As a church leader who has engaged in weekly worship planning for 30+ years, I often get lost in the business and clutter of the week, losing sight of what’s really important when selecting music for worship. So, as I sit writing this article, I am reminding myself again what matters most. As you plan worship each week, you may find these five key questions useful as we focus on affirming one another in our various church music roles:

IS IT TRUE? Jesus said in John 4:24, God isSpirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Theological accuracy is of highest important when selecting music for or about God. Test every lyric to see if it lines up with the character and nature of the God of the Bible.

WILL IT INSPIRE? Worshipping in spirit means worshipping with passion and intent. Will the music I program for corporate worship inspire others to lift their songs of praise to God?

IS IT SINGABLE? Many worship songs made for radio play do not translate well to the sanctuary without constant consideration of “key.” Is the music for worship singable? If it is supposed to be sung, yet is not singable by the congregants, what’s really the point in using it?

IS IT RELATABLE? Does the music tie in with a worship theme for the day? How does it relate to other elements such as sermon or scripture readings for the day? How will those “in the pew” relate to the music? What does the language of the music communicate? Will the music give wings to the heart expressions of the congregants?

CAN IT BE OFFERED WITH EXCELLENCE? Just because it can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done. Musical expressions are sometimes nontransferable. What works in some venues may not work in others. Can the music I am selecting be prepared and presented with excellence? Like King David said to Araunah, “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” – II Samuel 24:24. (ESV)

Editor’s note: Please enjoy this anthem from John Parker and Michael Barrett, Can’t Carry These Burdens Alone.

John Parker
A native of Louisiana, John Parker holds the BM in Vocal Performance from Louisiana College and the MM in Choral Conducting from Northwestern State University. Composing primarily for church and school choirs, John’s 600+ choral works are published by numerous state-side companies. Active as a choral clinician and lecturer, Mr. Parker is author of How to Start a Fine Arts Academy in Your Church and numerous drama collections. John and his family make their home in Austin, TX where John has served as Associate Pastor of Worship & Music at Austin Baptist Church since 2014.



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