Easter Song Selection Checklist

I’m a big fan of checklists.

Let’s face it . . . I can’t remember it all, so the checklist helps me keep everything from my daily work flow to what I need to prepare for Sunday on track.

Several years ago I developed a checklist specifically for this time of year . . . The Easter Song Selection Check-list!

There are TONS of songs to consider at Easter, and whether your church uses modern worship (like we do at The Journey) or traditional (like the church I grew up in), running your Easter worship music set through this quick 5-Point Checklist will help ensure that the music of your Easter service is powerfully focused.

And as a bonus . . . I’ll post my Easter music set list at the bottom of this post.

Here we go:#1 – Sing Celebration Songs
Easter is a day of celebration! When I read the story of that Easter morning my pulse quickens as I see Peter and John running to the tomb and hear the joy in Mary’s voice as she recognizes Jesus. It’s a day of celebration and our songs should reflect that.I’m all for a quiet moment in the service, but on Easter Sunday start and end your service “BIG” (and by that I mean with upbeat songs of celebration).
#2 – Focus on the Resurrection
Just this past Sunday a gentleman at The Journey put in a request for us to sing “The Old Rugged Cross” on Easter Sunday. Now – I love that old hymn, but it’s not on my set list for Easter Sunday.Why? Because Easter Sunday isn’t about the cross . . . it’s about the empty tomb.Sing about the cross in the weeks leading up to Easter (and especially on Palm Sunday) but on Easter Sunday choose songs that celebrate the Resurrection and the new life we have in Christ because of it!
#3 – Select Songs that are Known by your Congregation
Easter Sunday is not the day to try out those 5 new songs you’ve been waiting all year to sing. Easter Sunday is a day to sing worship songs that the people in your congregation know by heart.
Why? Because your church will be filled with First Time Guests. Let me explain.If you choose songs that your congregation already knows you will keep your congregation connected to the the worship set.AND because the people around them are clapping and singing your First Time Guest will feel more comfortable clapping and singing as well.On Easter, sing some of your church’s favorite songs of worship. And if you want to do a new song, teach it in the weeks leading up to Easter so your church will know it.

#4 – Select a Song that is Known by your First Time Guests
Put yourself in the shoes of a first time guest at your church on Easter. They will enter your service uncomfortable (could be the shoes) and unsure of what to expect. They will be asked to stand and sing songs they probably don’t know.

So be kind to your First Time Guests . . . choose a song that they are likely to know. Sing a hymn like “Amazing Grace”. Or you may perform a popular radio song that ties in with Easter or your message series.

However you choose to do it, help your First Time Guests experience something familiar on Easter Sunday. It will go a long way toward taking the edge off and helping them relax for the rest of the service.

#5 – Don’t do what you can’t Replicate
This is a big time mistake that some worship leaders make . . . and I can understand why. Easter is a BIG DAY, so the tendency is to call in the local symphony orchestra and sing the Hallelujah Chorus (which is an Advent song by the way . . . I digress).

But what happens NEXT SUNDAY when the people that you reached on Sunday morning come back expecting to hear the orchestra but only find a guitar, piano and vocalist.

Easter is the PERFECT day to do your very best NORMAL service.

For me, on Easter Sunday we will have media, music, a spoken word / poetry slam element, a video clip in the message and an assortment of other small elements to creatively convey the story of Easter. But those are things we could do the following week as well.

If you can’t replicate what you do on Easter Sunday the following Sunday, then you probably shouldn’t do it on Easter.

Be who you are, prepare in advance and present the Gospel in the very best way that you can. And remember, the results aren’t up to us anyway.Praying that you have the Best Easter Ever!Your partner in ministry,signature

PS – I hope you enjoyed today’s leadership lesson. This topic actually came out of a recent Coaching session that I had with my Tele-Coaching Network.

Every month for ONE FULL YEAR, I personally coach a select group of Worship Pastors in a 2-hour conference call. And I want you to consider joining!The coaching network follow the outline of the “Seven Challenges of a Worship Pastor” but also includes current leadership lessons that I’m learning and sharing, along with over $1,419.00 in free audio resources,plus much more!The Tele-Coaching network is designed to help you develop your leadership ability, double your worship team, create life-transforming services, lower your stress, maximize your time, raise new leaders, and lead your ministry at the highest level.My next Tele-Coaching network begins soon . . . there are a limited number of spots remaining, so go to www.worshipleaderinsights.com/coaching to learn more, or complete the attached coaching application and email or fax it in Today.

Want to hear what others have said about their experience in the network? Take a look at what just a handful of the nearly 150 Coaching Alumni from my past networks have said:

“The effects this network has had on my ministry are countless! The network gave me hope for the future to get over some huge roadblocks personally and in ministry.”
– Lee, Northstar Church, Panama City, Florida

“Our worship ministry grew from 17 to 78 people through the principles and processes I learned in the coaching network.”
– Cher, Discover Life Church, Melbourne, Florida

“I truly believe that Jason has a sincere desire to help other worship leaders be the very best they can be.”
– Mark, Believers Church, Chesapeake, Virginia

“If you’re serious about impacting people for the kingdom this network will set you on a path to glorify God, and maximize your ministry potential.”
– Phil Vazquez, Sea Breeze Community Church Imperial Beach, CA

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– Dave Swanson, Calvary Fellowship West Hartford, CT

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– Justin Bunte, Cypress Family Fellowship, Houston, TX

“I felt encouraged to grow in my weaker areas of my ministry. I didn’t feel beaten down; instead I was given systems that could help me in areas I have always struggled with in the past. Even my team could tell the difference!”
– Lisa Johnson, Valley Brook Community Church Granby, CT

“Thanks for a great experience and for sharing ideas and thoughts. ?Kingdom work becomes more rewarding when we know we have others to challenge and walk with us.”
– David, The Chapel, Lake Zurich, IL

“I did not know what to expect from this network, but all I know is that after the very first session, I was inspired, motivated and mostly importantly, humbled.”
– Jean Sandoval, New Life Church Meriden, CT

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– Archie Jackson, South Bay Church San Jose, CA

“Join this network! We all need to be growing in our leadership and there’s no better way to grow than to get into a network. Jason does a great job of identifying seven universal challenges that we all face. Once you are fully aware of these challenges and are armed with the tools that Jason gives you in the network to overcome them, you will begin to soar in your effectiveness as a Worship Pastor.”
– Mike Martindale, Westside Community Church Beaverton, OR

Learn more at www.worshipleaderinsights.com/coaching. Or complete and return the attached application Today to secure your spot!

PPS: For those of you who have read this far . . . here is the Easter Worship Set that I will be leading at The Journey:

All Because of Jesus – Steve Fee
Rise and Sing – Steve Fee
Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) – Chris Tomlin
I Am Free – Desperation Band

Commitment Time:
I Lift My Hands – Chris Tomlin

What is your set list? Post it here!


TUESDAY MORNING INSIGHTS is Jason Hatley’s free weekly training resource specifically designed to provide you as a worship leader with proven principles, tips and practices to help you lead a healthy and thriving Worship Arts Team.

About Jason Hatley and Worship Leader Insights

Jason HatleyIn 2002, Jason Hatley helped launch The Journey Church in New York City, directing the programming of their worship services. He serves as the Pastor of Worship Arts and built from scratch The Journey’s worship arts team, a group of over 200 artists and technicians who develop and implement the creative and technical elements at weekly Sunday services. The Journey has been recognized as one of Outreach Magazines fastest growing and most creative churches.

Jason has been a worship leader since 1996. He invests in Worship Pastors around the country through interactive coaching networks and worship planning resources. He has been a featured break-out speaker at the Willow Creek Arts Conference, The Purpose Drive Worship Conference, as well as seminars around the country. He has a B.M. in Sacred Music Performance from Appalachian State University.

Jason and his family currently live in Boca Raton, FL where he serves as the Pastor of Worship Arts at The Journey’s newest campus in South Florida.

4 replies
  1. Dave Dupree
    Dave Dupree says:

    Easter Set List:
    My Savior Lives- Ross Parsley
    Jesus Paid It All- Kristian Stanfill
    Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King with powerful Easter lyric- Gateway
    God Be Praised- New Gateway song (check it out!)

  2. Donna L DeBehnke
    Donna L DeBehnke says:

    Thanks for your help, always!
    My set for Easter:

    Our God Is Love (Hillsong)
    Mighty To Save (Hillsong)
    Stronger (hillsong)
    This Is Our God (Hillsong)
    Communion: Amazing Grace (Chains are Gone)

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