Tim Swanson on planning praise sets for the generations:
How much time do you spend trying to plan music that speak to the beating heart of your congregation?
That’s what I do. When I plan services at Moon Valley Bible Church, I look for music that will connect with people on a deep level. I want to bridge the gap between people’s heads and hearts. It’s about coloring in the dotted line between what they know to be true, and what moves them to act on what they know. The only problem is there are so many different kinds of people in my church that it’s nearly impossible to plan a music that will connect with everybody. A certain portion of my congregation connects really well with hymns. Others think hymns are awful, and they feel like they need something newer to connect with.
It seems to be the age old issue of the worship leader. How do you plan a worship set that will connect with the greatest possible number of people in a very diverse crowd? Some churches resign to the fact that they will never appeal to everybody, and they just look to hit one style. Some keep their choirs and orchestras alive and stick to traditional music. Others feel like it’s time to move on. They put traditional music away, and move to whatever is current. Then there are churches who try to split the difference. They do traditional music during their early services. Then they do modern services later in the day. None of these ideas are wrong. In fact, they paint a beautiful picture of the diversity of the body of Christ. That’s one of the things I love about church music. It presents the beautiful mosaic of personality that exists within the church. Speaking to that beautiful mosaic is one of my favorite things about planning music for the services at my church. When I plan music for services, I frequently look to build a diverse set that speaks to different generations, and engages the greatest possible number of people at once. If you’re anything like me, and you strive for diversity then you’ll want to be aware of the three eras of church music that are essential to speaking to the generational mosaic.