Creating a dynamic set list

One of the questions that I’m asked during worship clinics is, “How do we create dynamic set lists that meet our desire to bless God and to help people engage in worshiping Him?”

Here are some simple steps that will help you as you create a set list for your next service.

Step 1

Ask yourself what is the Holy Spirit prompting you to sing.

Is there a theme?

Or, is there a primary song? What song do you sense is the pivotal song for the service, a song that you feel compelled to sing?

Step 2

Ask yourself what songs would flow well with the primary song or with the theme.

Look at those songs and listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting in your spirit to determine if you should add that song to the set.

Step 3

Look at the songs’ words when you’re creating the set, and ensure that there’s a flow where the songs’ words build on each other. If you’re two songs into the set, fully focused on God, you don’t want to start another song that’s a call to worship—one that encourages people to worship—you’re already worshiping at that point. Don’t take a step backward.

Step 4

Keep the song keys related to encourage a musical flow. Transitioning from a song in Bb to a song in E can be a little bumpy, not impossible, but not smooth.

When changing keys, try to move upward. In other words, if you’re in the key of D, doing the next song in the key of E or G or A would work, but going from the key of D to the key of C has the potential of feeling like you’re losing momentum musically.

Also, if some of the songs are in the same key, can you move smoothly from one to another without stopping one and starting another one?

Step 5

Be creative in your song arrangements.

Be creative musically. You’re not obligated to sing a song exactly as it was recorded.

What can your musicians handle musically?

What would make the song sound fresh?

Be creative in choosing what parts of the song to sing. You may want to start on a chorus of one song, go into the bridge, then move through the song. You aren’t obligated to sing all of the verses, the chorus, and the bridge of every song.

Finally, follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit when you’re creating the set, and follow His prompting while you’re leading. You’ll create a dynamic set that blesses God and engages the people.