3 Ways to Keep Familiar Songs Fresh

As worship leaders, we all have our “go to” songs that we use regularly in our services. These are the songs you probably use once every 4-6 weeks. These songs speak to the season our churches are walking through. These are the anthems where we always see hands raised and hear voices sing out the loudest.

So how do we keep them fresh? Now don’t get me wrong, the Holy Spirit is the one who does the work in the hearts of the people and He is the reason those songs speak so powerfully to our congregations. But as musicians, lets be honest… We can play/sing that song in our sleep, whatever those songs are for you!

Here’s 3 easy ways to keep familiar songs fresh for our teams, our congregations and us!

  1. Use Scriptures that correlate to the truths you are singing on the screen during instrumental breaks and longer interludes. We do this every week at The Journey Church. Sometimes we have it up during the intro. Sometimes we do it during the mid-song instrumental break, but no matter where we put it, the Word of God always speaks loudly and powerfully! In that moment, most people don’t even remember that you played the same song 2 weeks ago!
  2. Change the key from a guy to a girl key, or vice versa. This has become one of my favorite things to do! We have done it now with 5 regular songs we do and I’ve really noticed a difference in the response to the song! For example, we put Forever Reign in G and had one of our female leads sing it instead of it being in C and I sing it… First of all she slayed it! Second of all it was just an all around friendlier key for more people to engage with!
  3. Change instrumentation and length of the song. This is more of a regular practice for most worship leaders but it’s still one of my favorite things to do! If a song calls for lots of synth and electric guitar, I’ll change the synth to a light piano/pad mix on our keyboard and instead of having 2 electrics and I’ll have acoustic higher in the mix and have my electric player either play slide or just do some light finger picking on his guitar. I’ll also have my drummer use brushes or rods instead of sticks and he will simplify his transitional fills. We may even cut out an instrumental break or shorten the turn a rounds or something of that nature.

There are lots of different ways to achieve keeping familiar songs fresh. These are just a few easy, hopefully helpful, ideas to do so!

by Worship Cohort


Essential reading for worship leaders since 2002.


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