with his message. (I have worked with many pastors that never knew what they were speaking on until the night before!) That does not, however, give you an excuse to not plan a cohesive song set. You can put together a set that talks about God's love, or trusting in Him, or different postures of worship or anything you feel God putting on your heart that week. Many times God has a way of tying things together anyway! (He is pretty cool like that!)

If you have any questions or need help putting together set lists with a common theme or topic, or just want someone to talk to about leading worship, please let me know I am here to help! You can contact me by email justin@justingravesband.com
Ok, I'm going to go have ice cream with Thatcher and BoomBoom now!

So, I have really been struggling with my songwriting lately. Thankfully, there is another amazing song writer that lives in my house! Let me tell you a little story about one of our latest songwriting experiences. 

A couple of weeks ago we had the privilege of leading the worship for First Baptist Frisco's Kids on a Mission Camp. Everyday during their rotation groups the kids had "Band Time". At first we thought we would just hang out with them and play some songs and we would get to know them and they would get to know us and it would just be a fun hang out time. But then Michelle had a great idea. "Let's write a song with the kids this week and we can perform it with them on the last day!" she said.  Oh man, the pressure! Can we actually do that? Write a song finish it and perform it with the kids in 4 days? Ok, let's give it a shot! 

So we started the writing process. Michelle, Timothy (our drummer for the week) and I all sat down in the auditorium to write a theme song for the week. Knowing my recent struggles, I sat there blank and frustrated. So Michelle said "Ok, what about this..." and ripped of the lyrics to a chorus. WOW! That was amazing! We taught it to the kids and they helped us make up the motions and it ROCKED! We then took what the kids were learning each day and Michelle, again, made it fit into a verse that was simple but made each lesson point memorable.

This isn't the first time Michelle has written a song or been involved in the songwriting process. She is a great songwriter herself and a sounding board for songs I am writing. I love writing songs with her and I look forward to sharing many more songs that she has written and we have written together. I am so glad that God has placed Michelle in my life. She is an amazing wife, partner, songwriter and friend. 

The song turned out great so we wanted to share it with you! Here we are at Kids on a Mission Camp 2013 with the kids from FBC Frisco in the debut of "Fear Not!"  


AuthorJustin Graves