When you try to stay ‘relevant’ as a worship leader, people gripe that you are not singing enough hymns. Then, when you schedule older songs every week, people complain that worship is not relevant and will run off the younger generation.

Sound familiar? I bet it does. Even folks who are not overly opinionated have an opinion when it comes to music style.

To be a good worship leader, you may think that it is your job to offer a wide variety of music styles to keep the congregation happy. But, there are two problems with this:

Problem #1: You cannot make everyone happy.

The moment you start trying to make everyone happy is the moment you set off on a wild goose chase. And I’ll give you a hint…you’ll never catch it.

If you are choosing songs to make certain people happy, you are not serving your congregation well.

You see, people will suggest songs just because they like to listen to them, but choosing songs for worship should go much deeper than what we like or don’t like.

I believe the Holy Spirit leads us as worship leaders (if we let Him) to the songs our congregation needs to sing in that specific season. He knows what is going on in our lives, in our country and in our city. He also knows what is going to happen and can prepare our hearts through the songs we sing.

Problem #2: We should not come to church to be served.

Lots of people go to church because of what it can do for them. Yet, any mature christian knows that the purpose of church is to serve others.

When we allow people to govern our song selection, in most cases, we are feeding a selfish attitude. We are confirming their belief that church is all about them and what they like. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be part of the problem, I want to be part of the solution.

Am I saying that you should never take a song suggestion from the congregation? No. I am simply saying that other’s personal preferences should not distract from how the Holy Spirit is leading you.

So, how do I effectively lead all generations?

This post is about how to be an effective worship leader to all generations. Maybe you came expecting a formula on how often to schedule new songs versus hymns. Well, there isn’t one and here’s why.

To be an effective worship leader, you must be led by the Holy Spirit (not the congregation). When you give into other’s opinions, worship falls flat because you are not leading the congregation in the songs they need, you are leading them in the songs they want.

Worship falls flat when you lead the congregation in songs they want instead of songs they need. Tweet Quote

Every church is different.

One worship leader may be led to sing all modern songs where another may be led to sing mostly hymns. Even then, there will be worship leaders that are led to sing a mixture of styles.

There is no right or wrong answer to how many new songs you should sing versus old. The thing that matters most is that you are being led by the Holy Spirit and not other’s opinions.

When you are led by the Holy Spirit in your song selection, Sunday worship becomes powerful. And even those who are upset because you are not singing their style will eventually recognize the power in worship and forget all about their personal preference.

For more on how the Holy Spirit leads us as worship leaders, see: Balancing Planning and Spontaneity in Worship

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About the Author

Kade Young

Kade Young brought Collaborate Worship into existence with a dream of helping worship leaders around the world fulfill their calling with excellence. He has been leading worship since 2005, is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training College, and currently the worship leader at NoLimits Church in Owasso, Oklahoma.