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Introducing New Songs

Introducing New Songs

Last week, I continued my series on things we do to create spectators in our church rather than active, participative worshippers. I began my discussion of how new songs can be a worship enhancer or a worship killer. Be sure to take a look at that post if you have not yet done so.When new songs are first introduced, the people have to take their eyes off the Lord and concentrate on the task of learning the new tune. There are ways we can introduce new songs that reduce the negative impact and promote the tremendous positives.

If the song is intimate in style, simply introduce it at the beginning of worship. Tell the congregation that this is a new song, that you’ll be playing it again later in the service and that you want everyone to get familiar with it before the worship time begins. Then play through a verse and a chorus (you can do this with just the acoustic guitar or keyboard). In a sense, you open worship with a teaching time, introducing a new song that can then be used later in worship.

If the song is upbeat and more geared toward praise, then consider beginning your set with it. It is also good to keep in mind that it is best to repeat the verse and/or chorus several times. This way the melody and lyrics have a better opportunity to imprint themselves on the congregation’s hearts and minds.

The new song needs to be played several weeks in a row. This will help the congregation learn the song more quickly, but it is also for a very practical reason. Statistically, one-third of your church is absent on a given Sunday. There are vacations, illness, relatives visiting, etc. all at work to pull at the overall attendance numbers on any given Sunday. I use the Rule of 2-1-1 or 3-1-1. This means that I repeat a new song for two or three consecutive Sundays and then give it one Sunday of rest.  On the next Sunday I add it back to worship and see how well the congregation has taken to it. With this kind of repetition, you are helping the congregation take on the song as part of their worship vocabulary. If you do the song one week and then not again for a month or longer, the song may seem new all over again.

Introduce new songs in small group settings before you use them with your congregation. When more people are familiar with the song, the congregation grasps the new song much quicker. Teach the song in youth worship venues, small group Bible studies, choirs, men’s groups, or any other smaller setting that occurs in your church’s life. The more people that know the song before you introduce it in worship, the better the experience will be.

Introduce the new song as “special music.”A soloist or ensemble could sing the song the Sunday before using it with the congregation. A nice instrumental arrangement can help people learn the tune.

Play a recording of the new song as people are gathering for worship. If I had selected ten new songs to introduce in the coming months, I would burn a CD of all of those songs and have them played as people gathered for worship. Little by little, the people became familiar with the songs before we formally introduced them in worship.

I have to say this one more time: remember from last week’s post, never introduce more than one song per week in worship.

Share with us more ideas of ways that you have successfully introduced new songs in worship. I look forward to reading your comments.

About The Author

Kenny Lamm

Worship Consultant for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. A frequent worship clinician and guest worship leader. Extensive work in worship renewal in several Asian countries.


  1. Rich Howell

    In churches where multiple worship teams are “rotated” and different worship leaders are on stage from week-to-week this concept is critical. Planning for the introduction of a new song or songs should be ‘purposeful,’ not haphazard.

    One worship leader can introduce a new song and depending on the level-of-comfort the other worship leaders have with that song, the risk of not revisiting that song for a couple of weeks (or more!) is increased.

    Use the suggestions in this post; they work. Pre-service background music, “instructional” review at the beginning of a set, special music, FB posts, and links to YouTube vids in weekly e-newsletters your church distributes are all effective ways to introduce that new song. But be ‘purposeful’ in the introduction AND revisiting that new song over subsequent weeks to ensure the seed of that song germinates in the hearts of your church family.

    Thank you for reminding us of this!!!

    • Kenny Lamm

      Yes. Rotating teams provide an additional challenge. In my observations, new song introduction is only one of the critical pieces. The other is a lack of a song list. What I see in many situations is that each team has its pet songs–many of which are unknown by the congregation, so there is no coordination between teams. It is almost like attending a different church each week. A coordinated song repertoire, or song list, will take care of that problem as well. I wrote about this need here. Thanks for your helpful comments!

  2. Christine Passig

    Our church has a facebook page, and for new songs, we post links to youtube videos along with a note like, “Get ready to sing this song on Sunday!” It works extremely well, since many of our members are also on facebook.

    • Kenny Lamm

      Great idea. Can you share your FB page so we can all take a look. Love the idea! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jason Chollar

    We are experimenting with encouraging the congregation to download the new songs we are about to teach for themselves beforehand … and burning CD’s for them and collecting money from them and then purchasing the songs as digital downloads on Itunes or I’d love to see if anyone else is doing this. I truly believe it’s the way of the future! Read all about it below:

  4. Jarosz

    In introducing songs, I’ve also seen these methods be particularly helpful and effective:

    1) Children worship leaders. Encouraging those children who want to make up motions to a new song to come up to the front and co-create motions to a song’s verse and/ or chorus w/ their children’s ministry leaders. The lyrics are read out and motions are created until the lyrics are exhausted (can be a single verse, all the verses, chorus only, etc). While the children stay up front, facing the congregation, the children’s ministry leaders step back into the congregation and help the children lead the rest of the congregation in worship. If the children do it, their parents and the rest of the youth and adults aren’t far behind.

    2) Reading through the lyrics of the song prior to singing the song. This can be done well in a variety of ways, often most easily during musical intro’s or interludes w/in the song (e.g., for an upcoming verse or chorus).


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