Dan Leverence on crafting your praise set:
Several months ago, I attended a large gathering of worship leaders and during one of the sessions, someone introduced themselves by saying, “Hi, I’m __________ and I’m a recovering thematic worship planner.” I didn’t realize that thematic worship planning had become taboo and lots of questions began to flood my mind.
Why in the world would he say that? And what did he mean? Have worship leaders really begun to abandon the potentially beautiful connection between the music and the message? Doesn’t that do a disservice to the people we lead?
After gathering my thoughts again (and pondering the value of thematic planning for weeks afterward), I began to realize that there are still compelling reasons why I continue to plan worship thematically. Each week, I prayerfully, assiduously, and deliberately choose songs that will help reinforce the message that our church community will hear from the Word of God. And I do it unapologetically. I still believe that thematic worship planning has remarkable benefits and while some are the obvious ones you might expect, not all of my reasons are simply for the congregation at large.
Thematic Planning Reinforces the Message
This one is most obvious. Particularly in America, where it seems Biblical literacy is at an all-time low, anything I can do as a worship leader to help underscore any piece of truth from our weekend teaching is worth it to me. Music and the spoken word have the ability to dance together in perfect form and when one of our songs complements a teaching pastor’s message perfectly, our people connect to God’s truth on a different level – one that I believe is helpful.