Adam Dolhanyk says some songs are for a moment and some songs are for lifetimes:
RECOGNIZE THAT SEASONS EXIST
“To everything there is a season” the Bible tells us. This is also true for worship songs, although not everyone seems to have read Ecclesiastes 3:1.
They say the first step is admitting you have a problem. If you don’t recognize that every song has a season, then you won’t be aware and watching for when that season has its end. This doesn’t mean that every song you played last Sunday is out of date. But out of the songs you did lead, some where at the start of their life cycle, some where in an undefined middle, and some were quite possibly past their prime.
RECOGNIZE THAT NOT EVERY SONG HAS THE SAME LIFE SPAN
Think of it like Dog years. A song may only be a few years old but in “dog years” it’s in its 90’s. Some songs like Be Thou My Vision have been with us in some form for over a 1,000 years and don’t show any signs of stopping. A song’s literal age does not necessarily determine it’s lifecycle. Some songs are for a moment and some songs are for lifetimes.
NOTE: A Song’s lifespan will vary from church to church. So just because a song is still going strong elsewhere doesn’t mean you should still lead it at your church, or visa versa as the case may be
RECOGNIZE THAT SOME PEOPLE LOVE DEAD THINGS
Just because a song’s season has passed, doesn’t mean that there won’t be someone out there who couldn’t care less. I feel bad for these folks. Not because of the songs they like, but because it is harder to serve them. At the risk of showing my Nerd Cred, in the case of song choices “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” Meaning that in our churches there is a person who’d be very happy if we just sang the old standards the way we always have until glory or the grave takes us home. But those folks do not represent the whole of the church, nor are they thinking about the future health of the church. Some people love dead things. I commend churches that try to find ways to serve those people, but for the life, health and future of the whole church, we have to recognize the seasons, and not allow a minority who can’t or won’t take be the determining factor in our song choices.
Sometimes I, the worship leader, am the lover of dead things. There are songs that still speak and minster to me personally, but are past their sell by date in a corporate setting. Having the discipline to value the needs of the church over our own desires is possibly the hardest part of our job.